This week marked the 42nd anniversary of the operation in which 103 hostages were rescued from Entebbe airport by the IDF – Operation Yonatan.
Over the years the BBC has produced numerous reports relating to that event but one in particular – which is still available online – stands out.
On June 6th 2007 the BBC News website found fit to publish a report by Dan Parkinson titled “Israel hijack role ‘was queried’” in which BBC audiences were told that:
“It has been seen as a daring raid by crack Israeli troops to rescue dozens of their countrymen held at the mercy of hijackers.
But newly released documents contain a claim that the 1976 rescue of hostages, kidnapped on an Air France flight and held in Entebbe in Uganda, was not all it seemed.
A UK government file on the crisis, released from the National Archives, contains a claim that Israel itself was behind the hijacking.
An unnamed contact from the Euro-Arab Parliamentary Association told a British diplomat in Paris that the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Bet, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) collaborated to seize the plane. […]
In the document, written on 30 June 1976 when the crisis was still unresolved, DH Colvin of the Paris Embassy writes of his Euro-Arab Parliamentary Association source: “According to his information, the hijack was the work of the PFLP, with help from the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Beit.
“The operation was designed to torpedo the PLO’s standing in France and to prevent what they see as a growing rapprochement between the PLO and the Americans.”
He adds: “My contact said the PFLP had attracted all sorts of wild elements, some of whom had been planted by the Israelis.””
After eleven years it is surely time for the BBC to remove that ridiculous conspiracy theory from its website – not least for the sake of its own organisational credibility.