On Wednesday (15 May), it was Ma'alot -- where 21 schoolchildren and six other israelis were killed in a raid by Palestinian guerrillas.
On Wednesday (15 May), it was Ma'alot -- where 21 schoolchildren and six other israelis were killed in a raid by Palestinian guerrillas. The following day, Israel retaliated with two half-hour air strikes against refugee camps in southern Lebanon, said to be bases manned by the Palestinian organisations. More than 20 people wee killed and dozens wounded. It was another chapter in the black record of raid and counter-raid -- one of the grimmer aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The questions now arise -- where will the vengeance lead? And will the reprisals continue? It's feared Ma'alot and the subsequent strikes in Lebanon are just the beginning. Already an early threat by israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan has been recalled by military leaders. General Dayan warned that Israel would make life intolerable in southern Lebanon, if the activities of guerrillas were not controlled.
the tragic trail of vengeance leads back to December, 1968, when Arab guerrillas shot up an El Al aircraft at Athens Airport, killing a passenger. Two days alter, a group of Israeli commandoes inflictrated the security net at Beirut Airport -- and within 45 minutes had destroyed 13 Arab airliners.
For some time, skyjacking was an Arab weapon. But, in August last year Israeli Air Force jets intercepted a Middle East Airlines Caravelle on a routine flight from Beirut to Baghdad. They forced the airliner to land at a military airstrip in northern Israel. The reason -- Israel's intelligence organisation though Dr. George Habash, a leader of the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine, was on board. He wasn't. Dr. Habash had intended to take the flight, but changed his mind at the last moment. The interception followed an Arab attack at Athens Airport, in which three people died and another 55 were wounded.
Probably, Israel's most daring retaliatory raid came in April last year, when shock troops stormed the heart of Beirut and gunned down three prominent Palestinian leaders -- Kamal Nasser, Kamal Adwan and Muhammed Yussef. The Isarelis forced their way into the homes of the guerrilla leaders, thus scoring a massive tactical victory and denting the confidence of the Palestinian liberation groups. The raid wa generally through to have been a reprisal against an Arab attack on the Israeli embassy and an El Al aircraft in Cyprus.
As concentration of guerrilla forces intensified along the Israeli Lebanese border -- so too did the Israeli ground and air attacks. The first incursion after the 1967 war was in January, 1971 and since then, this type of attack has become an integral part of Israeli strategy. Civilian casualties have been high -- so high, in fact, that the guerrillas on several occasions bowed to Lebanese Government demands and promised to halt their border operations. However, the bases and the raids are still a fact of everyday life for the border people.