The Seeds of Beslan Were Sown in Ma’alot, Israel – Ehud Olmert
“We Israelis can so readily identify with the suffering of the Russian victims in Beslan. In 1974, I watched the terrorist assault on a school in Ma’alot as Palestinian gunmen, ironically from a PLO faction funded by the Russians, infiltrated a high school and took dozens of students hostage. Before the army could free the children, the terrorists managed to kill 26 of them. The world voiced only silence, and business went on as usual. Israelis were forced to learn that our tragedies were always going to be personal affairs, and that there would be no united international response to terror. The seeds of terror planted by the Palestinians in 1974 have come to fruition in a schoolhouse in Russia 30 years on, and should be seen as Yasser Arafat’s legacy.
Countries that are determined to protect their citizens and safeguard their security now understand that they can no longer remain passive in the face of evil. Either democratic states will bury the terrorists and their patrons, or they will bury us. In Israel, we have learned that you can either fight the perpetrators in their cities and villages or you can turn your own streets and schools into a war zone.” (Wall Street Journal, 15 Sep 04)