Americans need to start taking Yasser Arafat's continued terrorism personally.
For 30 years he has ordered and condoned the murder of American citizens – including U.S. diplomats. That killing spree continues even today.
Lost in the recent wave of terrorism in Israel is the fact that two more American citizens were murdered, and six wounded.
- Lee Akunis, a U.S. citizen, was murdered by Arab terrorists at a checkpoint near Ramallah on Feb. 15. Arafat's Fatah movement claimed responsibility for the attack. There is no reason to doubt Fatah's sincerity on this.
- Keren Shatsky, 14, formerly of Brooklyn, was murdered in the Feb. 15 suicide bombing at a pizzeria in the town of Karnei Shomron. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a member of Arafat's PLO, claimed responsibility for the attack. Despite repeated requests by Israel, Arafat has never outlawed the PFLP nor expelled it from the PLO.
- Hillel Trattner, of Chicago, and his wife, Ronit Yucht Trattner, were seriously wounded in the Karnei Shomron attack and are in critical condition. They were married just a few months ago.
- Chani Friedman, of New York, was wounded in the Karnei Shomron attack.
- Rachel Thaler, of Baltimore, and her brother, Lior, were seriously wounded in the Karnei Shomron attack. Lior remains in critical condition. Rachel, 16, died of her injuries.
- Moshe Saperstein, of New York, was seriously wounded by Palestinian Arab terrorists in a drive-by shooting attack near Neve Dekalim Feb. 19. Arafat's Fatah movement claimed responsibility for the attack. Again, is there any reason to doubt the group's word?
That's just the very recent toll.
- Thirteen Americans have been murdered, and 38 wounded, since the current Arab violence against Israel began in September 2000.
- Twenty-five Americans have been murdered, and 63 wounded, by Palestinian Arab terrorists since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993.
- At least 92 Americans have been murdered, and 106 wounded, by Palestinian Arab terrorists since 1968.
Perhaps the most heinous crime against Americans and America perpetrated by Arafat personally was the kidnapping and machine-gun murder of two U.S. diplomats and a Belgian diplomat in 1973.
As I reported last year – and as others have confirmed more recently – on March 2, 1973, Yasser Arafat ordered the cold-blooded, machine-gun murders of U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel and Charges d'affaires George Curtis in Khartoum, Sudan.
This is no longer a matter of speculation. James J. Welsh, a former National Security Agency operative on Cyprus at the time, was the recipient of communication intercepts between Arafat and his Al-Fatah guerrilla leaders.
Eight members of Arafat's Black September organization raided a reception at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum Feb. 27, 1973, rounded up a group of diplomats and held them hostage for days. The kidnappers – operating on the direct orders of Arafat, says Welsh – demanded the release of Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, the convicted assassin of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, as well as other Arabs in jails throughout Europe and Israel.
President Nixon refused to negotiate. Arafat's deputy, Abu Iyad, transmitted a message to the terrorists containing the codeword "Nahr al-Bard" – Cold River. That, says Welsh, was the signal to kill the Western diplomats – including a Belgian, Guy Eid.
That was 27 years ago, but there is no statute of limitations on murder. Arafat is still at large.
No amount of wishful thinking about Arafat is going to change him. He remains today what he was in 1973 – a cowardly killer of unarmed American diplomats. America must never forget its foreign-service personnel murdered in the line of duty. It must never forget its own citizens when they are traveling abroad. What can we do about this 30-year pattern of murder?
Support the Koby Mandell Act, which would create a special office within the Justice Department to gather evidence against Palestinian Arab killers of Americans. The Koby Mandell Act, also known as S.1377 in the Senate and H.R.2098 in the House of Representatives, is named after Jacob "Koby" Mandell, the 13-year-old boy from Maryland who was murdered by Arab terrorists in Israel last year.
America needs to begin to take these murders seriously – just as we did the attacks on Sept. 11.
We need to cut off all aid to Arafat. We need to declare his Palestinian Authority an illegal terrorist organization. We need to capture the terrorists and bring them to the U.S. for trial – or eliminate them where they stand. We need to demand from Arafat compensation for families of victims. And we need to let the families know that the effort to seek justice and the capture or elimination of these terrorists is under way.
That's the least we should do.Joseph Farah is editor and chief executive officer of WorldNetDaily.com and writes a daily column.