Guardian: ‘Raid on Entebbe sowed seeds of right-wing Israeli militarism’

Saul David’s book ‘Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 And The Raid On Entebbe Airport’ (read by this writer) is an extremely informative, carefully researched and, at times, gripping account of one of the most daring hostage rescue missions of all time. David’s comprehensive, hour-by-hour retelling of the eight days in late June and early July 1976 – from the moment the Paris bound plane was hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists to the stunning lightning raid by Israeli commandos on the airport in Uganda – was based on archival documents and interviews with major participants.

operation-thunderbolt-by-saul-davidAlmost without exception, there was little if any sign of ideological bias in David’s historical account of this extraordinary event.

We say “almost”, because his postscript includes this extremely curious rumination:

Most Israelis are understandably proud of what their soldiers achieved at Entebbe. But are they aware of the raid’s long-term political consequences? Did it make peace with the Palestinian Arabs less likely because it convinced Israel’s political leaders – and the populace in general – that their intelligence services and soldiers could deal with any security threat. Did it make it harder for Israeli politicians to push through the compromises required for peace?

Interestingly, a 2015 review of David’s book in the Observer (sister site of the Guardian) by Ben Shephard echoed David’s questions:

Yet, if anything, the triumph at Entebbe contributed to a glorification of military might and a downgrading of political compromise in Israeli public life,…

More recently, Jonathan Freedland, in a 4500 word reflection on the 4oth anniversary of the raid (‘We thought this would be the end of us’: the raid on Entebbe 40 years on, Guardian, June 25th), raised similar concerns:

There is perhaps a more subtle legacy [of the raid], too. A year after Entebbe, Israel took the diplomatic path, engaging in direct negotiations – which led to an eventual peace treaty – with Egypt. Even so, the outrageous success of Operation Thunderbolt planted a thought among some on the Israeli right that proved hard to shift: the belief that there were few problems to which there was not a military solution, that the unglamorous business of compromise could be avoided, so long as the men in uniform were sufficiently creative, courageous or crazy to think of an alternative. Few Israeli politicians would admit they might be prone to an Entebbe syndrome, but that is often how it looks.

Ok, so let’s briefly examine the suggestion that the success of the raid made Israeli leaders less likely to make compromises for peace.

  • Shimon Peres, Rabin’s Defense Minister at the time, was the strongest supporter within his cabinet of a military solution to the hostage crisis. Yet, Peres became the most vocal advocate for the peace process.
  • As Freedland himself admits, a year after the raid, a diplomatic process began which led to a peace treaty with Egypt, signed by the right-wing Menachem Begin, and Israel’s relinquishing of Sinai.
  • Yitzhak Rabin, who ordered the Entebbe raid, signed the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, and reached a peace agreement with Jordan a year later. 
  • The right-wing Binyamin Netanyahu, whose brother Yoni was killed in the raid, signed the Wye River Memorandum in 1988 which reinstated implementation of the Oslo II Agreement and set in motion a staged Israeli withdrawal from additional West Bank territory.
  • Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, in a move initiated by right-wing Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon.
  • Two Israeli leaders since Entebbe (including Ehud Barak, who helped plan the raid) entered into final status negotiations and offered Palestinians an independent state, in 2000 and 2008 – offers which included painful Israeli compromises for the sake of peace.

The arguments offered by David, Shephard and Freedland on the political aftermath of Entebbe clearly do not hold up to critical scrutiny.

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35 replies »

  1. I have only one regret – no family members or any beloved one of Freedman was on the plane. When you write that their analysis don’t hold up to critical scrutiny then you make a very bad service to the truth. The truth, that Freedland is just a piece of Jew-hating shit masquerading as a commentator.

  2. I wish that there was a shred of truth in his analysis, but Israel is still very left of center to this day. The only thing that has convinced Israelis to move to the right as much as they have is the constant terrorism by Islamofascists that the leftist imported from Tunisia.

  3. Freedland is just an employee of the oh so righteous post Holocaust Europe.
    For Israelis, the referendum fight helps explain their unpopularity among European elites. If nationalism is primitive and infantile and dangerous, it is no wonder that Israel is criticized endlessly and its efforts to defend itself are seen as excessive. Its basic demand — to be understood and acknowledged as a Jewish state — is itself considered illicit; ethno-national states are out of the question these days. Defending your state with actual guns is positively medieval in the eyes of today’s European leaders.

  4. I remember reading about this same subject in a June 29, 2015 posting here at UKMW.
    Beyond the fact that the reviews tend to ignore David’s unsuccessful efforts to compliment the terrorists involved and downgrade the raid’s brilliant success, I noticed something else: in that posting, David included a comment from a “hostage” who offered a perfect JFJFP-level pile of diarrhea arguing that the rescue was bad because it lowered the chances for peace. I never thought this was an actual quote from an actual hostage and I wrote that down. Now this section doesn’t include the quote, and I’m very happy about that, whether David cut it or (more likely) the bankruptcy of this false PR was removed from any reporting by Adam L.

    • To answer your question, I believe that quote was in the postscript, but I didn’t include it.

  5. It’s all so simple. Agression is when Israelis defend themselves, peace is when they lie down and allow themselves to be killed.

    • That’s Socialism in a nutshell. May Socialism collapse like the EU and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Regimes.

        • A socialist calling others nuts? LOL!

          Socialism is “The Ideology of Peace” like Islam is “The Religion of Peace”. LOL!

          Do you think it’s a good idea to bring tens of thousands of Muslims into the US like Socialist Eurabia is doing?

      • That’s being stupid in a nutshell. Why should Socialism collapse and what has Socialism to do with the inhabitants of Israel other than that some Israelis are socialist and some are not.

  6. Usually these things begin with prejudicial assumptions and move from there to cherry picking facts to fit. Here they don’t even bother. They move from assumptions to assumption. They are backing up their opinions with their opinions. Very Chomsky-esque.

  7. We all know the most acceptable avenue towards peace in the Middle East is to kill all the Jews, and, naturally, defame every action they’ve ever done in order to survive.

    Many consider Munich Games Massacre in 1972 as the beginning of the third World War. We’re only fighting it still because, for the most part, our planet is full of brain dead fucks.

    • > for the most part, our planet is full of brain dead fucks.

      And they call themselves Socialists, Progressives, “Anti-War”.

            • Social? Like in SOCIALIST? What’s the deal with your love of Socialism?

              Were FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, forget dhimmi carter, BJ Clinton Democrats or Socialists???

              Stalin and his USSR (Soviet Socialist) were Socialists.
              Shiter and his National Socialists were Socialists.

              What kind of Socialist are you?

              • I’m the kind of Socialist who laughs at Drumpfsteins who think they’re sounding intelligent. So a Democratic Socialist with a sense of humor.

                McCarthy hated my type, and he died a loser.

                    • socialistnakba, Anyone who holds up Socialism as something to admire and emulate, is a moron. That makes YOU a moron. Why don’t you move in with Gerry? You two would make a great couple and you enjoy the wonders of Continental Eurabia.

                    • Crazy Eddie, aren’t you the one who is upset with the President and the vocal Liberal Media? Therefore, shouldn’t you move? Like, to Russia?

                      Speaking of Russia and Stalin, your overlords, the Koch brothers, got their money from Daddy Koch who had a chummy relationship with your Uncle Joe.

                      Crazy Eddie the Koch sucker. Hahaha…

                    • socialistnakba, The end of the nightmare of Socialist Obama is less than 8 month away. Are you leaving the US before or after Trump is sworn in? Where will you move to? Cuba? Venezuela? Eurabia? Russia? China? Turkey? Nicaragua?

                      Soros is lucky to have a bunch of Useful Idiots like you. Soros commands and Socialist twits like you obey.

                      No Terrorist attack is bloody enough to make you question your Socialist handlers. You are a dumb drone, incapable of seeing reality.

                      Dumb SocialsitNakba the Socialist sucker that even your Uncle Joe Stalin would laugh at..

                    • Crazy Eddie there is no need for you to move anywhere.
                      Mexico is coming to you!
                      Whether you elect the petulant and obnoxious Trump or not, are you going to be disappointed if Trump gets elected when he has to back-peddle on his BS about building a wall.

                    • Crazy socialistnakba, maybe you wouldn’t be so crazy if you weren’t such a Sore Ass Socialist Soros head?

                    • Soros Head vs Koch Head
                      Soros Sucker vs Koch Sucker

                      I get that imitation is the finest form of flattery, but I got to say, Crazy Eddie, you just don’t have the chops for comedy.

                    • Socialist Gerry, You’re for Democracy as long as the people vote for Socialism.

                      When the people vote AGAINST Socialsim and for Brexit , you whine like a little Socialist Bitch.

                      You are Fake, Phoney, Fraud. In other words a duplicitous Socialist.

                    • socialistnakba, Your Occupy Wallstreet slobs who claim to be against 1%ers NEVER went after Soros. Wonder why? Billionaire Soros buys them pizza?

  8. Well of course to the Guardian’s readership sweeping generalizations (if it somehow demonizes Israel) are more important than actual facts.

  9. A lot of people do not realize that Uganda was one of several countries that was at one time considered to become a Jewish Homeland and one of the reasons Idi Amin a ritualistic cannibal and mass murderer allowed the terrorists to bring their hostages to his country under his protection. Hardly a last minute act. The ease with which the Israelis penetrated Amin’s military was one of the reasons Mercenaries realized they could bring down the Amin regime without a great deal of cost.
    Entebbe remains a model for how to deal with hostage crisis across national borders.
    It certainly resulted in accelerating and pushing forward units like Delta and gave them a higher priority.
    This also occurred not that long after the Olympic hostage crisis turned into tragedy. Also German socialist commies aligned with Palestinian terrorists. When the West could still pretend many of the problems rooted in the Israeli Palestinian crisis was not rooted in Islam. And is still romanticized by the Obama “peaceniks” as Arab spring a romantic Cuban socialist revolution exciting new found memories of Che and the Castros. And all that has been was smoke for radical Islamic groups, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and others. Let’s see if the Guardian will be publishing at all in a Shariah Law State sometime in the near future.