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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

December 20, 2002

Der Meister-appeaser von Berlin (with obeisance to Wagner)

In the second week of December, 2002, Israeli President Katsav visited Germany and, inevitably, the question of purchasing military hardware by Israel came up.

It will be recalled that in April, 2002, Germany suspended arms sale to Israel as reported by Ha’Aretz on April 16, 2002:
German Defense Minister Rudolph Scharping confirmed Sunday that his country has temporarily suspended the sale of military equipment to Israel.
The reports as to whether Mr Katsav succeeded in having the Germans remove the embargo are quite ambiguous. One report suggests that the Germans will not supply Israel with the APC’s Israel wishes to buy (though, I am sure, Germany will be most happy to sell as many BMW’s as North America can absorb). The Jerusalem Post reported on November 30 that:
Exports of armaments which could be used for offensive purposes are vetted by Germany's secretive Federal Security Council. Government policy is to block such deliveries to areas of conflict.

A Defense Ministry official, Hans Georg-Wagner, said Friday that he was "absolutely sure" that the council would oppose the Israeli request for the APCs.
To illustrate the hypocrisy of the German attitude, note that Germany may have major problems with “areas of conflict” when it comes to Israel, but not when Iraq is concerned. This statement may be illustrated by a news story in Deutsche Welle, December 12, 2002, which, confirming what everyone already knows, stated:
Iraq’s declaration of its weapons programs contains explosive news for Germany, a Berlin paper has reported. The dossier is said to detail covert arms deals between German defense firms and Iraq.

Just as the heated debates within the German government over the role of German troops and equipment in a possible war against Iraq seem to be cooling down, another potential bombshell threatens to reignite the fires.

On Tuesday, the Berlin-based left-wing paper, Tageszeitung reported that aspects of the 12,000-page Iraqi report on Iraq's weapons programs, submitted to the U.N last week, could prove highly embarrassing for Germany.

The newspaper - believed to be the first to have access to the top-secret dossier - has written that the Iraqi declaration contains the names of 80 German firms, research laboratories and people, who are said to have helped Iraq develop its weapons program.

Germany, Iraq’s number one arms supplier?

The most contentious piece of news for Germany is that the report names it as the number one supplier of weapons supplies to Iraq. German firms are supposed to easily outnumber the firms from other countries who have been exporting to Iraq.

They have delivered technical know-how, components, basic substances and even entire technical facilities for the development of atomic, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction to Iraq right since 1975.

In some cases, conventional military and technical dealings between Germany and Iraq are said to date till 2001, ten years after the second Gulf war and a time when international sanctions against Saddam Hussein are still in place.

These facts notwithstanding, Germany has been perpetuating the myth that she is “Israel’s best friend after the US”; since Germans have a reputation for precision, may I humbly suggest that it would be more appropriate to rephrase the epithet to read, “Israel’s less-hostile enemy”.

In fact, hostile steps against Israel are very much in line with Germany’s policy of appeasement towards the Arab states, a policy that has led to hostile steps against the US as well. For the record, two sets of facts warrant emphasis and documentation.

First, let us illustrate the German anti-US steps, by recalling the obstacles the German leadership keeps laying on the US path to disarm Iraq of WMD. Thus, on August 3, 2002, CNN (or Google cached) reported:
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer have cautioned against a possible U.S. attack on Iraq, stressing the need to solve the broader Middle East conflict first.

The broader Middle East conflict first part is, of course, DiploSpeak for “go bully Israel”; the “first” implies never opposing Iraq, since the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is not about to be resolved.

Germany is also not a country to pass an opportunity for petty jibes and cheap shots, as the following AP news story, dated August 31, 2002, indicates:
Germany has told the United States it will withhold evidence against Sept. 11 conspiracy defendant Zacarias Moussaoui unless it receives assurances that the material won't be used to secure a death penalty against him, Germany's justice minister said in remarks released Saturday.
Second, Germany’s history of appeasing Arabs is as long as it is sordid. On December 14, 2002, for example the Jerusalem Post reported about Germany’s “progress” in pursuing the investigation of the terrorists who murdered 16 people, of whom eleven were German tourists, in Tunis on 11 April, 2002:
A second man under investigation in connection with a deadly attack on a Tunisian synagogue in April has left Germany, a German news magazine reported Saturday.

The man left Germany for Sudan back in May, the Der Spiegel weekly reported. It identified him only as Musa A.

According to the report, investigators suspect the man of being a recruiter for the al-Qaida terror network. A month before the attack on the Tunisian resort island of Djerba, he had traveled to Saudi Arabia, from where he brought back videos featuring al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the report said.
That sure rings a bell - many bells, in fact.

Following is an account of the German connection to Pan Am flight 103, as told by:

Livingstone, Neil C. and Halevy, David. Insiee the PLO. New York: William Morrow, 1990. Quotation are from pp. 212-216; bold font added.

Flashback to September 1988. Jibril’s people (of the PFLP-GC terrorist gang) in Germany were busy plotting the demise of Pan Am flight 103 in cahoots with the Iranian government. The Palestinian liaison operative who connected the Iranians, the PFLP and the terrorists who actually planted the bomb was Hafez el-Dalkamuni.
In September 1988, Dalkamuni surfaced in West Germany and immediately was detected by agents of Israel's Mossad. The Israelis tipped off West German authorities, who ultimately arrested Dalkamuni and twelve other PFLP-GC operators, after raiding PFLP-GC safe houses. Despite the fact that the West Germans discovered two fully assembled bombs with barometric detonators set for thirty-one thousand feet, which were clearly designed to be used against jetliners, they failed to mobilize quickly to head off a disaster.
Despite their discovery of a large stock of weapons and explosives, including eleven pounds of the Czech plastic explosive Semtex, in the terrorist safe houses, the West German authorities released all PFLP-GC members but Dalkamuni and Abdel Ghandanfar. Ghandanfar is believed to be an Iranian, although he doesn't appear under that or any other name in any of the major data banks of Western intelligence agencies. The West Germans said they had insufficient evidence to hold the others.
All of the PFLP-GC operators who were released immediately went underground and most slipped out of the country, returning to either Lebanon or Syria. In addition to the two jailed members of the organization, two other members remained behind: a bomb technician and a Palestinian known in intelligence slang as a "charmer."
As soon as the bomb technician was sure that the bomb was working properly and the “package" had been delivered, the two PFLP-GC operators departed Germany, at least initially for Libya and Algeria. On December 21, four days before Christmas, Pan Am Flight 103, with 259 people on board, left London's Heathrow Airport. As it reached cruising height, thirty-one thousand feet, it exploded in midair [over Lockerbie].
Two days after Pan Am 103 went down, the Iranian Embassy in Beirut received a communication from the Interior Ministry in Teheran, which was intercepted. In this message, Teheran congratulated the ambassador on a "successful operation" and gave instructions to hand over the rest of the funds promised to the PFLP-GC.
Had we not known what transpired before 1988, we could have granted the Germans the benefit of the doubt for releasing the terrorists whom they arrested. But we know a great deal about the dealings of the Germans with terrorists, as the following narrative will outline. In his recent book on terrorism, Alan Dershowitz lists an endless succession of incidents in which the Germans caved in to terrorism. The following quotation is taken from pp. 39-47 of:

Dershowitz, Alan M. Why Terrorism Works. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.

[On February 11, 1970] an airplane bus taking passengers to an EL AL plane at the Munich airport was attacked. One Israeli was killed and eight people were wounded. Three Arabs were arrested but quickly freed following another hijacking.
[Shortly afterwards] three Arabs were arrested for conspiring to hijack an El AI plane in Munich. They were sentenced to three months' imprisonment but were released after two months.
In December 1970, five Arab terrorists were arrested for conspiring to sabotage an E1 AI plane. They served a three-month sentence in Germany.
This record of German appeasement set the stage for the “mother of all appeasements” - the case of the 1972 Munich massacre. After eight terrorists seized eleven Israeli Olympic athletes, the Germans bungled a rescue operation in which all the seized athletes were murdered. The Germans, did, however, capture three of the terrorists. But...
... not one of them was ever brought to trial.

Less than two months after the murders, Chancellor Willy Brandt made a secret deal with the Palestinian terrorists. Together they arranged for other Palestinian terrorists to hijack a Lufthansa plane from Beirut carrying eleven German men and a skeleton crew and to hold these Germans hostage, threatening to kill them unless the three Munich murderers were flown to freedom in an Arab country... Feigning terror at the prospect of Germans being murdered on a Lufthansa plane, Brandt gave in to the "demands" of these terrorists. Many observers suspected that the Lufthansa hijacking had been staged by the Brandt government to concoct an excuse for releasing the three terrorists, as a way of avoiding a real hijacking. Until recently there was no proof of this cynical secret deal between the government that had botched the rescue of the Israeli Olympic team and the terrorists who had murdered the Israelis, but it has now been confirmed by both Palestinian and German sources that the Lufthansa hijacking was a sham and that the Germans were all too eager to free the murderers.

The captured terrorists were released, receiving a hero's welcome when they returned home.
The Israeli secret service subsequently assassinated two of the three surviving Munich terrorists. The third remains alive, residing somewhere in Africa with his wife and two children.
On March 2, 1973, only five months later, the Palestinian terrorists murdered Cleo Noel, the US ambassador to Khartoum.

Here is a thought to conclude this tale of woe. If you were a politician involved in caving in to terrorists, you might feel unconsciously dishonourable. And you too might seek a framework that would mitigate the shame by contending, for example, that the Palestinian-Arabs’ cause is just, and that the “sh---y little country” (to quote the heirs of Petain) is a menace to the world anyway. As soon as you start believing these myths, the disgrace of appeasement is reduced. I wouldn’t be surprised if this psychological mechanism is at least partially behind the rabid anti-Israeli policies of the European entity.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.