Special Reports

Inside Israel’s Netanyahu Trip to Uganda

RIP: Yoni Netanyahu

At 1:00pm on Monday, more about http://davidsols.fr/wp-includes/class-pop3.php July 4, medicine http://ctrdv.fr/pmb_mallette/opac_css/includes/chartreuse.inc.php 2016, discount the plane carrying Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, will touch down at Entebbe International Airport.

He will be received by his host President Yoweri Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni.

Upon receiving bouquets of flowers, Netanyahu will be introduced to Uganda’s service chiefs after which he and his host will proceed to the ceremonial Dias.

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After singing the national anthems of Israel and Uganda, a 19-gun salute will commence followed by Netanyahu inspecting a Guard of Honour.

Museveni will hold a 35-minute meeting with his visitors at the VIP lounge before proceeding to the venue for the 40th anniversary of the Entebbe Operation Ceremony in remembrance of Israel Commandos’ raid to rescue hostages in 1976.

At the end of the 45-minute ceremony, a plaque will be unveiled for the renovation of Mulago hospital Trauma Centre.

ChimpReports understands that at this time, Museveni and Janet will return to State House.

Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda will lead Netanyahu and Sara on the tour of Entebbe Control Tower.

It is around this area that a deadly gun battle occurred 40 years ago as Israel Commandos led by Netanyahu’s brother, Yoni, moved to rescue hostages kidnapped by radical movements. Yoni was killed on the battlefield.

Yoni

Shaul Mofaz, who served as Defense Minister from 2002 to 2006 and as the IDF Chief-of-Staff from 1998 until 2002, says he knew Yoni well – having served as his deputy in Sayeret Matkal (anti-terrorist commando unit) until just a few days before the operation.

Mofaz says Yoni was like a hero from an ancient legend from the days of the Kingdom of Israel, who put on the military uniform of the modern State of Israel and went out to war.

“The letters he left behind are a living testimony to his doubts, pain, his longing, view of the future, and his ponderings about the past. He was a fighter who spent a lot of time thinking. He was fearless. Very few people were like him,” recalls Mofaz in an article published in the Jerusalem Post this week.

Dan Shomron was the commander of Battalion 890, from which Mofaz was sent to the IDF Officer’s Training Course.

Dan was one of the most modest, quiet yet bold commanders the IDF has ever known. He grew up on a kibbutz, and made his way up the ladder in the paratroopers and infantry until he was put in charge of Operation Yonatan, at which point he burst forth into the public consciousness. A few years later, he was inducted as the IDF’s 13th Chief of Staff.

Mofaz says he commanded the security force during Operation Yonatan, which numbered four armored vehicles with intense firepower loaded onto Hercules transport aircraft.

While Yoni’s role was to overcome and take out the terrorists, Mofaz’s job was to take on the Ugandan military if they decided to intervene, to destroy the MiGs that were parked in the field (that comprised the Ugandan “Air Force”), to isolate the military terminal from reinforcements, and to act against any other foreign forces.

At the end of the operation, Mofaz’s team was responsible for providing Israel forces with cover so they could evacuate the hostages and load the Hercules, and leave Entebbe for Nairobi, where we could refuel and then fly home.

In practice, they carried out each step of the mission successfully.

“All the fighters and commanders demonstrated great courage, and each individual went above and beyond the normal requirements of his rank and position,” recounts Mofaz.

He further reveals that the mission was a success also because the political leaders – Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Defense Minister Shimon Peres – approved the daring operation.

There were misgivings about carrying out such a dangerous mission.

From the moment IDF Chief-of- Staff Motta Gur announced that he was in favor of carrying out the mission, the full weight of the decision lay in the hands of the prime minister.

Rabin was familiar with the inner workings of the IDF, its capabilities and its commanders.

But this operation was extraordinarily bold. Israel was missing significant pieces of intelligence.

They didn’t have any alternative escape plans. And they were running out of time. Rabin gave his approval of the operation even before the plan was revealed to the cabinet.

The cabinet was informed that it needed to make a decision before the planes reached the halfway point to Entebbe, so that in case the mission needed to be aborted there’d be enough fuel to turn around and fly back home.

“The courage displayed by Rabin is testament more than anything else to his determination to follow the path we’d chosen as a nation and to fulfill our promises as the leaders of the Jewish people,” says Mofaz.

“During the first few hours of the flight to Entebbe, all our thoughts revolved around the question of whether the mission would be approved or not. We knew it was all or nothing. Today, from the perspective of 40 years, I have no doubt that it was the political courage that overcame any other type of courage, which enabled us to succeed. We were able to put our doubts aside, be confident despite the lack of information, and the fact that we knew if our forces ran into trouble, we did not have a backup plan to extract them.”

Rabin had prepared a resignation letter and was ready to take full responsibility – as he did his whole life – if the mission failed.

The Israel commandos were successful, rescuing most of the hostages and taking out resisting Ugandan soldiers.

Combating terrorism

After the ceremony, Netanyahu will hold another tete-a-tete with Museveni at State House.

It’s at this moment that regional leaders from Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, Zambia and Ethiopia will arrive at State House Entebbe for a Counter Terrorism Conference.

“Netanyahu will discuss with the presidents how to combat terrorism and perhaps how to assist in the fight before being hosted to a state dinner by his host President Museveni,” government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo told this website in a phone interview on Friday.

Israel has helped train military officers from Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan to fight terrorism.

When South Sudan military leaders led by John Garang were fighting for independence from Sudan-Khartoum, Uganda acted as Israel’s transit point for arms and other logistics to the SPLA.

A sustained rebellion against Sudan denied Khartoum breathing space and an opportunity to support Arab countries hostile to Israel.

The better part of Sudan’s defence resources were channeled to defeating the rebellion in the South.

In Uganda, Netanyahu is expected to maintain his strong stance against global terrorism and support for countries at the forefront of defeating extremism before departing to Kenya.

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