HOW SWISS ‘PAID OFF’ THE PLO
A SWISS journalist has revealed a 45-year-old secret deal between the Swiss government and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), under which Bern paid the terrorists not to carry out attacks against their country.
According to author Marcel Gyr, a staff writer at the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, then-foreign minister Pierre Graber made the deal in September 1970 as PLO terrorists were holding 300 passengers hostage in three jets hijacked to Jordan, including a Swissair aircraft. Earlier in the year, a Swissair flight to Tel Aviv had been blown up in mid-air near Zurich, killing all 47 passengers and crew.
Mr Gyr’s book, Swiss Terror Years. The Secret Deal with the PLO, came out this month. His main source was thenNational Council member Jean Ziegler, who confirmed that he had made the contact with Palestinian Farouk Kad- doumi, now 85 and secretary general of Fatah’s central committee and the PLO’s political department in Tunisia.
In the 1970s, Mr Ziegler — today a member of the Advisory Committee to the UN Human Rights Council, who has been much criticised by mainstream Jewish organisations for its anti-Israel bias — often entertained high-level Palestinians guests, who enjoyed his Egyptian wife’s cooking. Mr Ziegler was also on good terms with Mr Graber.
Both men knew, writes Mr Gyr, that their secret contact with Palestinians could mean the end of their political careers.
Swiss Mideast Expert Pascal de Crousaz told the Swissinfo website that he doubted the deal “tied Switzerland’s hands. The Swiss Confederation didn’t just suddenly change loyalties. They still had close relations with Israel, at the diplomatic level as well as military and civilian.”