The Guardian September 5, 2001


Worldwide condemnation of Israeli assassination of Palestinian leader

The assassination of Palestinian leader Abu Ali Mustafa by an Israeli 
airforce strike has brought a torrent of condemnation and protest around 
the world.

The killing has been denounced as an act of barbarity and terrorism 
authorised by a head of state and carried out with US sophisticated arms in 
open impunity before the eyes of the international community. The plane 
used was supplied by the US, the rocket was US made, the technology was 
from the US and Israel is propped up by massive US supplied money. 

Fifty thousand mourners attended the funeral of Mustafa in Ramallah where 
he was killed. Thousands of others were prevented by Israeli security 
forces from attending the funeral but symbolic services were carried out 
across the region.

In Amman (Jordan), an estimated 10,000 people gathered to remember Mustafa. 
Abu Ali Mustafa was the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the 
Liberation of Palestine.

Egypt's Minister of Foreign Relations, Ahmed Maher, said the assassination 
violated all laws and norms observed by civilised states. He added it was a 
crime that ensured a worsening of the tension in the Middle East and could 
only further contribute to regional instability.

The President of the Iranian parliament condemned the silence of the 
international community before the crimes of the Israeli regime, and the 
country's Foreign Minister called the act a brutal terrorist crime.

Media across the Arab world harshly criticised the killing. In Syria, 
Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and other states, the media was unanimous 
in their condemnation. The Egyptian daily, "Al-Akhbar", went so far as to 
say that Sharon had received a nod of approval from US President George W 
Bush before carrying out the assassination.

Israeli newspapers also widely criticised the killing. The daily "Haaretz" 
wrote that Abu Ali Mustafa was an important and recognised figure in the 
Palestinian national movement, and that his assassination illustrated 
confusion at the highest levels of government as to the methods by which to 
prevent further shedding of blood.

It was clear proof that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's efforts to halt the 
Intifada had failed. Palestinians were now more united than ever.

The daily Maariv agreed, saying that in death Mustafa had gained a 
heroic status. Even the right-wing Yediot Aharonot reported that 
although in principle it agreed with the "elimination" of Mustafa, one had 
to ask if the act was in good judgement.

Ten Palestinian organisations have promised to avenge the assassination of 
Abu Ali Mustafa, including his own group, the PFLP, the Democratic Front 
for the Liberation of Palestine, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.

The United States is also to be targeted, said statements from a combined 
communique. The US provides the weapons with which Israel kills 
Palestinians and is thus equally responsible for Mustafa's death, it said.

A commemorative meeting was held in Sydney last Sunday, addressed by a 
number of political and religious figures from the Arab community. Peter 
Symon, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Australia spoke in 
commemoration of Abu Ali Mustafa's life and work and conveyed solidarity 
with the just cause of the Palestinian people on behalf of the CPA.

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