In 2009, a former Italian president told reporters that his country had made an agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and another terrorist group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine: the terrorists would limit attacks to Israeli and Jewish targets in exchange for public support for the Palestinian cause. On Friday, an Italian newspaper published reports supporting his account, and specifically showing that Rome declined to act on advance knowledge of the 1982 assault on a synagogue in which a two-year-old boy was killed and 34 people wounded. Fiamma Nirenstein writes:
The implication is that there had been a political agreement between the former Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti and Palestinian organizations, which had requested that they be given a free hand against Jews and Israelis on Italian soil in exchange for a vow not to assault “innocent” Italians (i.e., non-Jews).
Though such a promise meant nothing, as Palestinian terrorists hadn’t taken into account the identity of “innocent” Italians during their attack on Rome’s Fiumicino airport in 1973 (killing 34); the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro; or the 1985 twin attacks on the Rome and Vienna airports (killing nineteen). Nevertheless, it was clear that Jewish blood was still a bargaining chip.
During the year of the attack on the synagogue, the PLO chief Yasir Arafat addressed the Italian Chamber of Deputies armed with a pistol. Andreotti, the godfather of the parliament’s pro-Arab policy, had allowed him to do so; and only Giovanni Spadolini of Italy’s Republican party opposed the event.
In those years . . . an absolutist and unctuous policy made the Palestinian world—with all its anti-Semitic ferocity, dishonesty, and human-rights violations—an untouchable sacred cow not only in the eyes of Italy, but throughout Western Europe. Fear, along with the need for Arab oil, were the basic reasons.