I sat in a coffee shop in Metulla for an early morning meeting with Maj. Saad Haddad, head of the South Lebanon Army. It was just another meeting for him, one of many with a skeptical journalist. He knew I was an evangelical and asked, "Why the silence? Christians are being slaughtered in Lebanon." Then he said something confusing: "Your country is making a huge mistake by pushing land for peace."
I had no idea what he was talking about as he began a litany of examples. He mentioned the PLO hijacking of Western planes. He mentioned the American-born Jonathan Netanyahu, and then the murder of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968. Kennedy had been mortally wounded shortly before midnight at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. His murderer was Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian.
Haddad then recounted a list of PLO attacks against Americans:
• Sept. 5, 1972, in Munich, Germany: During the Olympic Games Black September, a front for Fatah, took 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage. Nine athletes were killed, including weightlifter David Berger, an American-Israeli from Cleveland, Ohio.
• March 2, 1973, in Khartoum, Sudan: Cleo A. Noel Jr., U.S. ambassador to Sudan, and George C. Moore, also a U.S. diplomat, were held hostage and then killed by terrorists at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. It seems likely that Fatah was responsible for the attack.
• Sept. 8, 1974, in Athens, Greece: TWA Flight 841 flying from Tel Aviv to New York made a scheduled stop in Athens. Shortly after takeoff, it crashed into the Ionian Sea and all 88 passengers were killed, including 32-year-old Steven R. Lowe; Jeremiah Michel and his wife, Katherine, of Poughkeepsie, New York; Frederick and Margaret Hare of Bernardsville, New Jersey; Ralph H. Bosh of Madison, Connecticut; Seldon and Etan Bard of Tuckahoe, New York; Dr. and Mrs. Frederick Stohlman of Newton, Massachusetts; Don H. Holiday of Mahwah, New Jersey; and Jon L. Chesire of Old Lyme, Connecticut. All were American citizens. An investigation conclusively established that the crash was caused by explosives stowed in the rear cargo compartment of the plane.
• June 29, 1975, in Beirut, Lebanon: The PFLP kidnapped Ernest Morgan, the U.S. military attaché to Lebanon, and demanded food, clothing and building materials for indigent residents living near Beirut Harbor. The American diplomat was released after an anonymous benefactor provided food to the neighborhood.
• Nov. 14, 1975, in Jerusalem, Israel: Lola Nunberg, 53, of New York, was injured during a bombing attack in downtown Jerusalem. Fatah claimed responsibility for the bombing that killed six people and wounded 38.
• Aug. 11, 1976, in Istanbul, Turkey: The PFLP launched an attack on the terminal of Israel's major airline, El Al, at the Istanbul Airport. Four civilians, including Harold Rosenthal of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were killed and 20 injured.
• Jan. 1, 1977, in Beirut, Lebanon: Frances E. Meloy, U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, and Robert O. Waring, the U.S. economic counselor, were kidnapped by PFLP members as they crossed a militia checkpoint separating the Christian from the Muslim parts of Beirut. They were later shot to death.
• March 11, 1978, in Tel Aviv, Israel: Gail Rubin, niece of U.S. Sen. Abraham Ribicoff, was among 38 people shot to death by PLO terrorists on an Israeli beach.
• June 2, 1978, in Jerusalem, Israel: Richard Fishman, a medical student from Maryland, was among six killed in a PLO bus bombing. Chava Sprecher, another American citizen from Seattle, Washington, was injured.
• Nov. 4, 1979, in Tehran, Iran: After President Jimmy Carter agreed to admit the Shah of Iran into the U.S., Iranian radicals seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 66 American diplomats hostage. Thirteen hostages were soon freed, but the remaining 53 were held for 444 days, until their release on Jan. 20, 1981.
I interrupted him and said, "Please get to the point. What has all of this to do with land for peace?" He leaned forward, looked around and whispered, "Your country has cut a deal with the PLO. If it gives America peace and does not kill any more Americans, America will recognize the PLO and will give them Israeli land for peace."
I replied, "That is crazy! I don't believe it for a moment." He grinned slyly. "That is what I expected you to say. If you have the courage, I will set up a meeting with 'the Red Prince.' He will change your mind."
I had no idea who he was talking about, but sure enough, the meeting took place in the Continental Hotel in Beirut. It was a short encounter with a handsome young man in his 30s who dressed like a playboy. I later learned that he was Ali Hassan Salameh, chief of operations for the Munich Olympics Massacre. He was known for flaunting his wealth, surrounding himself with women, driving sports cars and was very popular among young Palestinian men. His Red Prince nickname underlined his popularity. He served as the security chief of Fatah, and had married Georgina Rizk, a Lebanese celebrity and former 1971 Miss Universe. He boasted that he was the official contact between the PLO and the CIA.
Salameh told me with a smug smile Fatah would not harm Americans. The CIA, he said, had agreed to land for the PLO in Israel in exchange for peace with America. He interjected, "The CIA has given me many alerts of threats on my life by Mossad. He added that he was protecting the CIA in Beirut and that agency director George H.W. Bush, had issued an official invitation to Salameh to visit CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. He said that in January 1977, he "really needed a vacation." Having just married Rizk, he wanted to make her dream come true of spending their honeymoon in Hawaii and Disneyland. He boasted that the CIA had organized and paid for the trip, and a senior official escorted the couple wherever they went, including on all the rides in the California theme park.
I found out later that what Salameh said was in fact true and that despite CIA protection, the long arm of Mossad reached him.
Thank God for Donald Trump. Finally, the U.S. is no longer accommodating terrorists at the expense of Jewish blood.
Mike Evans is a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author with 95 published books. He is the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem and serves on the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative.
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