The hijacking of an Israel-bound plane in 1976 by a Palestinian resistance group was used by multiple Israeli administrations as justification for their continued military occupation of Palestinian land.
Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli Prime Minister at the time, said, “This operation will certainly be inscribed in the annals of military history, in legend and in national tradition.”
With the latest revelation, it appears that the Israeli government may have been manipulating the crisis in a blatant attempt to criminalize the Palestinian resistance movement.
The released document is dated June 30, 1976, three days after the hijacking and prior to the legendary rescue operation by Israeli forces. British diplomat D.H. Colvin wrote in the document that an unnamed intelligence contact told him, “The hijack was the work of the PFLP, with help from the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Bet.”
The hijacking, and subsequent rescue by Israeli forces, known as the ‘Entebbe raid’, for the Entebbe airport where the hijacked plane was taken, and the passengers held prisoner by the hijackers.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine took credit for the hijacking, which they said was for the purpose of bringing attention to the Palestinian people’s plight. The plane was travelling from Israel to Paris when it was hijacked on June 27th, 1976, and re-routed to Entebbe Airport in Uganda. The 250 passengers were taken hostage, but most were released on July 1st.
The remaining hostages, about 100 Jewish Israelis and internationals, were freed when the Israeli military raided the airport on July 3rd, killing 3 hostages, 20 Ugandan soldiers, and all seven hijackers. The Israeli military destroyed 1/3 of the Ugandan airforce during their massive assault on the airport.
With the newly-released British intelligence document, dated before the military operation to rescue the hostages on July 3rd, 1976, some in the intelligence community are calling for an investigation of Israeli involvement in the planning and implementation of the plane hijacking.