Monday, February 19, 2007

Ten years ago: Empire State Building PalArab terror attack

Ten years ago this week, a Palestinian Arab man shot seven people on the observation deck of the Empire State Building and killed one of them before killing himself.

At the time, his family and the US media all tried to paint this as the act of a deranged loner who was depressed over money problems and they did everything they could to distance this attack from terror. Initial reports said he was Egyptian, not a Palestinian Arab.

A few days later it was revealed that he was carrying a note blaming Israel, the US, France and England for Palestinian Arab troubles, but by then the news cycle had turned and the attack was almost forgotten:
NEW YORK -- The Palestinian teacher who went on a fatal shooting rampage atop the Empire State Building carried a note blaming the United States for using Israel as "an instrument" against his people.

The note found in Ali Hassan Abu Kamal's pocket contains "rambling, angry stuff," and appears to contradict claims by the man's family that the shooting had nothing to do with politics, a high-ranking police source said last night.

The letter also expressed anger at France and England for using Israel as "an instrument" against Palestinians, and indicated that Mr. Abu Kamal planned to vent his anger at the Empire State Building, the source said.

Seven tourists were shot Sunday, one fatally, on the 86th-floor observation deck of the famous landmark, long a symbol of romance and tourism. Mr. Abu Kamal then killed himself.

That Mr. Abu Kamal -- a 69-year-old Palestinian in the country only two months -- could buy a Beretta semiautomatic handgun "is totally insane," Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said at a news conference.

Police Commissioner Howard Safir described Mr. Abu Kamal as "one deranged individual working on his own."

An anti-terrorist task force was still part of the investigation, Mr. Safir said, but so far it had found no evidence that Mr. Abu Kamal was aligned with any terrorist group.

In Mr. Abu Kamal's hometown of Gaza City, relatives said he had been distraught over losing his life savings of more than $300,000 and had no ties to Palestinian radical groups. Mr. Abu Kamal called home Sunday and said he could not send tuition money to one of his sons, who is studying civil engineering in Russia, a son-in-law said.

The letter in Mr. Abu Kamal's pocket discussed personal issues but did not mention the loss of his life savings, the police source said. How he lost the money is a mystery.
Now it is revealed that the family lied the whole time - under pressure of the Palestinian Authority:
(IsraelNN.com) The family of Ali Abu Kamal, who opened fire on the observation deck of the Empire State Building a decade ago, now admits that his attack was politically motivated. The family had claimed for years that the attack, in which one person was killed and six were injured, was due to a mental breakdown which Kamal suffered after losing his life’s savings.

A letter found on Kamal’s body at the time pointed to a political motivation for the attack. However, sources in the Palestinian Authority worried that publicizing Kamal’s true motivation would erode Israeli and American trust in the Oslo Accords. So PA officials invented the story about Kamal’s supposed loss of savings and convinced his family to repeat it.

Kamal’s daughter, a UN worker in Gaza, said that at first “we didn’t know he was martyred for patriotic motivations.” Even after becoming convinced that Kamal was in fact a terrorist, the family covered up that fact and destroyed evidence out of fear. Family members say they are now admitting the truth because they are tired of lying.
If the PA would successfully pressure families to lie ten years ago, what percentage of news stories out of Gaza and the West Bank about supposed Israeli crimes are lies as well?

When the acting "government" of a people cannot be trusted to tell simple truths - if in fact they go out of their way to mislead and lie to the world - how can negotiators today trust a word that they say?

A true Arab terror attack occurred in a New York City skyscraper ten years ago, right between the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, and because of a combination of the PA's lies, wishful thinking on the part of the New York police and politicians, and the desire to downplay anything that could derail the Oslo "peace" process, the media and the local governments all agreed that this was not a story that was worth pursuing.

And the PA was behind a massive cover-up that can only be learned about today.

Once again there are lessons to be learned from history. Yet it seems unlikely that history's truths will outweigh the wishful thinking agendas of the US, EU and Kadima.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin ties this case to other cases of "lone gunmen" who happen to be Muslims and whose terrorist motivations are consistently downplayed. (hat tip One Jerusalem)