Denmark: Fear of terrorism backlash

In a somewhat related case, Scandinavian airline SAS recently decided to drop an interview with Naser Khader in their in-flight magazine Scanorama. Khader said it was giving in to Islamists. Scanorama was apparently concerned with security issues. The article, about Khader's fight against Islamists, was being prepared for a quite a while and was supposed to be the lead article in their upcoming magazine. Scanorama did not want to comment on their course of action, or explain what kind of security concerns they had in mind. They also did not update Khader on why they dropped the interview. Their spokesperson in Sweden, Bertil Ternert, said that neither SAS management nor their security division were involved in the decision.


Bent Melchior accuses the Justice Ministry of keeping their hands off the Palestinians in a terrorism case from 1988, which can have parallels to the Blekinge Street Gang [a group of left-wing activists who committed robberies in order to support such groups as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Red Army.]

Bent Melchior, former head of the Jewish community in Denmark, thinks the truth still hasn't been told about the 20 year old terrorism case. In 1988, Palestinian terrorists apparently planned an attack to kill him, and now he accuses the Justice ministry of keeping their hands off the terrorists. According to Melchior the Justice ministry did not deport the terrorists, because they feared Palestinian retaliation in the form of a plane hijacking or terrorism act.

"People were more willing to risk my life than to attract a Palestinian terrorist act. It was my clear experience that people were afraid of a Palestinian retaliatory attack, if Denmark deported the Palestinians," says Bent Melchior.

In 1988 two people from the Danish Security Intelligence Service (PET) visited him at home. They told him that a group of Palestinian men who belonged to Force 17, one of Yassir Arafat's elite units, had planned to kill him. The plan was to murder Bent Melchior during a trip to Israel that he was leading. PET managed to uncover the plans for the attacks, which also included Politiken's former chief editor, Herbert Pundik, and a female agent of the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad, and Israel's president at the time, who was on an official visit to Denmark.

Melchior wonders today why the authorities, according to him, didn't intervene. When it was discovered that the suspects had connections to the PLO's office in Amager, he thought it was natural that they would be deported. He says he turned to the Justice Ministry to hear if those responsible would be deported, but was told that there was no basis for it. The Justice Ministry couldn't say yesterday whether there were deportations in the case.

Bent Melchior is critical of the Justice ministery because he thinks that a new book about the Danish Blekinge Street Gang supports the suspicion he's had for years. According to the book, "Blekingegadebanden – Den hårde kerne" (The Blekinge Street Gang - The Hard Core) - the Justice Ministry prevented the extradition of two Palestinian terror suspects to Denmark in 1983 out of fear of a retaliatory attack. That same fear played also in his case, five years earlier, says Melchior.

Fathi el-Abed, head of the Danish-Palestnian Friendship Association, worked as a volunteer at the PLO's office from 1989. He resents Melchior's accusations and wants an investigation.

"Let us get an investigation. Let us clear the people he's pointing at. There were no murder plans. The case was a campaign to close the PLO's office in Denmark," says Fathi el-Abed, who thinks that Israel was running a campaign in different countries to paint the PLO in a bad light. He also thinks that a terror bombing against the Jewish synagogue in Krytal Street in 1985 was part of the campaign against the PLO. According to him suspicion was immediately cast at the PLO office. he asks why bombs should go off in Krystal Street and other places at the same time that the PLO office was opened. "The whole thing was pure fiction to again display the Zionists as victims," says Fathi el-Abed.

Moreover, he thinks it unrealistic that the assumed murder would have been planned in one country but carried out in another.

Lene Espersen, the Justice minister, doesn't reject an investgation of the Justice Ministry's role in the case. She is waiting first for a report from the PET commision, which is investigating PET's activities from 1945 to 1989. "Then we must assess what will eventually happen. That also holds, naturally, in connection to the data Nyhedsavisen brings today," says the Justice Minister.

Neither PET head at the time, Hanne Bech Hansen, nor PET wished to comment on Melchior's accusations. It wasn't possible to contact the former Conservative Justice Minister Erik Ninn-Hansen.

According to the Foreign Minister at the time, Uffe Ellemann Jensen, there's still missing information to cast light on the case. "I hope that one day we'll get the whole story. It's known that there were serious threats against Jews' lives."

Sources: Nyhedsavisen (Danish), (Danish) h/t AntiJihad Norge (Norwegian)

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