The waters have become so muddied among the slurs and smears thrown by an increasingly desperate Establishment at Jeremy Corbyn about his 2014 visit to a Tunisian cemetery that few have looked at one of the most basic facts of the matter.
While Corbyn has said consistently that he was at the cemetery – along with other delegates to the peace conference he was attending – in memory of a large number of people killed in Tunis by an Israeli airstrike, the Daily Mail and its anti-Corbyn fellow-travellers have claimed Corbyn laid a wreath at the graves of ‘Munich terrorists’ in the same cemetery.
But there are no ‘Munich terrorists’ in the same cemetery.
Hamman Chott cemetery is the Palestinian national cemetery in Tunisia, where all Palestinians not allowed to be repatriated by Israel are buried.
Salah Khalaf, whose grave is one of those at the centre of the Mail smear, was the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s number two after its then-leader Yasser Arafat. Khalaf was assassinated in Tunis in 1991 and as a prominent Palestinian his grave is in a prime location in the cemetery. Khalaf was accused by Israel of being linked to Black September but always denied it.
Similarly, Atef Bseiso, the PLO’s liaison officer with foreign intelligence agencies, was assassinated in Paris in 1992. He was a regular contact of the CIA and other agencies and although at the time some claimed he was assassinated by the Israelis, many now believe he was killed by another Palestinian faction because it objected to his discussions with the US and Israel about peace.
The terrorists who carried out the Munich attack were killed in Munich.* None is buried in Hamman Chatt.
JC did not lay wreath on the grave of either Bseiso or Khalaf. He was at a Palestine conference in Tunis sponsored by Tunisian president. Delegates took a wreath from conference to cemetery to pay respects to the Palestinian struggle and those killed in the 1985 Israeli bombing raid – people who included Palestinian and Tunisian civilians.
The Palestinians shown attending the graves in the Mail’s photographs are high ranking Palestinian Authority (PA) officials based in Ramallah. The PA headquarters in Ramallah was recently visited by a delegation of Labour Friends of Israel members during a trip to Israel.
Those members include right-wing Labour MP and ‘forgetful‘ arch-Corbyn critic Louise Ellman.
The attempts to create a smear from the visit are politically-driven nonsense.
*Correction: Three of the Munich terrorists were captured alive and released in a prisoner exchange only a month later. Two are widely believed to have been killed by Israeli operatives and a third was alive and in hiding at the end of the 20th century. None is buried in Tunis.
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