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Leaked Cables on Israel:
Savoy Hotel Bombing in Tel Aviv

(March 7, 1975


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Classified diplomatic cables, leaked by the whistleblower site WikiLeaks, contain reports on a terrorist attack at the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv in which four people were killed. The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv reports that Israelis believe it was carried out by the PLO at Arafat's instruction.

CONFIDENTIAL

FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5889

SUBJ: RESPONSIBILITY FOR TERRORIST RAID IN TEL AVIV

1. ISRAELIS AT ALL LEVELS ATTRIBUTE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MARCH 5-6 TERRORIST ATTACK IN TEL AVIV TO FATAH ORGANIZATION AND, BY DIRECT AND EXPLICIT CONNECTION, TO ARAFAT.

2. CABINET COMMUNIQUE RELEASED AT NOON MARCH 6 (TEL AVIV 1476 - NOTEAL) SAID: "THE CRIMINAL ACTION OF FATAH MEMBERS IN TEL AVIV AGAIN TESTIFIES TO THE MURDEROUS AIMS AND METHODS OF THE TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS.." INVOLVEMENT OF FATAH, AS DISTINCT FROM MORE NEBULOUS PLO, WAS ALSO UNDERSCORED IN TELEVISION INTERVIEWS BY BOTH DEFMIN PERES AND DIRECTOR OF
MILITARY INTELLIGENCE GAZIT. (WORTH NOTING THAT GAZIT TOOK PAINS TO AVOID ANY IMPLICATION THAT EGYPT WAS IN ANY WAY INVOLVED IN OPERATION). IN PUBLIC STATEMENTS MOREOVER, PM RABIN REITERATED THAT INCIDENT PROVED CORRECTNESS OF GOI DECISION NEVER (RPT NEVER) TO NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS.

3. PRESS HAS PROVIDED HARD REMINDERS TO ISRAELIS THAT FATAH IS ARAFAT'S OWN FACTION WITHIN PLO AND MANY COMMENTATORS DRAW CONCLUSION THAT TEL AVIV OPERATION CONSTITUTES DEPARTURE FROM POLICY PURSUED BY FATAH IN RECENT PAST OF AVOIDING OPERATIONS INVOLVING HOSTAGES. TYPICAL TREATMENT IS IN JERUSALEM POST WHERE, UNDER HEADLINE "ARAFAT'S FATAH REJOINS EXTREMISTS", ARAB AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT WRITES THAT ATTACK IN TEL AVIV "HAS REINSTATED YASSER ARAFAT IN THE EYES OF HIS RADICAL OPPONENTS WITHIN HIS PLO". INSOFAR AS PRESS ALSO GIVES COVERAGE TO STATEMENT BY ABU IYAD (REFTEL), IT IS PRIMARILY IN CONTEXT OF DESCRIBING HIM AS DEPUTY TO ARAFAT, THEREBY UNDERSCORING OVERALL RESPONSIBILITY OF LATTER.

4. CONCLUSION BEING DRAWN BY ISRELIS IS WELL REPRESENTED IN PERES TELEVISION INTERVIEW EVENING OF MARCH 6 (FBIS TA062039), IN WHICH DEFENSE MINISTER SAID: "FIRST, ARAFAT SAID HE IS AGAINST THE MURDER OF PEOPLE. TODAY WE HAVE SEEN WHAT HIS WORDS ARE WORTH. SECOND, WHOEVER HAD ANY DOUBT THAT FATAH DOES NOT SEEK POLITICAL NEGOTIATIONS, BUT STERILE AND MURDEROUS DEMONSTRATIONS FOR WHICH THEY ARE RECEIVING MUCH MONEY, SHOULD HAVE SEEN FURTHER PROOF OF THE TRUE NATURE OF THIS ORGANIZATION LAST NIGHT,..THIRD, FATAH TRIED TO CREATE AN IMPRESSION THAT THERE ARE MODERATES AND EXTREMISTS IN IT AND THAT ARAFAT IS THE KING OF THE MODERATES. THE OPERATION THIS TIME WAS CARRIED OUT BY FATAH ITSELF, NOT BY ONE OF ITS UNDISCIPLINED PARTNERS IN THE COLAITION. THIS, TOO, IS AN INNOVATION. I THINK THAT ISRAEL CAN DEFINITELY SAY TODAY THAT ITS BASIC POSITION RECEIVED NEW SUPPORT THIS MORNING--THAT IS ITS POSITION THAT THE FATAH IS NO PARTNER TO NEGOTIATIONS."

5. COMMENT: ANY CLAIM TO RELATIVE MODERATION WHICH MIGHT HAVE BEEN ATTRIBUTED TO ARAFAT HAS BEEN NEGATED FOR ALMOST ALL ISRAELIS BY SAVOY HOTEL INCIDENT. IT IS HARD HERE TO CONCEIVE THAT EVEN CLEAR PUBLIC DENUNCIATION OF THIS SPECIFIC OPERATION BY ARAFAT PERSONALLY WOULD BE SUFFICIENT TO ENABLE HIM TO BE ACCEPTABLE TO ISRAELIS IN FORESEEABLE FUTURE AS MEMBER OF NEGOTIATING TEAM, HOWEVER CONSTITUTED.

CONFIDENTIAL


Sources: Wikileaks

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