Thursday, March 06, 2008

His Ship Got Sunk (1988)

1988 Dry Bones cartoon: Arafat's Ship of Refugees.
In February 1988 Yasser Arafat organized a group of Palestinian "refugees" and international supporters to board a "refugee ship" in Cyprus. Today's is the last of three "Golden Oldies" from February 1988 about the world-wide, front page event (which now seems to be totally forgotten). Previous cartoons are here and here.

The ship was called "Al Awda" (The Return). The plan was to sail it to an Israeli port, forcing Israel to either sink the ship (with the "homeless refugees", international "celebrities", and journalists aboard) or to let the ship land with its cargo of Palestinian "refugees" demanding their "right of return", its international celebrities defying the Israelis, and its on board journalists there to cover the whole story for the media.

Once again, a humanitarian crisis, once again the Palestinian Arabs as the oppressed victims, once again the Jewish State as the inhuman, cruel oppressor. What would or could Israel do?

I guess we'll never know, because, on February 14th, the night before the ship was to set sail (and before it was to be boarded by 100 "refugees", 300 journalists and 200 observers) someone blew it up.

* * *
Almost 10 years later, in 1997, The NY Times covered a failed "Mossad operation" in Lebanon by profiling an Israeli naval commando unit called "Flotilla 13".

According to the NY Times:
"Flotilla 13 was responsible for some of the most daring attacks Israel has made over the years. Most of these remain secret, though some have become known.
On Feb. 14, 1988, a ship of the Palestine Liberation Organization was sunk in the Limassol harbor in Cyprus. Though Israel has never acknowledged responsibility for the attack, it is believed that Flotilla 13 sank the ship with a large explosive device. The ship was supposed to take hundreds of Palestinian refugees back to their homeland."

Your thoughts? Comments?

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