June 01, 2007

Entebbe, did Israel set it up to set it up?

This is one for conspiracy theorists. I usually steer clear of such tales even when they ring true but according to the BBC there was a suggestion in British diplomatic circles that Israel may have had a hand in the PFLP hijacking of, among others, several Israeli citizens that ended with the Israeli commando raid on Entebbe.
newly released documents contain a claim that the 1976 rescue of hostages, kidnapped on an Air France flight and held in Entebbe in Uganda, was not all it seemed.

A UK government file on the crisis, released from the National Archives, contains a claim that Israel itself was behind the hijacking.

An unnamed contact told a British diplomat in Paris that the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Bet, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) collaborated to seize the plane.

The flight was seized shortly after it took off from Athens and was flown to Entebbe, where 98 people were held hostage, many of them Israeli citizens.......

In the document, written on 30 June 1976 when the crisis was still unresolved, DH Colvin of the Paris Embassy writes of his source: "According to his information, the hijack was the work of the PFLP, with help from the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Beit.

"The operation was designed to torpedo the PLO's standing in France and to prevent what they see as a growing rapprochement between the PLO and the Americans."
There are a few little points in this saga that might be of interest or use to Trivial Pursuit enthusiasts. As the article says, there was one Israeli killed. What it doesn't say is that he was, Jonathan Netanyahu, the brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, former Israeli PM. Also the Israelis built Entebbe airport so they knew their way around it better than the hijackers. And finally, the article makes no mention of a passenger of dual British-Israeli nationality, Dora Bloch, who seems to have been murdered and mutilated by the Idi Amin regime as a result of the hijack and raid.

Oh yes, the Hat-tip: thanks Justin.

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