"Salam-shalom" : Welcome in a terrorists base

Mustafa EkhmysisHave you ever been invited to dinner by a terrorist leader? When I met Mustafa Ekhmyyis in a Palestinian camp in the Jordanian desert, I was warmly welcomed in his home and that included a sumptuous dinner with his family. There was no argument whatsoever about his background. He did not boast about it and there was no need for it either; the facts were obvious and could be checked. For many years on the West-Bank "from Nablus to Bethlehem", as he said, he had been the military commander of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), a far-left group and one of the more radical Palestinian organisations. After the Six-Day war he was arrested by the Israeli's and sentenced to three times life imprisonment plus eight years. He was released from Ashkelon prison after more than eleven years, when he was exchanged in Switzerland against an Israeli fighter pilot whose plane was downed above Lebanon by the PFLP-GC. Libya's Muammar Khadafi gave Ekmyyis a hero's welcome in Tripoli. He freely spoke about his links with Damascus, where his son was studying, or about his daughter who planned to graduate in Moscow. "No, we are not terrorists", he claimed. "Look around you and see how we live. We only fight for a better life."