A chartered EL AL plane with over 250 Israeli tourists landed Wednesday at the old Entebbe airport in Uganda, for the first time since 1976.
According to the Uganda tourism board’s executive director Stephen Asiimwe, the historic visit comes after negotiations with officials of the Israeli national airline to begin regular flights to Entebbe.
“There have been talks in Israel to have direct flights to Uganda and this particular one landed at the old airport. This is a visit that will attract more people from Israel and also the rest of the world,” he said.
On June 27th, an Air France aircraft was hijacked by so-called Palestinian and German terrorists. The hijackers landed the plane at Benghazi, Libya and flew it from there to Entebbe in Uganda, where all non-Jewish passengers were freed. Israel had tried to develop a dialogue with Ugandan President Idi Amin, who collaborated with the terrorists. Simultaneously, preparations began for a military operation, based on intelligence regarding the situation in the Entebbe Airport.
Following the Government’s decision to go forward with the plan, four transport aircraft took off from Sharm el-Sheikh en route to Entebbe. The raid on the airport resulted in five Israeli casualties: IDF officer Yonatan (Yoni) Netanyahu (brother of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu); Dora Bloch, an elderly woman hospitalized during the raid and murdered after the raid (her remains were returned to Israel in June 1979); Ida Borochovitch, Jean Jacques Maimoni, and Pasko Cohen were killed during the Operation.
The operation was congruent with Israel’s policy not to negotiate with terrorists, whatever risks are at stake.