by DEBKAfile, 15 January 2002

"Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, Romanian intelligence chief under the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and the highest ranking intelligence officer ever to defect from the Soviet bloc, wrote an article entitled “The Arafat I Know” in the Wall Street Journal of January 10. The occasion he marked was Israel’s capture of the Karin-A arms ship.
Pacepa describes his involvement with Arafat in the late 1960s “in the days when he was being financed and manipulated by the KGB,” and comments:

“I am not surprised to see that Yasser Arafat remains the same bloody terrorist I knew so well.”
The former Romanian spy chief’s revelations once again raise the question: What do the Americans expect of Arafat? Don’t they know what he is?

To show how Arafat feels about Americans, Pacepa points to his personal order to kill the US Ambassador in Khartoum, Cleo A. Noel, in 1973, after taking him hostage, commenting.  “His broken record was that American ‘imperial-Zionism’ is the ‘rabid dog of the world,’ and there is only one way to deal with a rabid dog, ‘Kill it!’.”
”Arafat has made a political career by pretending he has not been involved in his own terrorist actions,” Pacepa writes. At a private dinner with Ceausescu, when Arafat bragged about his Khartoum operation, former Romanian prime minister Gheorghe Maurer advised him to be careful. “Who me?” said Arafat. “I never had anything to do with that operation,” winking mischievously.

After the murder of the PLO representative in London in January 1973 for which Abu Nidal was blamed, Arafat’s liaison officer Ali Hassan Salameh admitted: “That wasn’t a Nidal operation. It was ours.” Why kill your own people? Arafat was asked. The answer, according to the former Romanian intelligence director: “To mount spectacular operations against the PLO, making it look as if they had been organized by Palestinian extremists groups that accuse the chairman of becoming too conciliatory and moderate.”

Pacepa concludes that the Arafat he knew in the last quarter of the last century has not changed.

Three days after the Pacepa article appeared, The Washington Post analyzed the dangers posed by al Qaeda today. Its writers pointed out that, while there is no conclusive evidence of the shoe bomber Richard Reid’s connection with Osama Bin Laden’s networks, what is certain is that “One of the explosive chemicals found in Reid’s shoes is commonly used by the Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel.”

On December 31, 2001, DEBKAfile revealed that Reid was handed those explosives for blowing up an American Airlines passenger plane before Christmas in the Gaza Strip refugee camp of Jabaliya by Nabil Akal, a man close to Arafat’s most trusted lieutenants.

Arafat, whose purpose in life was to kill Americans and Israelis in the 1970s remains dedicated to the same goals up to now.  Only one day after The Washington Post disclosure, three Israelis were dead at the hands of Palestinian terrorists. On January 9, four Israeli soldiers were killed by Palestinian policemen on the Israeli side of the south Gaza Strip border.  Since the capture of the Palestinian smuggling vessel on January 3, Palestinian terrorists have killed a total of seven Israelis.

Avi Boaz, 71, an American citizen living in the West Bank town of Maale Adumim, was lynched Tuesday afternoon at Beit Sahur near Bethlehem by four members of Arafat’s own Fatah. They snatched him under the noses of Palestinian policemen, who stood by. Tuesday night, two gunmen sprayed Yoela Chen and her car with bullets while chatting to her as she filled her car at the Givat Zeev gas station. Her elderly aunt was badly injured. The two gunmen ran off to the nearby Palestinian village of el-Jib.

Israeli chief of staff Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz warned of worse to come in his briefing Tuesday to the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee in Jerusalem.

His disclosure that an unnamed external body had given the Palestinian Authority its directives to revert to major terror operations confirmed DEBKAfile’s report on Monday, January 14, that Israel was braced for a Baghdad-instigated wave of terror. Mofaz added that the Palestinians were close to operating Qasem-2 surface rockets from the West Bank. With a range of up to 8 kilometers, these weapons would bring most of Israel’s main population centers and international airfields within Palestinian range.

Tuesday night, as the word went round of an impending Israeli retaliation for the latest murders, Arafat instructed his men to detain Ahmed Saaadat, secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian in Ramallah. Saadat is one of the two men whose extradition Israel has demanded for the assassination of cabinet minister Zeevi last year. Also on the United States list of wanted terrorists, he most probably ordered the murder of Yoela Chen at Givat Zeev.

Arafat’s actions are par for the course, exactly the same as the old days described by the former Romanian spy chief. His move against his fellow-terrorist is designed to look conciliatory to the West, while at the same time signaling his following that he is placing the targeted man in protective custody so that the Israelis cannot get to him ...

The Palestinian leader’s hell-raising plans were plainly laid well in advance of the Tulkarm killer’s death. His goal is simple. To raise the flames of the Palestinian-Israel conflict high, in order to upset the Bush administration’s plans. He knows that Washington needs quiet on his front in order to focus on its global war against terrorism and deal effectively with Iraq, Somalia and the Lebanese Hizballah. Arafat is determined to deny them this luxury.
DEBKAfile has repeatedly pointed out that the Palestinian leader is capable of outdoing all his European and Israeli fans in peace talk, while in action, he rivals the most radical Muslim extremists, including Osama bin Laden.
Arafat is undoubtedly striving to show the Muslim world that he can beat bin Laden at his own game of killing Americans and Zionists.

Retired General Pacepa knew what he was talking about."