French authorities made a secret pact with the Palestinian terrorist organization behind the 1982 bombing of the Chez Jo Goldenberg Jewish deli in Paris, French daily Le Parisien reported over the weekend.
According to the report, the terrorists, members of the Abu Nidal faction of Fatah, were guaranteed free movement in France in exchange for a promise of no further attacks on French soil.
The breakthrough in the investigation into the attack, which killed six people and wounded 22, sheds light on one of the more disgraceful chapters in French history.
According to Le Parisien, former head of French domestic intelligence (DST) Yves Bonnet confessed in January to making the deal.
“We made a kind of verbal deal in which I said, ‘I don’t want any more attacks on French soil and in return, I’ll let you come to France and I guarantee nothing will happen to you,’” the paper quoted Bonnet as having told the magistrate in charge of investigating the attack.
The pact was allegedly reached during a clandestine meeting shortly after the attack between Bonnet and representatives of the Abu Nidal group—not the terrorists responsible for the massacre, he claimed, but their “stooges.”
According to Bonnet, the pact worked, insofar as there were no attacks on French soil “from late ’83, ’84 and until the end of 1985.”
Among the concessions made during that time by the DST was granting permission for two Abu Nidal terrorists to visit one of their comrades in a French prison.
Bonnet claimed that then-French president François Mitterrand’s chief of staff was informed of the deal, but that “officially … the Élysée knew nothing.” Investigators, also kept in the dark over the deal, have asked to interview other members of the intelligence services who have refused to speak until now, claiming it was a matter of national security.
Families of the victims are now demanding a parliamentary inquiry and have called on French President Emmanuel Macron to declassify the top-secret file on the attack.
Avi Bitton, a lawyer representing some of the families of the victims, told Le Parisien: “We need a parliamentary inquiry not just on the [Chez Jo Goldenberg] attack but to establish if such secret pacts were sealed with other terrorist organizations.”
Lawyers representing the families have also demanded the extradition of four suspects currently in Jordan and Norway.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.