This version of the famous Israeli rescue of hostages from the hijacked Air France plane should be known for its hard-left slant and its glaring omissions. Written by Gregory Burke and directed by Jose Padilha, its main purpose is to humanize the hijackers and to trace all of Israel’s current problems to ITS failure to negotiate with peace-loving, occupied Palestinians. Here are some of the facts this movie does not contain.
Palestinians began the practice of hijacking planes in 1968 and were the leading perpetrators of this particular form of torture, managing one a month in 1972. The Entebbe event of 1976 was organized by a founding member of the German Revolutionary Cells (RZ) and his female accomplice together with two Palestinian drop-outs from Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Though they appear in the film, we are not given any background into the virulence of these movements. Rather, the German Bose (played by Daniel Bruhl) is seen as a humanitarian who stands up for women and children. His accomplice (Rosamund Pike) is a garden-variety nut bag compelled to save Palestinians who are described by one of the hijackers as the people who were treated just like the Jews in the holocaust once those Nazi-like Jewish survivors came to Palestine to steal land and occupy it Of course many Jews had already emigrated in the 19th century fleeing European pogroms and some had drifted back after much earlier expulsions of Jews from several European countries. Many “Palestinians” were actually Arabs from Syria and other parts of the middle-east who migrated after the Jews began draining the malaria-infested swamps and creating jobs and better living conditions for unskilled labor.
We see Prime Minister Rabin (Lior Ashkenazi) urging that Israel negotiate with the hijackers and Idi Amin who was complicit with them from the beginning. Left out of the picture are the attempts at negotiation made by Egypt’s Sadat as well as by Arafat whose emissary to Uganda was refused access. In Rabin’s cabinet meetings there are prominent displays of men wearing yarmulkes, insinuating that the religious right was a major factor in the vote to use military force. This is amplified by the inter-cutting throughout the movie of the Bat Sheva company performing one of its most famous dances (also featured in Footnote) where Jews wearing Orthodox attire sing a popular Passover song as they disrobe with propulsive movements until all their outerware is in a heap on the floor. For today’s audience the Orthodox Israelis are the denizens of the West Bank who are the intransigent obstacles to peace in the Middle East. Never mind the internecine convulsions in the Muslim world that have decimated Syria and wreaked havoc in Gaza, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and a good part of Africa.
Some other specific incidents that had occurred before Entebbe and argued against success through negotiation were the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics and the 1974 slaughter in Maalot of 25 hostages - 22 of whom were children. In 1972, Benjamin Netanyahu himself was wounded during a successful rescue of hostages from a Sabena airplane hijacked by the Black September movement.
After the rescue at Entebbe, Idi Amin ordered the killing of hundreds of Kenyans as retaliation for Kenya allowing Israel air and refueling rights while en-route to Uganda. Thousands more Kenyans fled Uganda in fear for their lives. A few years later, the Jewish owned Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi was bombed by pro-Palestinian terrorists, killing 20 and wounding 87.
At the end of the movie, we see the crawl that precedes the credits tying Rabin’s assassination to his being the leader who wanted to negotiate, as opposed to the current administration. The final tag-line is that at present, there are no peace negotiations on the table. There is no mention of the two intifadas initiated by the Palestinians, one after the Oslo Accord, or the one after Israel returned Gaza along with its profitable nurseries left intact for Palestinian use. They were instantly destroyed by Hamas while Palestinians continue to be supported by the international community - the only group in the world considered “refugees” after 70 years.
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