In December of 1988, during the waning days of his administration, President Reagan announced that the PLO “had finally met the American conditions for direct talks after more than a decade.”
When pressed, [Secretary of State George Schultz] stated that Yasser Arafat had met the “three-part test for substantive dialogue” to commence. He specifically cited a recent speech in Geneva by PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat’s where he stated,
”We totally and absolutely renounce all forms of terrorism, including individual, group and state terrorism.”
And the rest, as they say is history including three intifadas and the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland just 6 days after the announcement to resume talks (admittedly the work of Iran and Libya, but why split hairs?), as well as Al Qaeda, ISIS and all the rest. Circling back to Arafat, he was famous for being conciliatory in the Western media while at the same time, fervently inciting violence in Arabic in Middle Eastern outlets.
Yet, even in his broken English, I have a vivid memory of his above-cited speech, except I distinctly remember him saying “we renounce tourism in all its forms.” I flashed back to all of this after yesterday’s incredibly bloody carnage in Nice, France during the Bastille Day celebrations. Innocent people – men, women and children of all ages and many tourists – gathered to see the fireworks and enjoy an evening stroll along the famed Promenade Des Anglais, were mowed down by a terrorist in a truck. 84 dead and over 100 injured. Horrible as it was, the truck was found laden with grenades that reportedly were destined for the hands of other attackers in a Mumbai-style assault. Somehow the plan went awry and they improvised.
I suppose for once, Arafat was telling the truth. They really do renounce tourism.