Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Associated Press keeps on reeking ... and reeking and ...


Palestinian old guard mixes anger, regrets

By Hamza Hendawi, The Associated Press

(Edited for clarity)


In a year when Israel is celebrating its 60th birthday, Nayef Hawatmeh and his generation of leaders are ... fading from the scene.

Visited by The Associated Press in Damascus, the Syrian capital, these graying grandfathers radiate nostalgia ... They speak of wasted opportunities, perceived successes (and) failures.

Hawatmeh, Jibril, Habash, Black September, Leila Khaled - exploded onto the world stage in the 1960s and 1970s with deadly raids into Israel, the attack on the 1972 Munich Olympics, and a string of airline hijackings and assaults on passenger lines.

Branded as terrorists in Israel and the West, they saw themselves more in the Che Guevara mold, inspired by Cuba and Algeria and the Viet Cong.

Some of the old-timers have paid a personal price ... time is thinning their ranks too. George Habash, whose Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine specialized in hijackings, died in a Damascus hospital in January at 81 ...

... the leaders interviewed say they have no regrets, and insist they will ultimately prevail over Israel .... "Would you believe me if I tell you that if I had to do it all over, I would?" said Mohammed Oudeh, architect of Black September's 1972 Olympics attack that left 11 Israeli athletes dead.

Leila Khaled, the Palestinians' best known female hijacker, says the Palestinian leadership has "committed a lot of blunders" ... They jumped too quickly into negotiations with Israel, thus "defused" the Palestinian uprising and "blocked the golden path that I and other comrades paved for the Palestinians," she said at her home in Amman, in neighboring Jordan.

Still got them nasal passages plugged Sparky?

Today in history - By The Associated Press

In 1978, Italian politician Aldo Moro was kidnapped by left-wing urban guerrillas, who later murdered him.

In 1984, William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, was kidnapped by gunmen; he died in captivity.


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