Tuesday, July 14, 2020

When I read this I wasn't writing here much. It seems timely.
Brulin at Mondoweiss
Over the following 3 years, hundreds of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were killed, and many more wounded, by explosive devices hidden in baskets, on bicycles or mules, in cars or trucks. After each attack, calls to the media were placed claiming responsibility in the name of the FLLF. Palestinian and Lebanese officials repeatedly insisted that the FLLF was merely a fiction intended to hide the hand of Israel and its Christian rightist allies. Israeli officials rejected such accusations, insisting rather that the bombings were part of an internecine war amongst rival Arab factions. Several of these bombings are included in the  RAND and START  “terrorism databases.”

...In February 2018 Ronen Bergman, at the time the senior correspondent for military and intelligence affairs for Yedioth Ahronoth, published Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassination.

...As Rise and Kill First documents in detail, the FLLF bombings were an integral part of this Israeli strategy of provocation. Indeed, the new Defense Minister immediately decided to “activate” the FLLF operation and sent Eitan as his personal emissary to “keep an eye” on the clandestine operation. Remarkably, at the time Eitan was serving as Begin’s “counterterrorism” adviser.

Sharon “hoped that these operations would provoke Arafat into attacking Israel,” Bergman writes, “which could then respond by invading Lebanon, or at least make the PLO retaliate against the Phalange, whereupon Israel would be able to leap in great force to the defense of the Christians.” 
“By mid-September 1981,” he explains, “car bombs were exploding regularly in Palestinian neighborhoods of Beirut and other Lebanese cities.”

Several of these bombings were covered in the US press at the time.

On September 17, 1981, a car bomb exploded outside of the command center shared by the PLO and its Lebanese leftist allies in the port city of Sidon, killing over 20, most of them women and children who lived in nearby apartment buildings, John Kifner reported in the New York Times. 
Two days later, another “terrorist bomb” killed four in a crowded movie theater in West Beirut, Kifner reported. The FLLF claimed responsibility, but Palestinian officials immediately insisted that the group is “fictitious,” a ploy used by Israel to hide its hand in these attacks.

On October 1, a car exploded near PLO offices in a crowded street in Moslem west Beirut, killing 90, as Kifner and the UPI reported. Several other vehicles loaded with explosives were found and defused in Beirut and Sidon “in what was intended as a devastating blitz against Palestinians and leftist Lebanese militiamen by rightist terrorists.”

The FLLF claimed responsibility, but a PLO official blamed Israeli agents for planting the bomb in “sort of a secret war” against Palestinians. Lebanese Prime Minister Chafik Wazzan agreed. Because the cease-fire was preventing Israel from “persisting in its acts of destruction and killing in Lebanon through its air force or other attacks,” he argued, it was “looking for other tactics, the cowardly ones to which it is currently resorting either directly or through agents.’ Israeli officials rejected such claims, insisting instead that the bombings were part of a ‘war among gangs which make up the PLO.”

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