Uganda’s collusion with the hijackers of the Air France air bus has been given by Israel as one of the main reasons for its dramatic rescue of the Jewish hostages and the French crew from Entebbe Airport.
The extent of this collaboration can be gauged from the following selection of news broadcasts in English on Kampala Radio after the aircraft landed at Entebbe. It is taken from monitoring reports supplied by the British Broadcasting Corporation and has been compiled by this correspondent.
June 29: Announcement: “We now bring you the special announcement you have been waiting for. The following are the demands of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” (The radio reads out a six-point statement by the PFLP.)
URGES RELEASE OF RETURNED TERRORISTS
June 30: Announcement: “The PFLP hijackers have told President (Idi) Amin that they will blow up the plane and all the remaining hostages if their demands are not met by the countries concerned by tomorrow noon….On receiving this message, President Amin has appealed to Israel and all the other countries concerned, including the French government, to save the lives of the hostages by answering the demands of the hijackers immediately.”
“Addressing the hostages, President Amin advised them that if they are ever released they should tell their respective governments not to stall the problem of the Palestine people. He told them that the Palestinians are ready to live together with the Jews and Christians in Palestine….
“Marshal Amin told the Israeli hostages to advise their government to solve the Palestine problems. He advised them to take chance of the offer Yasir Arafat has given that the Palestinians are ready to live together with Jews and Christians in Palestine.
“President Amin has had a telephone conversation with Colonel (Baruch) Barlev, an Israeli soldier who telephoned the President from his home in Israel….He told Colonel Barlev to urge his government to accept and declare immediately, through the French government, the demands of the PFLP….He said he was prepared to stop the PFLP from taking any other action if Colonel Barlev could urge his government to accept their demands immediately….
“The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has stated that President (Jomo) Kenyatta (of Kenya) and his government are responsible for the five Palestinians arrested by the Kenya government on 28th January this year….The Kenya government must show the whereabouts of the five Palestinians before 0900 tomorrow.”
SEPARATION OF ISRAELIS FROM OTHERS
July 1: “The PFLP has accepted the President’s request to release other nationals, who are numbering 100, except those who have double nationalities and Israeli nationals, the crew and plane. The PFLP also accepted the President’s request to extend the deadline to 11 a.m. GMT on Sunday; 4th July. President Amin thanks the PFLP very much for the extension of the deadline. The PFLP is still asking for the release of the freedom fighters from other countries, for whom Israel is also held responsible.”
“The following is another important PFLP communique….: We will take all steps that we deem necessary and required for the successful implementation of our political and military plans. Masses of the Arab nation, the PFLP insists on continuation of its military and political program in striking the enemy until the complete liberation of our Palestine land and until our people return to their homes under an Arab democratic state.”
AMIN ASSURES THE OAU
July 2: President Amin, addressing the summit of the Organization of African Unity in Mauritius: “The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine told me to inform this assembly that they support the struggle of Africa. They support all of you, the liberation movements…. It was not my intention that the PFLP should bring the hostages to Uganda, but I accepted to land there for humanitarian grounds….I would like to request all of you to appeal to Israel and all those countries who have got the demand of the PFLP, to release the people they want to see in Uganda.”
July 5: PFLP communique: “The PFLP declares that the Palestinians’ blood that has mixed with the Ugandans’ blood on the soil of Uganda, has resulted in forming an internal bond in the struggle of our two nations against imperialism, world Zionism, racism and reaction.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.