Netanyahu visits Uganda on 40th anniversary of Entebbe

July 5, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Stephen Wandera/AP

 

By

Gloria Nakiyimba

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is appealing for a united effort from civilized countries to fight terrorism. He noted that nothing justifies terrorism; the deliberate murder of innocent people and systematic slaughter of civilians. He made the remarks on Monday during a one day visit to Uganda to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Israeli raid on Entebbe.

On July 4th Israeli commandos launched Operation Thunderbolt in which Israel hostages, who had been hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were rescued from the old Entebbe Airport. The hostages were aboard an Air France plane that was diverted to Entebbe.

“We in all the civilized nations must rededicate ourselves to the spirit of Entebbe, a spirit of daring and resolve, a spirit of courage and fortitude, a spirit that is determined as ever to defeat terror and to secure our common future” Netanyahu told more than 500 guests including an Israel delegation, diplomats and Ugandan officials who attended the memorial event at Entebbe air base.

He noted that when terrorism succeeds in one place, it spreads to other places, and when terrorism is defeated anywhere it is weakened everywhere.

“We must condemn all acts of terrorism whether they are perpetrated in Paris, or Brussels, in Orlando or San Bernardino, in Tunis or Nairobi, in Hebron or Netanya” he pronounced.

He pointed out that the success of Operation Thunderbolt was a victory for all humanity in the fight against those who threaten our common civilization.

According to PM Netanyahu, the raid on Entebbe was a watershed moment in the life of his people.

“For centuries Mr. President we were stateless and powerless to defend ourselves. No one came to our rescue. We were murdered by the millions.  The rise of Israel changed all that. Time and again Israel has successfully defended itself against enemies committed to our destruction.  But it was perhaps at Entebbe where this fundamental transformation was most dramatically seen by the world” he told his host Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s President.

He stated that through his beloved brother Yoni who led the forces that stormed the old terminal and overcame the terrorists and freed the hostages; he learnt that two things are needed above all to defeat terrorism; clarity and courage.

“Clarity to distinguish good from evil. And courage to confront evil. Clarity is to know that nothing justifies terrorism; nothing justifies the deliberate murder of the innocent, the systematic slaughter of civilians. Courage is the other indispensable quality needed to fight the terrorists and their sponsors in order to defend our values and our lives” he opined.

 

 

On the diplomatic relations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Israel was looking forward to strengthening its ties with African countries.

“Africa is a continent on the rise. Israel looks forward to strengthening ties with all its countries. After many decades I can say unequivocally Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel. All of our people will benefit greatly from our growing partnership” he said.

Prime Minister Netanyahu noted that the historic anti terrorism summit that he later attended on Monday with seven other leaders of African states and Israel justifies the robust changes taking place in the relationship between Israel and Africa.

The summit hosted by Uganda was attended by presidents from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Zambia, Malawi, and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

“Many African leaders visit Israel. And I am proud to be the first Israel Prime Minister in over 20 years to visit sub Saharan Africa” he boasted.

Prime Minister Netanyahu lauded Uganda’s President Museveni for fighting terrorists. He referred to Uganda as a friendly country led by a president who fights terrorists.

“Exactly 40 years ago, Israel soldiers carried out the historic mission at Entebbe. 40 years ago they landed in the dead of the night in a country led by a brutal dictator who gave refuge to terrorists. Today we landed in broad daylight in a friendly country led by a president who fights terrorists” he said.

He revealed the Entebbe raid inspired the will and lifted the spirit of the Israel people.

“At Entebbe international terrorism suffered a stinging defeat; the rescue mission proved that good can prevail over evil that hope can triumph over fear”

In his remarks, President Museveni urged Israel and Palestine to live side by side. He faulted former Ugandan President Idi Amin for giving refuge to terrorists who hijacked the plane 40 years ago.

“Amin hobnobbing with terrorists was a crime itself. Amin was wrong to keep hostages and Israel was right to rescue the hostages,” President Museveni told the visiting Premier and his delegation.

Netanyahu invited Israeli companies to invest in Africa and Uganda in particular adding that both Africa and Israel stand to benefit from this new relationship in terms of investment, trade, tourism and technological cooperation.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s next stopover will be Kenya, and will later meet leaders of Ethiopia and Rwanda in a historic visit in search of new trade partners in Africa. According to sources Israel has set aside 13 million dollars in an aid package to strengthen economic ties and cooperation with African countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloria Nakiyimba

Gloria has experience spanning more than five years in Journalism, particularly in field reporting, editing, newscasting and management. She is currently working with Capital Radio Limited [91.3 Capital FM and 96.3 Beat FM] as Head of News, a position she has held since 2010.

Gloria previously worked as the Kampala Correspondent for Radio France International [RFI] generating local story leads with international inference for RFI’s global audience. She also served as Political Editor for The Weekly Mail Newspaper as well as Online Content Editor for the California based Ugandan broadcaster KubutakaRadio.com.

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