In Rome's "ghetto", the Jewish quarter, the memory is still fresh of an attack on the synagogue in October 1982, when Palestinians threw grenades and opened fire on worshippers.
It was Shemini Azeret, the day after Sukkot, and the synagogue was full of children. A 3-year-old boy, Stefano Gay Taché, became the first Jewish victim in Italy since 1945, when most of Rome's Jews were burned in Auschwitz's crematoriums.
The Jewish community distributed a placard in the ghetto, blaming the attack on "the Italian politicians who flirted with Yasser Arafat", "the newspapers which compared Zionism to Nazism" and "the labour unions which threatened to 'burn the Zionist dens'".
A few days ago, the president of the Jewish community, Riccardo Pacifici, attacked the Italian authorities: "Why did the Italian government never insisted on the extradition of the terrorist? Why didn'the Italian police patrol the synagogue that day?".
The Jewish building was mysteriously left unprotected the day of the attack The brother of the victim, Gadiel Taché, now says that "Italy has drawn a veil of embarassed silence on the massacre" and his father, Joseph Taché, declares that "the story of the attack has been buried under sand".
Now that Muammar Qaddafi (who protected Abu Nidal' terrorist group responsible for the massacre) has been killed in Lybia, many voices are asking Silvio Berlusconi's government to reveal the secrets of the Italian appeasement to anti-Jewish terrorism and to proceed with the extradition of Abdel Al Zomar, the only terrorist convicted for the attack who is living as a free citizen in Tripoli.
"We must reopen the investigation", says the mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno.
Two years ago, late Italian President Francesco Cossiga wrote in the national daily Corriere della Sera that Rome had "an agreement based on 'don't harm me and I won't harm you' between the Italian Republic and organizations such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the PLO".
According to Cossiga, the agreement was approved and directed by former Italian Premier Aldo Moro.
"According to the deal, the Palestinian organizations could establish bases in Italy, enjoyed freedom of movement when entering and exiting the country, and could move around without undergoing mandatory security checks because they were protected by the secret service", Cossiga explained. "During my time as interior minister I learned that PLO people were holding heavy artillery in their homes and protected by diplomatic immunity as representatives of the Arab League. I was told not to worry and I managed to convince them to lay down their heavy artillery and make do with light weaponry".
Cossiga's article was published one day after Bassam Abu Sharif, then the foreign minister of the PFLP, from Jericho, admitted that Italy allowed free movement to Palestinian terrorists within its boundaries. "I personally worked on the deal with the Italian authorities", Sharif said
The attack on Rome's synagogue took place just few days after the first trip in Italy of Yasser Arafat.
President Sandro Pertini didn't restrain himself before his visitor in exalting Palestinian terrorism as "resistance".
The Italian communist newspapers prepared the ground for the attack. A famous speech by Luciano Lama, the head of the Italian General Confederation of Labor (the communist union and the biggest one) in Rome on September 30, 1982, bears witness to this. It preceded by just several days the killing of the little boy, Tachè.
Lama's labour union also left an empty coffin in front of the synagogue. Arminio Savioli, a columnist for the Italian communist newspaper L'Unità, asked "to replace the Jewish state with a Palestinian one".
In 1972, two Arab terrorists used their English girlfriends as unwitting accomplices. They gave them a booby-trapped record player as they boarded an El Al plane from Rome. It exploded in flight but luckily damage was confined to the bolstered hold where Israeli security had decided to put the package.
Ahmed Zald and Adnan Mohammed Hashem were released before their scheduled trial in 1973 had even begun. Italian explanations were farcical: "The bomb was not powerful enough to cause serious damage ... the two prisoners were mere pawns and not the masterminds ... the psychological, individual and social conditions of their lives count in their favor since they come from countries that have not been independent for long" (i.e. Jordan and Iraq)
In September 1973, five Arabs were arrested for planning to target an El Al plane taking off from Rome's Airport with ground-to-air missiles stowed away at their apartment. Before trial, two were granted "temporary liberty" and escorted to Libya with an Italian military plane.
One of the two was a wanted Black September terrorist, responsible for the massacre at the Munich Olympic Games. The remaining three were found guilty but, having been granted "provisional liberty", soon followed suite.
During that period, petroleum was exchanged for Italian industrial, technical and political support of Libya.
Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship, killing a disabled Jew named Leon Klinghoffer. His body washed ashore five days later in Syria. For Marilyn and Leon Klinghoffer, their cruise was a celebration of their wedding anniversary. The attack's mastermind, Abu Abbas, was later given a hero's welcome in Tripoli by Qaddafi
Giulio Andreotti and Bettino Craxi were Prime Minister and Foreign Minister respectively when the ship was hijacked and terrorist leader Abu Abbas was allowed by the Italian authorities to avoid capture by US forces at the NATO base of Sigonella in Sicily.
President Ronald Reagan had the Delta Force intercept the plane and make it land at Sigonella, where they intended to arrest the hijackers. But Craxi had the Italian military police surround the planes and save the terrorists
The reaction was one of intense national pride: finally a great blow to America and Israel, made in the name of absolving Palestinian terrorism!
Last month, Italian judges at last began to investigate the "Palestinian plot" behind the bomb that in 1980 devastated Bologna railway station, killing 75 people. Apparently, two German terrorists from the Rote Arme Fraction, Thomas Kram and Margot Frohlich, which belonged to the Arab network of Carlos the Jackal, were in Bologna the night of the massacre.
A year after the attack in Rome's ghetto, an Italian ship near Tripoli evacuated ninety-seven of Arafat's fedayeen. And the PLO thanked Craxi, Andreotti and President Pertini, who offered a personal appeal for "a homeland for the Palestinians".
In 1984, Italy, as the most extreme participant in the 71st Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Geneva, voted in favor of Saddam Hussein's motion supporting the boycott of Israel and defending the right of the Palestinians to "armed struggle."
In that same year, on December 6, while Italy was tormented by the Red Brigades' terrorism, Craxi went to Tunis to visit Arafat who was wanted by the Italian courts for providing arms to the communist terrorists. He also compared Arafat to Giuseppe Mazzini (the father of Italian unification) in front of the Italian parliament and he defined the victims of Palestinian terrorism as "more or less innocents."
Over a month later, on December 27, he was "thanked" when the massacre at Rome's Fiumicino Airport, again a work of Palestinian terrorists, killed sixteen and wounded seventy-five.
The Italian judges recently released the only terrorist convicted for the killing of Klinghoffer, Youssef Al Molqi, and the family of the victim accused the Italian government of betraying justice.
From the United States, Avraham Weiss, the rabbi who bravely protested against the plan to build a Catholic convent in Auschwitz, declared that "as sixty years ago Italy collaborated with the Nazis now it accomplishes that with international terrorism".
Even the name of the victim, Stefano Gay Teché, has never been included by the Italian authorities in the official list of the victims of terrorism. It's as if the Jewish boy never existed. His name really bears too many secrets.
If October 16, 1943 will be remembered as when the Italians betrayed thousands of citizens deported to Birkenau, October 9, 1982 as the day when the Italian authorities sold its Jews to the terrorists.
Giulio Meotti is an Italian journalist with Il Foglio and writes a
weekly column for Arutz-Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New
Shoah", the presonal stories of Israel's terror victims.
This article appeared October 28, 2011 in Arutz-Sheva and is archived at