Wednesday, April 05, 2006
From Salameh to Rantissi
When I saw the movie Munich, I decided to look into the life of one of the Palestinians who was featured in the Spielberg film. Ali Hassan Salameh, a.k.a the ped prince, was believed to be the mastermind behind the Munich massacre and he topped the Mossad's hit list during the 70s.
As I read more about Salameh, the difference between the nature of the Palestinian fight back then and now started to crystallize in front of me. This difference can be personified in the life of two Palestinian militants: the red prince and Abdel Aziz Rantissi.
Ali Hassan Salameh was a leading militant in Fatah. He was a category on his own. Salameh had popular appeal among Palestinian youth, not just for his fight against Israel, but for his extravagant lifestyle. He was surrounded by beautiful women, expensive cars, and later married Georgina Rizk, Miss Universe in 1971.
Israel believed Salameh was the mastermind behind the Munich massacre as well as other attacks on Israeli civilians. There is no doubt the red prince did in fact kill people. However, this fact was not enough to prevent the CIA from opening a backdoor with Salameh. As a result of the brilliant work of CIA agent Robert Ames, Salameh assured the US that Americans in Lebanon are literally under his protection and no American citizen would be touched by his group. In Spielberg movie, we see the CIA saving Salameh's life from the Mossad agents.
Salameh was a pragmatist. He was driven by nationalistic fervor. He wanted to fight yet still return home to Georgina Rizk.
Unlike Salameh, Rantissi involved God when he killed. He thought that his killings did not just exist in the realm of a political struggle, but they were mandated commands from the guy upstairs. Rantissi thought that those who were killed while fighting the Israel army or blowing up a cafe went straight to heaven. Salameh didn't think much of heaven. He was a fighter on earth and for earthly reasons.
The life of the two militants portrays how the Palestinian struggle was transformed from a purely nationalistic movement to a sickening death cult that involves the divine in bloodshed. And we, the people of this region, paid dearly for this transformation.
In 1979, in Beirut, Ali Hassan Salameh was killed when a parked car blew up as his convoy passed beside it. The bomb in the car was detonated by Erika Chambers, an English lady recruited by the Mossad. In 2004, Rantissi was killed when a hellfire missile struck his car.
I don't know about you but I prefer the days of the red prince. Rantissi's days are just too disgusting.