Israel has for the first time admitted the assassination of the deputy of late Palestine Liberation Organization leader
’s military mastermind, Abu Jihad, whose real name was Khalil al-Wazir, was shot dead in the early hours of April 16, 1988, in a commando raid on the PLO headquarters by what was presumed to be Israeli agents.
Yediot Ahronoth' said the publication of the interview with agent Nahum Lev and details about the operation, code-named “Show of Force," were made possible after six months of negotiations between the paper and Israel's military censorship
Nahum Lev died in a motorcycle accident in 2000.
The operation was overseen by Israel's intelligence service, Mossad, and conducted by elite commandos of Sayeret Matkal, the paper said.
Commandos entered Tunisia, where the Palestine Liberation Organization was based at the time, by sea and in disguise.
Lev and another soldier, who dressed up as a woman for the attack, pretended they were a vacationing couple. Lev reportedly carried what appeared to be a large box of chocolates in one hand, in which he concealed a gun with a silencer that he was holding in his other hand.
Lev told Yediot Ahronoth all about the operation, the 26 officers involved, the boat journey to Tunis, eliminating the bodyguards inside and outside the house, his recollection of Abu Jihad having a weapon in his hand moments before he was killed, and, finally, shooting him dead.
Lev also said that he attacked al-Wazir's villa in Tunis without hesitation, due to his study of the PLO's connection to attacks on Israelis.
Abu Jihad was Yasser Arafat's deputy at the time. He was buried in Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. His killing was condemned by the United States shortly after as an act of political assassination.
Israel never officially acknowledged its role in the killing of Khalil al-Wazir as the next day following his killing, Israeli Prime Minister was asked about Israel’s involvement in the assassination. Scowling, he replied, “I just heard about it on the radio.”
However, Abu Jihad was less visible than most of his comrades. He commanded the respect and loyalty of most Palestinians, including members of rival organizations.
Israel can kill thousands of people and a lot of Palestinian leaders. Israel, however, would not be able, with whatever power it possesses, to remove the name of "Palestine."
We knew that Israel killed Abu Jihad as it killed many Palestinian leaders. We did not need all these details, but publishing this story in this particular time is an indirect threat to the Palestinian , who is still determined that the United Nations to recognize the State of Palestine.
The route of freedom and independence is very difficult. Especially when you do not find anyone supporting, backing and caring about you. But everything pales in order to reach our target. Palestinians will reach it, either today or after a hundred years. They will have their state and Jerusalem as its capital.
Golda Meir, former Israeli prime minister, said, "Old Palestinians will die and their young children will not remember Palestine." Today, we say that she was absolutely wrong. We remember and work for Palestine to be returned back to us and will never give up in that until we gain our freedom.
In schools, in our Palestinian syllabus, we don't forget to implant the love of Palestine in our children's hearts. Nevertheless, through their studies they became fully aware of the full scope of the Palestinian tragedy since 1948 through today. You will be completely surprised to discuss the Palestinian issue with a child aged 8 years old, as you will discover that he knows all what happened in the past. The Palestinian child even knows all the names of the Palestinian camps inside Palestine and worldwide. This is necessary as we are relying on the next generations to have Palestine always in their hearts and not to give up their land under any circumstances.
Perhaps many people will think that in this way, we are ruining their childhood. Unfortunately that's true, but its not our fault, as the continuous Israeli bombings and warplanes prevail over Palestine's sky day and night, damaging all the sweet dreams a child may think of.
Khalil el Wazir's youngest son, Nidal el Wazir, who was only two years at that time, witnessed the assassination of his father. Until today I still remember the tears and fear in his eyes. He even needed a psychological treatment at that time, after the bloody crime by Israel against his beloved father.
Does the international community know that the Palestinian people are the only people in the whole world, who are still occupied?
Palestinians have tried peace negotiations, but did not get anything. Let them try other ways, considering that "what was taken by force will only be returned by force." This is what most Palestinians say.