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Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem


Mossad Terrorism And Crimes Against Palestinians And Others In Europe And The Middle East

Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, Excerpts from Chapter Thirty Two



Excerpt from CHAPTER THIRTY TWO: A MASSACRE IN BEIRUT

On April 9, 1973 Mossad performed its most ambitious murders in cooperation with Military Intelligence and the Israeli paratroops. Stewart Steven recounts their murderous raid to kill Palestinians in central Beirut:

On April 6th, five men and one woman arrived at Beirut airport on separate flights from London, Rome and Paris. All of them had been to Beirut before, and, while they had been instructed to behave like ordinary tourists, they were to make sure that they knew the streets and beaches of the city as well as any local taxi driver.

No resident Mossad agents could be actively involved because of the risk of blowing their cover. In any case, their job had been done long before. The markers had been lain down for others to pick up. These markers led to Mohammed Yussuf El-Najjar, Kemal Adwan, Ali Hassan Salameh, Mohammed Boudia (visiting Beirut from Paris) ... The six Mossad agents - three travelling on British passports - rented cars from Hertz and Avis (Mercedes, Buicks, Plymouths and a Renault) on their American Express cards, inspected the four safe houses which had previously been rented for the raid, to be occupied by any member of the raiding party who for some reason had to be left behind, and then, in an ordinary commercial telegram sent from the Beirut central post office to an address in France, they confirmed that all was ready.

At 1.30 a.m. on the morning of April 9th. six rubber Zodiac landing craft, with their engines cut, wallowed into shore at Dove beach, a small out-of-the-way cove that visitors to the Beirut beaches came to to get away from the crowds. Two members of the advance party, a woman and a man behaving like a courting couple, signaled the boats in.

Apart from the crew, the boats carried thirty men all dressed in civilian clothes, many looking very "hippie" indeed. Mostly they were experienced paratroopers, with a sprinkling of officers from Military Intelligence. As the boats came in, the soldiers broke into units of five and piled into the large cars (previously hired by Mossad at the airport) which pulled up at the beach at intervals of three minutes, so that in fifteen minutes everyone had been taken care of. The Israelis were off to war in hired limousines.

The cars drove through the city's nightclub district and headed out to the inner ring of suburbs and an intersection of streets called Khaled Ben Al Walid and Rue 68. There were two main objectives as the cars stopped in the car park of an unfinished apartment block previously mapped out by the markers. The first was a seven-story building, standing between two others under construction, which was solely occupied by members of the PFLP, and the second was a three-story house on the Rue El Khartoum where Arafat's deputy Mohammed Yussuf El-Najjar and the No. 3 man in the PLO, Kamal Nasser, chief spokesman for the PLO, and Kemal Adwan, El-Najjar's deputy, were to be found.

All three men were in their apartments when the Israelis arrived. There was not much time for subtlety. The markers had done iheirjobs brilliantly, and the soldiers knew precisely where to go. The sentries at the doors of the building were killed instantly by a burst of machine gun fire. The men ran up to the second floor and simply shot off the locks of El-Najjar's door. He died instantly in a fusillade of machine gun bullets and Beretta slugs. As his children watched, his screaming wife, who tried to interpose herself between her husband and the assassins, was cut down, too, and fell across his body. A woman from the next apartment who heard the noise poked her nose out through her front door and met her death instantly.

Kamal Nasser was the next to go. He was writing a speech at his desk and was shot dead as the Israelis burst into his apartment, and Kemal Adwan was shot dead in his apartment doorway.

In the meantime, at street level, PLO soldiers, shooting wildly in all directions, were responding to the attacking forces, who were now holding their position in the foyer. One of the Mossad men now telephoned the police chief responsible for maintaining some semblance of order in the Palestinian community and reported that the Palestinians were fighting among themselves, and that a lot of people were getting hurt. He knew what the reaction would be. The police chief, with a shrug, called off the Lebanese policemen from the local station who had got momentarily involved. If the Palestinians wanted to kill themselves, then why should the Lebanese be involved?

An area around the first building was now secure for Israeli doctors to tend to the wounded, while demolition men began laying their charges against the building. Inside, four Mossad experts were going through the papers in the safes of all three men they had killed and sorting out those files which would be useful. They had exactly half an hour before the building in which they were working was due to be blown up.

At the second building, a battle was raging, but it appeared to be terribly one-sided. There was something almost obscene in the way the Arabs were being mowed down. The PLO was using the elevators to reach street level in order to engage the enemy. As each elevator reached street level, the attacking force killed all the occupants, pulled out the bodies, and sent the cars up again for the next batch.

Eventually, that building, too, was secure, and, after a fast sweep of safes and the like for documents, the demolition charges were placed in position and then set off. Slowly at first, and then with a sickening momentum, the building began to disintegrate on its foundations, killing a great many people trapped inside. There was still more work for the paratroopers. Leaving this area they sped north to a group of warehouses where the Palestinians stored their arms and equipment. After a brief gun battle this, too, was blown up.

With the raid now into the first hour, the Mossad team broke radio silence and called in helicopters stationed offshore to help lift off the wounded. Simultaneously, Beirut's police chief received a telephone call, ostensibly from the Lebanese Army, saying that they were putting helicopters in the air to pinpoint the center of the trouble, while Beirut's coastal command received similar telephone calls supposedly from the police advising that they were putting helicopters in the air for the same reason. Such was the incredible confusion that no one bothered to check with anyone else. Surprise had been total.

Two of the attacking forces had been killed and one seriously wounded. Only one of the original Mossad men had been hurt - his hand crushed by a car door. In just over two hours, it was all over.

The commando force, accompanied this time by the six Mossad agents, left the way they had come, by boat.

Back in Beirut, all that the Lebanese authorities found were the cars neatly parked on the promenade with the keys in the ignition. (The rental bills were subsequently paid through American Express.) More than a hundred Palestinians lost their lives in the action. Of the main targets, only Mohammed Boudia and Ali Hassan Salameh were still alive; by chance they were out of Beirut when the Israelis struck.

In one comparatively minor detail, the raid was not a total success. The Israelis had hoped to deny any involvement at all and had prepared a cover to make it impossible for anyone ever to have got at the real truth. The Israelis hoped it would appear that the battle had been fought out between rival groups of Palestinians jockeying for supremacy. But the fact that the helicopters had had to be called in, made that impossible. The following morning, Israeli chief of staff General David Elazar told journalists: "Israel will not play by the rules of limited warfare. You can't win a war by defense. If we cannot prevent war, we will bring about a quick and decisive victory as we have in the past." (38)

Among the murderers in this massacre jointly perpetrated by Mossad, Military Intelligence and Israeli paratroopers was Yonathan Nethanyahu, the brother of former Israeli U.N. Representative Benjamin Nethanyahu who became Deputy Foreign Minister in 1989. Just as Yonathan Nethanyahu, known as Yoni, was "one of the men who had killed Kemal Adwan" (39) in Beirut, so his younger brother Benjamin, known as Bibi, murdered defenseless Arab women and children, blowing up their houses over their heads, on numerous Israeli paratrooper raids.

Thus Mohammad Yussuf El Najjar, Kemal Adwan, Kemal Nasser and other leaders of the PLO were coldbloodedly murdered along with over a hundred other Palestinians and Lebanese, including women and children.

If Palestinians blew up two or three buildings in Tel Aviv and a hundred Jews were killed, the whole world would be in an uproar against those "Palestinian terrorists." The U.S. Congress and Administration would send condolences to the Israeli government and would condemn the perpetrators in the ugliest possible terms.

Excerpt from CHAPTER THIRTY TWO: KIDNAPPING AND TAKING HOSTAGES

The Mossad, Military Intelligence and Shin Beth have cooperated in the plans to kidnap and take thousands of Palestinians hostage since 1967. More than 300,000 Palestinians were kidnapped from their homes and incarcerated in Israeli jails or concentration camps without trials. In 1989 there are more than 10,000 Palestinian men, women and children incarcerated in Israeli prisons or concentration camps. Between 1978 and 1982 Israeli forces kidnapped and held hostage more than 3,000 Lebanese and Palestinians from Lebanon. They were exchanged for Israeli prisoners-ofwar in 1979 and 1983.

In July 1989 there are more than 300 Lebanese Shi'ites who were taken as hostages and imprisoned in Israel. The latest kidnapping by Mossad and Military Intelligence took place on July 28, 1989, when Israeli forces kidnapped Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid in the village of Jibchit, "about 20 miles north of the border and north of Israel's self-designated security zone in Southern Lebanon ... Israeli commandos landed in a valley just outside of the village after 1 a.m., and then they crept to the Sheik's apartment ... Israeli fighter planes flew overhead in a mock air raid to mask the noise of the helicopters ... An Arabic-speaking Israeli commando knocked on Sheik Obeid's door, and someone from the family opened it. Pointing pistols, the Israelis quickly seized Sheik Obeid and two others identified as Ahmed Obeid, his cousin, and Ashem Fahs, a friend.

"The Lebanese radio reported that Saged, one of Obeid's five children, said, 'They stormed our house and pointed a gun at me and my mother and tied us up. Then they blindfolded my father and the two others and took them away.'

"The Sheik's wife was tied up, and her mouth was taped shut. She and the children were locked in separate rooms...

"On the way out, though, a neighbor opened his door to see what was going on, and the Israelis shot him...." (73)

Thus the Israelis murdered in cold blood a bystander who was not a supporter of the Sheikh but of a rival faction. Such a wanton killing of a bystmder is a pervasive part of the pattern of Israeli intelligence operations.

President George Bush promptly criticized the kidnapping, saying: ''I don't think kidnapping and violence helps the cause of peace." (74)

Senator Robert Dole, leader of the Republicms in the Senate, stated:

"Perhaps a little more responsibility on the part of the Israelis would be refreshing." (75)

When confronted with Dole's remarks, White House spokesmn Marlin Fitzwater stated: '$1 think it's fair to say that many people do share the Senator's concerns." (76)

The Christian Science Monitor commented on the kidnapping of Sheikh Obeid in its editorial of August 3, 1989:

But what purpose did this latest action by Israel serve, aside from eye-for-an-eye retaliation? The wrong-headedness of that move was only compounded by the offer to negotiate with hostage-takers.

It makes no difference whether the marine officer in fact was still alive this week. The question remains: What good did it do to grab Sheik Obeid, the Shi'ite cleric, even if he was tied to the Higgins kidnapping? What was gained?

A cynic would say it was to draw the United States back closer to Israel at a time when Washington is tentatively fashioning a more even-handed Mideast policy that includes talking to Palestinian leaders and telling Israel straight out to "give up the dream of a greater Israel." The reaction has only been a violent attempt by radical Arabs and Iranians to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Israel. Was that an anticipated diversion (anticipated by Israel, that is) from U.S. diplomatic efforts? (77)

U.S. Marine Corps Colonel William Higgins, who was held as a hostage by Lebanese Shi'iies, was reportedly murdered as a consequence of the Israeli kidnapping of Sheikh Obeid. Uri Dan, a Mossad agent, reported in the New York Post on August 3, 1989:


Israeli officials realized Lt. Col. WIlliam Higgins and other western hostages might be endangered when they ordered the abduction of a top Shi'ite leader, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin revealed last night.

But he insisted Israel had no viable alternative to break stalemated secret negotiations to free its own soldiers held captive in Lebanon.

Pro-Iranian Shi'ite terrorists claimed Monday they killed the American Marine in retaliation for the kidnapping of Sheik Abdul Karim Obeid.

Rabin's remarks were the first here indicating that Israel weighed the possible effect the Sheik's abduction might have on Higgins. "Before kidnapping the Sheik, we took into consideration the wildest possible reactions of the Hezbollah, including what allegedly happened to Lt. CoI. Higgins and even worse," Rabin told the Knesset.'' (78)

 





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