Israel’s Political Assassinations

Israel has a very dark record of full engagement in the practice of political assassination. Even before the establishment of the State, Zionist terrorist groups assassinated the United Nations Mediator for Palestine, Count Folk Bernadotte, at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. In fact, it has been the established policy of successive Israeli governments to plot and carry out the assassinations of Israel’s purported enemies. The Israeli agents involved in such physical elimination of enemies operate practically all over the world.

The Palestinian side has always maintained that Israel is directly responsible for the murders of many Palestinian leaders belonging to the Palestine Liberation Organization, including the assassinations of Ghassan Kanafani in Beirut, Wael Zuaiter in Rome, Mahmoud Al-Hemshari in Paris, Hussein Abu Al-Khair in Cyprus, Mohammad Yousef Al-Najjar, Kamal Idwan, Kamal Nasser and Ali Salameh in Beirut, Majed Abu Sharar in Rome, Khalil Al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) in Tunis and Atef Bseisso in Paris. Some people maintain that Israel has, at the minimum, indirect responsibility for the assassination of others such as Izzedine Al-Qalaq, Naeem Khader, Said Hammami, Issam Sartawi, Salah Khalaf, Hayel Abdulhamid and Abu Mohammed.

Even after the onset of the Middle East peace process, Israel did not cease such terrorist behavior. Israeli agents were involved in the assassinations of Yahya Ayash in Gaza and Fathi Shiqaqi in Malta, as well as the recent botched attempt to assassinate Khaled Meshal, a leader of Hamas, in Jordan.

Despite the fact that all of the above has been common knowledge, Israel has maintained a policy of silence without claiming responsibility for such abhorrent behavior. The current situation has reflected change in this regard, with some Israeli leaders boasting about this policy and practice. Recently, for example, Ariel Sharon, the Minister of Infrastructures in the Israeli government, explicitly stated that Israel would eventually assassinate Khaled Meshal. Another example is that of former Mossad chief Isser Harel, who has admitted that on several occasions Cabinet ministers and other intelligence agents encouraged him to have Israeli traitors and spies killed. Further, a recent article, written by Yossi Melman, an Israeli journalist covering intelligence issues for the newspaper Ha’aretz, and published in the Op-Ed section of The New York Times on 25 March 1998, detailed many of the assassinations mentioned above, as well as other assassinations attributed to Israel and its Mossad agents, including those of German scientists who were employed by Arab countries to manufacture weapons and Nazi collaborators. The article also mentioned many plotted and failed assassination attempts by Israel, particularly against President Arafat.

On 27 March 1998, the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations sent letters to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council on this issue. The letter included a request for the distribution of the above-mentioned article as an official document, putting it on record as proximal proof of such illegal and violent Israeli actions.