]]]]]]]]]]]]]]      GREECE, HAVEN FOR TERRORISTS        [[[[[[[[[[[[[ 
              by Robert H. Kupperman and Jeff Kamen      (12/24/1988)
Senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies 
and senior correspondent with the Independent Network News, respec-
  tively.  (From the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, 12-16-88.)

             [Kindly uploaded by Freeman 07656GAED]

WASHINGTON
  Once  again, the unprincipled men who run the Government of  Greece
are consorting with terrorists.
  This  time,  it is the Abu Nidal organization, the same  gang  that
slaughtered  11  tourists and wounded more than 70 others  last  July
aboard  the City of Poros, a Greek island ferry.  In the latest in  a
long  and humiliating list of capitulations to terrorism, Athens  has
denied  the  lawful extradition to Italy of an Abu Nidal  gunman  who
allegedly  participated in an attack in 1982 on a synagogue in  Rome.
A 2-year-old child was killed and 37 other innocents were wounded  in
the incident.
  Instead  of  handing over the Palestinian terrorist  for  trial  in
Italy,  Justice  [sic, BG] Minister Vassilis Rotis  put  the  accused
killer  on a plane for "the country of his choice."  The  country  is
Libya,  headquarters of Abu Nidal and safe haven for other  assassins
and mass murderers of unarmed civilians.
  What  was  Greece's  rationale for  freeing  the  terrorist?   "The
actions for which he was being accused fall within the domain of  the
struggle to regain the independence of his homeland and  consequently
suggest  action  for freedom," Mr. Rotis said.  In an  ethical  reach
that must have made Yasir Arafat wince, he cited the Palestinian  Li-
beration Organization's renunciation of terrorism and declaration  of
a  Palestinian  state as the moral authority for his release  of  the
accused.   Mr. Rotis must have forgotten that the Abu Nidal gang  has
sworn not only to destroy Israel but also to kill Mr. Arafat.
  United  States officials are afraid that Athens will back  down  on
their extradition request for another Palestinian terrorist, Mohammed
Rashid, wanted for the bombing of a Pan Am jet in 1982 that killed  a
passenger.   Under American pressure, Greece arrested  the  suspected
bomber when he entered the country illegally.  Mr. Rashid is about to
finish his sentence for that immigration crime.
  Last  summer, when Abu Nidal attacked the City of Poros,  the  gang
appeared to have failed in its attempt at the biggest  hostage-taking
ever, with freedom for Mr. Rashid and others a likely goal,   Despite
that  shedding of Greek and foreign blood, Athens clung to its  long-
standing secret policy of placating and assisting terrorists.
  Now,  incredibly,  Mr.  Rotis has flashed a green  light  for  more
terrorism so long as the deeds "suggest actions for freedom."  Impli-
cit in his official statement is the fervent hope that the terrorists
will  return to the good old days of transiting Greece and  murdering
elsewhere.
  The  Papandreou  Government's latest words and acts  have  provided
aid,  comfort and encouragement to extremists at exactly the hour  in
which Mr. Arafat appears to have led the mainstream of the  Palestin-
ian  movement  toward  moderation and  conciliation  [?].   When  the
bullets and bombs of the rejectionists strike next, Athens must share
the blame.
  Can  the Greek Government be pressured into standing up to  terror-
ists?  The incident comes at a sensitive time, with difficult negoti-
ations  under  way  over the future of  American  military  bases  in
Greece.  But the negotiations cannot become an excuse for a passivity
that would, in effect, condone Mr. Rotis's odious decision.
  At  the  very least, Washington and  other  responsible  governments
should  issue  a travel advisory, warning tourists away  from  Greece
because of terrorism.  An official warning right now, in a peak holi-
day season would send a strong message, particularly for a country in
desperate need of foreign currency.

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