Question of Palestine home
22 July 1986
Item 37 of the provisional agenda*
THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Letter dated 18 July 1986 from the Permanent Representative of Israel
to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
I would like to bring to your attention two recent terrorist attacks against Israeli targets perpetrated by PLO terrorists based in Damascus.
1. In the early hours of 10 July 1986 four Palestinian Arab terrorists attempted to infiltrate Israel's northern coast in a rubber dinghy. The dinghy was intercepted by an Israeli naval vessel which forced it to land off the coast of Israel's border with Lebanon. In the ensuing battle all four terrorists were killed.
Later that day in Damascus, the PFLP faction of the PLO (headed by George Habash) announced that the attack was a joint operation of the PFLP and a pro-Syrian Lebanese faction known as the Syrian National Socialist Party.
2. Two weeks earlier, on 26 June 1986, a suitcase exploded at Israel airline's check-in counter at Barajas Airport in Madrid. Fourteen people were injured, two seriously. Had the bomb not been discovered by El Al security guards, it would have exploded in mid-flight killing all 100 passengers aboard.
Nasser Hassan el-Ali confessed before Spanish authorities to planting the suitcase bomb. El-Ali recruited Isaias Manuel Jalafe in Madrid and paid him $1,000 to transport the suitcase to Tel Aviv. Jalafe claimed that he did not know that the suitcase contained a bomb, el-Ali had duped him into believing it contained narcotics. This modus operandi is strikingly similar to the foiled attempt in London on 17 April 1986 to blow up an Israeli airplane (see document A/41/302-S/18020). In both cases, unwary passengers were selected to die as airborne carriers of deadly explosives.
Spanish investigators uncovered important links between el-Ali and Syria. El-Ali was traveling under a Syrian passport, he had been involved in PLO terrorist acts against Israelis from 1978 to 1983; in 1983 he left the Fatah faction of the PLO to join the Abu Musa faction in Damascus, in April 1986, after an unsuccessful attempt to recruit accomplices in Paris, he received instructions from Damascus to go to Madrid.
The PLO factions headed by George Habash and Abu Musa are controlled by the Syrian Government. Both groups have bases in Damascus and in areas of Lebanon totally under Syrian domination. The Government of Syria is responsible tor the actions cf terrorist groups it harbours and protects.
The international community should condemn such outrageous acts and those who launch them. It should take immediate action to prevent their recurrence. For its part, Israel will continue to take all appropriate steps to defend its borders, its citizens, and its airplanes.
I have the honour to request that this letter be circulated as an official document of the General Assembly, under item 37 of the provisional agenda, and of the Security Council.
) Benjamin NETANYAHU