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        Security Council
11 May 1972

Original: English


Letter dated 11 May 1972 from the representative of Israel
to the Secretary-General

On instructions from my Government, I have the honour to draw your attention to a grave act of air piracy perpetrated by Arab terror agents who act with the support and encouragement of Arab Governments.

In the early hours of the evening of 8 May 1972, armed agents of the terror organization "Black September" captured a civilian aircraft of the Sabena Belgian World Airlines on its regular flight 517 from Brussels to Lod, Israel. Ninety passengers and 10 crew embers were aboard the plane.

The hijackers brought the aircraft to a landing at Lod at 1915 hours local time. They then contacted the control tower of the airport and transmitted a demand to release members of Arab terror organization detained in Israel. Among those whose release was demanded were confessed criminals responsible for such acts as the murder of innocent civilians at a bus station, in a supermarket and in a theatre. The hijackers threatened that if their demands were rejected, the aircraft would be blown up with all its passengers and crew.

Contact with the hijackers continued to be maintained by the airport's tower throughout the night and on the following day. On 9 May at 1630 hours, a unit of the Israel Defence Forces gained control of the aircraft and freed all the passengers and members of the crew. In the course of this action, two of the hijackers were killed and two others (women) captured.

While the hijackers were in control of the aircraft and the 100 persons aboard, including many women and children, remained in danger of being murdered in cold blood, voices of triumph and glee came from the Arab States.

Radio Cairo declared on the morning of 9 May: "Those who followed the hijacking of the plane could not conceal their tears of joy."

The Beirut daily El-Yom wrote on 9 May: "The hijacking operation is only one stage in the great historic confrontation between the Arabs and Zionism."

On the same day, the El-Fatah broadcast from Derra, Syrian Arab Republic: "All glory... to the fedayeen of Black September."

At the same time, Egypt's representative at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Santiago boastfully proclaimed in the plenary: "These are not terrorists . .. but Palestinian fedayeen who are trying to liberate their land and they shall liberate their land."

Thus Arab Governments and Arab media of information have once again, in a moment of bloodthirsty ecstasy, identified themselves with the most despicable crimes, directed against innocent and helpless civilians, condemned by the United Nations and proscribed by international law and international instruments.

When the 100 persons aboard the plane were finally saved, the Arab reaction, given wide publicity in Arab information media, was openly one of disappointment and of abuse against Israel for having acted to curb outlaws engaged in this crime of piracy.

I should like to emphasize again that the terror organizations responsible for such crimes have enjoyed the support of Arab Governments, in particular of Egypt, the Syrian Arab Republic, Algeria and Lebanon, which continue to harbour on their territory the bases from which these organizations operate, grant them financial assistance, supply them with arms, give them military training and provide political backing. Thus the "Black September" group maintains its headquarters in Beirut and purchases its arms in Lebanon. Its members receive military training in the Syrian Arab Republic and Algeria. It enjoys the full support of Egypt.

The barbaric air piracy foiled by Israel reflects not only the criminality of the activities of Arab terror organizations, but also the involvement and responsibility of the Arab Governments, whose true attitude and designs were demonstrated anew in all their and malice disregard for international obligations. The international community cannot permit the continuation of such activities.

I have the honour to request that this letter be circulated as an official document of the General Assembly and the Security Council.

(Signed) Yosef TEKOAH
Permanent Representative of Israel
to the United Nations

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