* Title 22, United States Code (Foreign Relations) Chapter 61 - Anti-Ter- rorism - PLO 1. It might be of interest to quote the following from Walsh, Unequal Sen- tences for "Terror" in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, at 6 (Dec. 1987). Walsh asked: Question: When is a terrorist not a terrorist, and when is an act of ter- ror not an act of terror? Answer: When an Israeli citizen attempts to detonate an explosive device in the visitor's gallery of the US Capitol building. On October 18, 1983, Israel Rubinowitz was arrested by US Capitol police after he began shouting in Hebrew from the Capitol building's visitor's gallery directly above the floor, and then attempted to deto-
nate electronically several bottles of flammable liquid strapped around his waist. Capitol police officers who subdued him discovered that in addi- tion to flammable liquid, the bottles contained gunpowder, metal, glass, and rock fragments. Had Rubinowitz succeeded in detonating the device, Capitol police estimated, he would have created a fireball 10 feet in diameter and killed or injured anyone nearby. Police declined to estimate how much physical damage the device would have caused to the Capitol building. Two months later, in December 1983, Rubinowitz pleaded guilty to one count of "threats... to damage property." He was fined $500, and received a six-month prison sentence, which was suspended, and five years' unsupervised probation. He then was deported to Israel. There was no press coverage of Rubinowitz's sentencing nor of his quiet exit from the United States. Contrast Rubinowitz's treatment with that accorded an American citi- zen, "Trim" Bissell, who was accused of a similar crime. In late June of this year, the media widely reported the capture of Bissell, heir to a vacuum cleaner fortune and a 1960s anti-Vietnam war activist. Bissell was tried and sentenced to two years in prison for placing what local police termed an "unregistered destructive device" at the University of Washington's ROTC building in 1970.
* Text in 1 Laws of the State of Israel, ("LSI") at 76 (1948). This Ordinance was first amended in 1980 by virtue of Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (Amend- ment) Law, 1980, see 34 LSI, at 211, and then in 1986, see SepherHahukim, no. 1191, 13/8/1986, at 219. The text reproduced herein is the text as amended. All notes in the original and Hebrew dates were deleted. For a number of years the Israeli authorities at all levels have been doing everything in their power to combat the Palestinian people and to contain their aspirations to freedom and independence in a state of their own. In this connection the authorities have not hesitated to take all kinds of repressive measures against defenceless civilians, such as killing civilians, blowing up houses, mass arrests etc. Not content with implementing this policy by such measures the authorities have, in a somewhat misleading manner, expanded its scope to cover all kinds of innocent and reasonable activities. This is clearly illustrated by the amend- ment of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance. This law was originally enacted by the Israeli authorities shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It was enacted to confront domestic terrorist activity directed against the authorities, in particular by the group known as LEHI (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel). It was members of this group whose leader at the time was Yitzhak Shamir, the present Prime Minister of Israel, who, in the autumn of 1948, assassinated the United Nations mediator, Count Bernadotte, for hav- ing submitted certain proposals for the solution of the Palestinian question which were unacceptable to them. With the stabilization of the political situation in Israel, the authorities shelved this ordinance, which lay "dormant" for more than thirty years. Then in 1980 they amended it for the first time and proceeded to enforce it by virtue of a special declaration (see photocopy of the text of this declaration at 229). The ordinance was enforced against the Palestine Liberation Organization
and all the Palestinian resistance organizations active within its framework, and even such as had seceded from it or were hostile to it, all of which were declared to be "terrorist organizations" within the meaning of this ordinance. With the passage of time, and especially during the last few years, various Israeli political and other groups have emerged whose political attitudes the authorities do not approve of. Some of these groups have sought to contact the PLO or certain of its wings or agencies with a view to reaching an understand- ing on the possibility of establishing an Israeli-Palestinian peace. Within this framework numerous meetings have been held in different parts of the world between various Palestinian and Israeli personage and groups. However, these meetings and contacts, although they are conducted quite openly and publicly, and usually discuss general political matters directly related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in an effort to devise or develop vari- ous solutions, have not enjoyed the approval of ruling Israeli circles - on the contrary, they have incurred their intense hostility. Moreover, in their hostility and opposition to any political activity they disapprove of these authorities are making strenuous efforts to prevent it. It is within this framework that we must see the latest amendment of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance with all that it involves in the way of misrepresentation and the misleading of public opinion. At first glance this Ordinance appears to be "logical" and to be aimed at preventing illegal and harmful activities. But one has only to read its provi- sions to realise that the presentation of the law in this form is, in fact, a piece of imposture. For the text refers unambiguously to the prevention of any con- tacts, including and in particular political contacts, specifically mentioned in the law, with any group that the government has defined as being "terrorist", even if such contacts are aimed at reaching an understanding and peaceful sol- utions. Since the last amendment of the Ordinance several Israeli citizens have been brought to trial on charges of contravening the Ordinance and have been convicted for the sole reason that they met with Palestinian personages and discussed political matters with them. Those who have been tried include, in particular, those who call for Israeli recognition of the PLO and negotiations with it on an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
j- Amended in 1980. $ Amended in 1986. Unofficial translation.
t Amended in 1980.
t Amended in 1980.
* Text published in Shu'un Filastiniyah [Palestine Affairs], a PLO periodical, no. 186, at 137 (Sept. 1988). Translation for the Yearbook. All notes are added by the Editor. 1. See H.M. King Hussein's statement supra at 297. 2. See note 7 supra at 299 - 300.