Top: ‘President Amin shakes hands with the commandant of Entebbe Airport, Mr Kalembe, at Entebbe Airport before he commissioned the new runway.’
Bottom ‘General Amin and the crowd stand for the National Anthem shortly after the President arrived to commission the new runway.’
Fellow citizens, fellow Africans.
First I would like to thank God Almighty for this opportunity to write about this difficult issue.
As the 40th anniversary of the famous Entebbe raid is being comemmorated, Ugandans are confused about the event.
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to be in Uganda to remember his fallen elder brother who perished in Entebbe.
But with the event has come all sorts of stories about the original incident.
Interestingly all of them point at writing the raid in a manner that puts Israel as the injured hero while demonizing Field Marshal Idi Amin and also ignoring what caused the incident to occur in the first place: The plight of the Palestinians that is today being recognized by the entire international community as an illegal occupation, mistreatment, confinement, land grabbing and indiscriminate bombardment of palestinians including their women and toddlers by an ever more murderous Israeli army.
Let me warn our African youths that politics especially in the international arena, is a sad doctored game.
The western media has done such a good job in manipulating history that todays African can be found celebrating Israeli action’s.
And even when Israel mistreats African refugees, and discriminates against black jews, todays African Union has it’s mouth zipped shut and fails to write even a simple protest note.
In the days following the raid on Entebbe, the entire African continent rose to condemn the attack.
All the African Union member countries (known then as the Organization of African Unity) immediately issued a strong condemnation, and each African president sent their condolences for the soldiers who were killed.
That was the African outrage back then. And that is what the western media has managed to progressively change.
I noticed that there were several telling aspects about the hijacking and the subsequent raid that are also mysteriously missing from their narrative.
So let me try to set the record straight today.
When the plane had just been hijacked after taking off from Athen’s and heading to Paris, all Arab countries had refused the hijackers permission to land on their respective territories.
When Amin narrated to us those events, he mentioned that the Palestinian’s initial intention had been to fly to an arab country.
Uganda had not been anywhere in their plans.
All the Arabs reportedly feared that it was a fake hijacking organized by Israel to get to the Palestinian government and then send a military operation to destroy it and probably kill Yasser Arafat as well.
On June 01 2007, Israels Haaretz newspaper reported this claim saying: “Newly released British documents contain a claim by an unnamed contact that Israel’s Shin Bet security service collaborated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to hijack the June 1976 flight from Israel that was diverted to Entebbe, Uganda.”
The report had been first aired by the BBC just a few days earlier.
That was what allegedly made the Arabs refuse the plane any landing permission in any Arab country.
It is only then that President Amin was contacted to solve the situation.
The dilemma he found was that the French Airbus would soon crash in the Mediterranean sea killing all passengers.
It was remaining with hardly 30 minutes fuel as it circled above the sea waiting for landing permission.
President Amin then had to first had ask Libya’s Col. Ghaddafi to approve the planes refuelling in so that it could make the 3 hour flight to Uganda.
That intervention probably saved all the hostages and crew from n.imminent plane disaster at sea.
When they finally arrived in Entebbe, the hijackers first refused to anyone to board the plane or anyone to leave.
The plane remained on the tarmac with all the passengers, the crew, and the hijackers for hours.
Idi Amin himself came to the airport and communicated to the hijackers from the control tower. He then managed to convince them to come outvof the plane and move into the old airport lounge which was now the airforce base.
He had to promise them that he would initiate their negotiations with Israeli authoritie, some of whom he knew personally when Israeli’s were training the Ugandan army until 1972 when Amin expelled them with the British.
‘President Amin speaking at the commissioning of the new 10,000-ft runway at Entebbe last Monday.’
Idi Amin is the one who then ensured the hostages comfort and nourishment.
Being a serious security situation on Ugandan soil, he therefore stationed Uganda army soldiers outside the hostage crisis perimeter.
That also kept the situation inside the building in check as he didn’t want the international crisis to enter the country beyond the airport lounge.
He had hopes that the problem would go away peacefully.
Had Amin taken sides, the hostages would have probably been taken to Uganda’s Luzira maximum prison or possibly to the much dreaded State Research bureau where chances for an escape would be almost zero.
Muki ‘Moshe’ Betser, deputy commander of the Sayeret Matkal unit that led Entebbe assault, had trained Ugandan soldiers before Amin expelled the British, and the Israeli’s in 1972.
Talking about Ugandan soldiers in a recent interview with Haaretz newspaper he remarked that “When they are in THEIR wars, they fight like lions. But if it’s not their war, they can be quite indifferent.”
That was the Ugandan public opinion at the time as well on.the crisis: It wasn’t our war. And it is for the same reason that Amin kept the issue at the airport. He then worked hard to get a quick conclusion to a crisis that even him didn’t want.
That is the reality that Israeli politics doesn’t want known because in order for the Israeli action in Entebbe to be considered acceptable under international law, they had to make the false claim that Amin colluded with the hijackers.
Field Marshal Idi Amin is the one who established contact with his old Israeli acquaintances particularly Col. Barlev.
It is then that direct negotiations started between the Palestinians and the Israeli”s.
In a Voice of Uganda report, President Idi Amin clearly stated: “It was not my intention to accept them to land with the hostages in Uganda. I accepted them purely on humanitarian grounds. The hostages were even made quite comfortable. This has never happened anywhere else.”
Meanwhile, Amin would always come and chat with the hostages almost on a daily basis as he was trying to calm their fears and update them about developments.
One thing he made clear to them, the African Union, and the international community from the very beginning, was that this was a crisis between Israel and Palestinians. Not Uganda.
That is what Israel doesn’t want known.
Amin limited Uganda’s role to:
1 – Connecting the two sides to negotiate.
2 – and providing for the hostages immediate needs.
Let it also be clear that Amin’s daily visits and personal concern is what ensured that the hostages were not mistreated by their captors.
The palestinian’s feared how he might react given Amin’s courteous, casual and personal approach in his interaction’s with the hostages.
Even a deadline by the hijackers was a non-starter because then they risked antagonizing themselves directly with the much feared Amin from within his country. They knew that the Ugandan president didn’t want any further escalation or more problems happening on Ugandan soil.
He had insisted on humane treatment and provided the hostages with clean beddings and food that was brought directly from the nearby Lake Victoria Hotel, a popular 4 star government owned tourist hotel.
In fact it is Amin who managed to get the first half of hostages freed after only three days. The Palestinians had insisted that in exchange, they be allowed to bring in 4 more comrades.
Amin obliged for the sake of getting hostages freed and a quick ending.
Has anyone ever heard any recognition from Israel for that important development?
The French government did at least say thank you officially. And one french citizen even wrote to Amin a genuine ‘thank you’ letter.
20-year-old student, Miss Louise Kauvitis was one of the passengers on the hijacked airbus. She wrote: “I am deeply indebted to you for my wellbeing. If not for you, I feel I would not have survived the dramatic experience of the hijack… I hope you will regard this letter as my personal thanks. You are a great man and I am again deeply grateful to you for my being back home in Canada.”
The former french hostage honestly knew that without Amin, the crisis might have had a completely different and disastrous outcome for the hostages from the very beginning and particularly during their stay in Entebbe.
It must have been quite an experience to hear all that the international press was saying about Idi Amin, and then you finally meet the man and find him doing everything possible to make you comfortable, and most importantly trying his level best to ensure that you return home safely.
That was the reality at the time, and both the french authorities and the Israeli’s know this.
If the media was honest, they would for examplr have interviewed the French pilot, inquiring about the initial destination of the hijackers, how all arab countries refused them permission to land, how the plane came to be diverted to Entebbe, and how that was the miracle that saved them from a sure air disaster.
However by the time the crisis was over, Amin had been attacked, his soldiers killed, his jet fighter planes blown, and some people were now celebrating victory over him instead.
This is a good case study about mass manipulation and engineered news politics.
In regards to Entebbe, it must be noted that the British and the Israeli’s were already disgruntled because Amin had expelled them from Uganda 4 years earlier for exploiting the country’s economy and it’s resources.
So the Entebbe event was an opportunity to fight Amin even when he clearly wasn’t fighting them.
As the movie about the Entebbe raid was being made, the Israeli soldier who took over the operation after their commander was shot, was astonished at the inaccuracies.
He then reportedly told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper: “The only thing they got right is the scene of the Mercedes disembarking from the plane.”
When he thought about informing the movie crew about the inaccuracies, the producer one Golan, responded with a reassuring pat on the shoulder and reportedly said: “I’m going to create for you guys an Entebbe you could never have even dreamed of.”
The media in conjunction with the entertainment industry have basically created the public narrative that certain people want the world to have in order to legitimize themselves on stolen Palestinian land.
The information that public opinion reads concerning the Entebbe incident, makes it seem as if Amin was a hostage taker.
They are intentionally silent about any assistance he might have made to the Israeli hostages during that difficult time, and the sacrifices he had to make to satisfy the palestinians wishes.
I have pasted below the most pragmatic article I’ve ever come across about the Entebbe raid. It includes actual quotes from the Voice of Uganda.
Reading through it, one can see the true neutral role that Amin tried to maintain even with his known links to both Israel and the Palestinians.
It also includes the strong condemnation of the attack by the entire African Union.
In a press statement at the time, UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim considered it a “serious violation of the sovereignty of a State Member of the United Nations. An act of direct, flagrant aggression and an outright violation of the Charter, especially of Article 2, paragraph 4, which states: ‘All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.'”
Kenyan government support for the attack was yet another stab in the back from a fellow East African nation. Their evasive response when asked by the African Union about their involvement says it all about who was guilty. Kenya basically feigned knowledge of the attack when asked by fellow Africans.
(see them also in article link below).
One will also find Amin’s direct request to Israel that they compensate Uganda for the soldiers killed and the military equipment destroyed. He did this because he had been helping resolve THEIR crisis.
Even if Israel claims it had to intervene to save it’s people, Amin offered them a means to make amends by at least paying compensation for the Ugandan losses they caused.
The response he got was pure arrogance from the Israeli side. They decided to mock Amin instead.
Worse still, in an unscrupulous effort to justify their illegal action, they started the claim that Amin was an accomplice to the hijacking.
Idi Amin supported the Palestinian cause. A legitimate grievance as is being recognized by the entire international community today.
And the reason for the Entrbve crisis was that the Palestinians wanted their people freed. Their country as well.
But from the very beginning Amin had been dragged into this incident. And that is the reason why he was completely caught off guard by the assault.
He was genuinely trying his best to end the crisis peacefully and hoping to be there to see the hostages off to their original destination.
A position that he had endeavoured to explain to the African Union summit in Mauritius, and to the continent’s people at large.
And despite everything that Amin did to save the situation, they decided to carry ridicule him and shout victory over him after the raid.
The Ugandan soldier who shot Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s brother at Entebbe was Captain Rafael as we ordinarily called him. I never got to know his family name.
Contrary to what is portrayed in the movies, he shot the Israeli commander dead with one shot from his service pistol and not a sniper rifle.
Capt. Rafael was also the commander of the Ugandan soldiers guarding the hostage perimeter.
So it was literally a cowboy style face-to-face draw between the two commanders when the Israeli’s entered the building.
Captain Rafael was faster.
He was also an Israeli trained commando, the batch that had received extra paratrooper training in Greece. He then did some commando maneouvres that enabled him to literally dodge Israeli fire before jumping from the first floor balcony and escaping with Israeli’s still trying to shoot him.
He died of natural causes around 1995, and it is in his hometown of Tororo, Eastern Uganda where he was quietly laid to rest.
However in 1976 right after the burial ceremonies for the Ugandan soldiers who had died during the Entebbe incident, President Idi Amin awarded Captain Rafael with Uganda’s military cross medal.
That one clean shot which killed the Israeli commander Colonel Yonathan Netanyahu is literally the shot that saved Uganda’s honour, if not the whole of Africa’s at the time.
As an African, wouldn’t it be befitting that I lay a wreath at Captain Rafael’s grave every 4th of July?
But Uganda needs to get out of Israel’s politics where they are now inviting us to the raid’s celebrations.
There is no bigger sign of political ignorance and ideological bankruptcy than seeing a Ugandan or an African celebrating what Israeli’s did.
We here people make perfect speeches about standing shoulder to shoulder to fight terrorism. Yet we also hear that they are the same people sponsoring, arming and training groups like ISIS. We hear that they are the people plundering Africa’s minerals. We hear that they are the people providing backdoor weapons that fuel conflict in Africa. We hear that they are the people who are deporting so-called undesirable African refugees from their country to Uganda of all places.
We cannot hangout indefinitely with someone without at least inquiring what should be done so that there is peace in their neighbourhood.
The whole world today is recognizing the Palestinian state. Including the vatican last year.
Belgiu, Ireland and France are in the process of doing so, while the British parliament already voted a bill in that direction.
So why don’t Israeli’s use the travel funds and the time at the Entebbe event to sign the long-awaited peace deal with Palestinians instead.
That way maybe even the palestinians could join them in Entebbe one day to remember the conflict, and both sides could then together declare “never again”.
Let’s put aside religion for a quick second.
Nobody on this planet would like what is happening to Palestinians to happen to them.
All those claiming to value human rights yet expressly approving inhumane behaviour and the suffering it continues to cause, are the purest oppressors.
Some of them can be found complaining about far lesser infringements of their rights by their own governments, but will support untold horrors on Palestinians. How does the dictionary define such persons?
There are about 77 different UN resolutions against Israeli’s over the years. These involve unlawful attacks on its neighbors; its violations of the human rights of the Palestinians, including deportations, demolitions of homes and other devastating collective punishments; its confiscation of Palestinian land; its establishment of illegal settlements; and its refusal to abide by the UN Charter and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War.
In comparison there is only one resolution against Palestine; Resolution 1435 calls on the Palestinian Authority to “meet its expressed commitment to ensure that those responsible for terrorist acts are brought to justice by it”.
So if we look closer into the issue, we realize that it is all the continuous illegal actions by Israeli’s as mentioned above that are causing the resistance action mentioned in the one resolution against palestinians.
Yet the so-called Two-State solution was already contained in a UN resolution 70 years ago.
On November 29th 1947,
Resolution 181 already recommended the partition of the British Mandate for Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, and the City of Jerusalem.
Where is that partition engineered by the British, and so, which side exactly is the problem here?
It is worth noting that even this resolution was achieved without any consultation with the palestinian people.
The same thing happened when Britain first agreed to the Balfour declaration with the zionist movement back in November 1917.
There is one country, Britain that has created the mess in Palestine that continues to this day.
They have since quietly “Brexited” from shouldering their responsibility in the Isreaeli-Palestinian conflict, yet they are the direct cause for the war, the countless dead, and the countless more refugees and displaced palestinians.
We should also note that it was in 1987 that the Palestinians under Yasser Arafat finally agreed to the forced partition of their land, and also agreed to renounce terrorism. But surprisingly Israel turned around and immediately rejected that Palestinian agreement. That is basically the situation that prevails to this day.
It seems that Israel now wants terrorism to continue so that they can use the excuse to bombard the Palestinians and grab their land until they take the whole territory for themselves.
Mr. Benyamin Netanyahu and his new Defence Minister are people who have publicly stated that there will never be a Two-state solution.
But that is quite worrying if one thinks about what they’ll have to do to palestinian families in order for there to be only Israel.
It would be nothing less than genocide comparable to the holocaust.
What bombardment and mass terror will they have to instill in Palestinian populations so that they flee from their own land?
That is why such statements and the people who have said them have to be strongly condemned by all the countries, the people, and the international institutions that said “Never again” after the Rwanda genocide.
Let me remind Africans what Nelson Mandela said: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
It is for that reason that a couple of months ago, the Nelson Manuel Foundation and the people of South Africa sent a 6 metre tall Madiba statue that stand today in Palestine.
It was a definite show of solidarity that all Africans and all right thinking people across the world should emulate.
Last Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon finished his farewell trip to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
He used the occasion to urge some political will for a two-state solution as “the only way to meet the national aspirations of both peoples.”
On the Israeli blockade of Gaza, he said: “It suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impedes reconstruction efforts. It is collective punishment for which there must be accountability.”
The UN chief also expressed understanding for Palestinian frustration saying: “I’m aware that many Palestinians question the feasibility of reaching a just and lasting peace with Israel. They hear talk of peace but they see violence. They still live a life of checkpoints, permits, blockade, demolitions and profound economic hardships faced with growing indignities and the humiliating occupation that will soon enter its 50th year.”
Remember Gaza has been strangled by a tight blockade and its residents have witnessed three major Israeli offensives.
In 2014, more Palestinians were killed by Israel than in any other year since 1967. Violence and fatalities were at their highest since 2007.
Following the most recent Israeli war against Gaza in 2014, a UN inquiry found that Israel was responsible for striking seven official sites used by the organisation as civilian shelters.
Concerning children killed in the war, the UN Secretary General said: “I met so many of the beautiful children of Gaza. More than 500 were killed in the fighting. Many more were wounded. What did they do wrong? Being born in Gaza is not a crime.”
The number of Palestinian children killed during the 2014 war led to efforts to include the Israel Defence Forces on a UN list of serious violators of children’s rights.
As the two-year anniversary of the beginning of the 2014 Gaza war draws near, most of the 11,000 homes destroyed and 6,800 severely damaged or rendered uninhabitable remain in ruins, largely as a result of the Israeli-led blockade.
Is Mr. Netanyahu going to catch a bus to go and comemmorate that anniversary that is just a few kilometres from his home?
Meanwhile, I cannot visualize that a morally upright entity can be the target of 77 UN resolution’s for the last 70 years and still can’t abide by a single one of them.
If it was an African state I imagine the western outrage at the “unbecoming behaviour” by a pariah.
No country has reached that level of international lawlessness, flouted that many resolutions.
Neither Saddam Hussein, nor Ghaddafi, not even Polpot reached those numbers in contravention of international law.
Though I desire global stability and the predictability that Mrs Hillary Clinton represents the most between the two candidates for the next US presidency, maybe what is needed is an independent radical like Mr. Donald Trump who can break a defunct world order that happens to still be in place, and which is now increasingly perpetuating mediocrity and intentional stagnation on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
May the souls of all who died on that day rest in eternal peace.
For God and My Country.
Signed: Hussein Lumumba Amin
(Article “The Political Fallout From Entebbe Raid”: theeastafrican.co.ke/magazine/-/434746/619406/-/view/printVersion/-/1425iw1/-/index.html)