In their Oct. 17 Los Angeles Times article entitled “U.S. Shifts From Ally to Target in Gaza Strip,” Megan Stack and Henry Chu wrote: “Presidents such as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton remain icons of American friendship, and the idea of attacking an American has been unthinkable to the Palestinian leadership, akin to throwing away one’s last, best hope.”
How do the reporters know what Palestinian leaders have historically found thinkable or unthinkable? Perhaps such speculation would be better left to the editorial pages.
Tangible evidence (as opposed to sheer speculation) regarding Palestinian leaderships’ views on targeting Americans is available. For example, Arafat has been linked to the 1973 PLO killing of American Amb. Cleo Noel and his deputy, George Curtis Moore, in Khartoum. Ion Mihai Pacepa reported Jan. 10, 2002 in the Wall Street Journal:
James Welsh, a former intelligence analyst for the National Security Agency, has told a number of U.S. journalists that the NSA had secretly intercepted the radio communications between Yasser Arafat and Abu Jihad during the PLO operation against the Saudi embassy in Khartoum, including Arafat's order to kill Ambassador Noel. The conversation was allegedly recorded by Mike Hargreaves, an NSA officer stationed in Cyprus, and the transcripts were kept in a file code-named "Fedayeen."
I wonder what Amb. Noel and Mr. Moore would have to say about “the idea of attacking an American has been unthinkable to the Palestinian leadership.” Unfortunately, they are no longer with us to share their views.