ONE BY ONE, THEY WERE gunned down or blown Oup. One was killed by a bomb under his hotel bed in Nicosia; another by a charge detonated after he answered his phone in Paris. Others were shot at close range. AR except one--a Moroccan victim of mistaken identity--were members of Black September, the Palestinian group that massacred 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Everyone suspected who the assassins were. But Israel never acknowledged it--until last week.
Aharon Yariv, former adviser on terrorism to the then Prime Minister Golda Meir, said in an interview taped a year ago that Israel's Mossad spy agency killed between 10 and 15 Black September leaders during the 1970s. Censors barred its broadcast, even though the essential facts were virtually common knowledge in Israel. "Some. things are not only better served by silence, but silence is an inseparable part Of them," former Mossad official Eliahu Ben-Elissar told the newspaper Hadashot.
It is a measure of how much has changed that Amin al-Hindi, believed to be a former Black Septembrist, was an adviser to the Palestinian delegation in peace talks with Israel. Now Yasir Arafat has made him an intelligence chief. The next time that al-Hindi picks up the phone, it may be a friendly Mossad agent on the other end.