On June 27, 1976, Palestinian terrorists hijacked Air France Flight 139 and flew it to Entebbe, Uganda. All non-Israeli passengers, except one French citizen, were released shortly after landing. Demands were made for the release of a jailed terrorist and a deadline given after which hostages would be shot.
Entebbe was more than 2,000 miles from Israel and the idea of a rescue mission was widely considered impossible. On July 4, 1976, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) successfully accomplished the impossible: 102 out of 106 hostages were rescued. The four hostage fatalities included Dora Bloch, a 75-year-old British Jewish immigrant who had been hospitalized off-site and was later murdered at the order of Uganda strongman Idi Amin, as were several of her nurses and doctors who attempted to intervene. Amin also ordered the deaths of hundreds of Kenyans living in Uganda in retaliation for Kenya allowing the Israelis to refuel on the return flight.
The sole IDF fatality was the operation commander, Jonathan “Yoni” Netanyahu, who personally led his men in storming the terminal where the hostages were held.
Here are Lt. Colonel Netanyahu’s command principles. Most of them apply equally well to any leader.
– I believe first of all in common sense, which should guide all our actions.
– I also believe in the responsibility of commanders. A good commander…is one who feels absolutely responsible for anything connected, even indirectly, with his command.
– I believe that the buck should not be passed to anyone else—that it should stop here, with us.
– I believe in getting down to the smallest details. Anyone who fails to do that and tries to spare himself the effort is doing a disservice to our goal.
– I believe that there can be no compromise with results. Never accept results that are less than the best possible.
– I believe that the greatest danger to the life of a unit is to lapse into self satisfaction.
P.S. Heroic footnote: The Air France flight captain, Michel Bacos, refused to be released unless all the passengers were released and in a stirring display of courage, his entire crew followed suit. A French nun also refused to leave, insisting that one of the remaining hostages take her place, but she was forced into the waiting Air France plane by Ugandan soldiers. (Wikipedia)