I would like to address two assumptions of Jerome Segal's column which bothered me ("PLO Terrorism Is the PLO's Albatross," Op-Ed Page, March 23). The first is that Yasser Arafat initiated the tactic where "guns were not to be used against Israeli soldiers." Arafat's role in issuing this statement was not that of a policy maker. It was the new leadership that is emerging in the occupied territories which started this policy and the uprising. The PLO was taken off guard by the success of this locally developed policy, and Arafat's statement was the endorsement of an effective, ongoing policy.
Secondly, the PLO's distinction between terrorist operations inside and outside of Israel is, without doubt, an endorsement of terrorism in Israel. To believe otherwise is beyond naive. In fact the Negev bus incident falls right in line with this policy and is certainly not just a silly mistake clouding the true intent of the PLO to denounce terrorism everywhere including inside of Israel.
Why in the midst of the success of the uprising would the PLO pull such a stunt? The PLO is asserting its involvement in the struggle of the Palestinians. Arafat does not want to be estranged from this struggle while exiled from the occupied territories. He therefore serves notice to the Palestinians and the world that the arm of the PLO is long, it is still their representative and its policies have not changed.