March 2 marked the 30th anniversary of the cold-blooded murder by PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat's group Black September of U.S. Ambassador to Khartoum Cleo A. Noel Jr. and his deputy George Curtis Moore, along with a Belgian diplomat. Arafat had personally ordered the assassinations.
When he signed the Oslo agreement in 1993, Americans and Israelis hoped Arafat had shed his terrorist past for good. Tragically, he is still promoting terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of innocent civilians, including suicide bombings by his own Fatah militia al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
On the night of March 1, 1973, Black September terrorists burst into the Saudi Embassy in Khartoum, seizing Noel and Moore and other men attending the reception. The terrorists demanded the release of Sirhan Sirhan, the Palestinian assassin of Robert Kennedy, as well as terrorists held in Israeli and European prisons. President Nixon refused to negotiate.
According to the Arlington National Cemetery website, Arafat was taped ordering the terrorists to murder the three men. They obeyed, machine-gunning the hapless diplomats. Arafat then called back to verify that his orders had been carried out.
The early 1970s were the heyday of Black September, an affiliate of Arafat's Fatah group specializing in international terrorism. Its short, violent history included aircraft hijackings, kidnappings, letter-bombings and massacres. In a 1974 book Christopher Dobson wrote prophetically that "Black September may die, but new secret societies will spring up to take their place in the cruel tradition of the Assassins, for the fatal flaw still exists and will not be eradicated until many years have passed."
Thirty years later, Dobson's prediction is the stuff of everyday reality. Black September's successors are named Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, among others, and they still engage in terror. Documents captured by Israel last year prove Arafat's personal complicity in these vile acts.
Arafat's responsibility for the assassinations of Noel and Moore, as well as for the more recent Palestinian terrorist attacks, probably played a significant role in President Bush's wise decision last year to insist on Arafat's replacement as a precondition for U.S. recognition of a Palestinian state. As we commemorate the deaths of Noel and Moore, we ought to remember that their murderer is still giving orders that kill, maim and injure innocent men, women and children.