|Fine small arms are expressive gifts of Czech national pride|
The first round of reports about the death of Palestinian Ambassador al-Jamar in Prague mentioned that local police found some firearms inside the safe in his residence. Czech police spokesmen at first declined to give any details about the weapons but, after rumors of up to 70 weapons began to circulate, the national police chief today confirmed for a Czech daily newspaper that there were twelve weapons, and that they consisted of both pistols and sub-machineguns.
The police say they are investigating where the weapons came from. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Deputy Foreign Minister said they were gifts to the Palestinian mission from the former Czechoslovakian government.
Deputy Palestinian Foreign Minister Taysir Jaradat said Sunday he met with his Czech counterpart and was asked about the weapons.
"We told them that these guns have been in the embassy for a long time — going back to the former regime of Czechoslovakia — and these guns were either licensed in the embassy or were given as gifts to the ambassador," he told Voice of Palestine radio station Sunday.
I can see how that might happen in the normal course of diplomatic pleasantries. Some Czech tchotchkes got exchanged in the ceremonial climate of toasts, banquets, speeches, and formal greetings? Okay, no big thing.
But I do wonder what diplomatic occasion it was that called for the gift of guns. Maybe a Palestinian National Day celebration? No, I seem to recall that Semtex was the Czechoslovakian gift of choice for those.
More likely it was a visit to Prague by PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. I'm sure he always needed another gun to accessorize his faux guerrilla fighter outfits, and his favorite ones came from the Warsaw Pact countries.
|That one looks like a Polish PM-63|
There will be more to come on this after the Czech police run down the serial numbers on those old pistols and sub-machineguns. The StB did turn over its records to the post-Communist government, I assume?