Kav 300 affair

Kav 300 affair

The Kav 300 affair or Bus 300 affair refers to the controversy resulting from the 1984 hijacking of an Israeli bus by Palestinian gunmen and the allegations that two of the gunmen were subsequently executed by General Security Service (Shin Bet) agents while being held captive.


On April 12, 1984, four Palestinian members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked Egged Bus No. 300 en route from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon with 41 passengers and forced it to drive to the Gaza Strip. In Deir el-Balah, about 15 kilometers south of Gaza City, the bus came to a stop and was surrounded by military and Border Police units.

The hijackers demanded the release of some 500 PLO members held in Israeli jails. Just before dawn, an IDF elite unit, led by then-brigadier-general Yitzhak Mordechai, stormed the bus. One young woman soldier was killed and seven passengers were wounded in the course of the operation. Two of the gunmen were killed inside the bus. The other two reportedly were wounded and died en route to a hospital.

Aftermath and controversy

The Israeli Army stated that all four Palestinians died either during or as a result of the battle for the recapture of the bus and the liberation of the hostages.

At the time, the censor banned publication of pictures taken by two Israeli photographers (Alex Libek, former photographer of "Haaretz") [ [http://www.shabak.gov.il/ShowListItem.aspx?listid=english3&itemid=17&webid=9742302e-1c53-4154-befb-b113d8d9b333 April 12, 1984 ] ] that purportedly showed that the two "mortally wounded terrorists", cousins Subahi and Majdi Abu Jamahad, walked off the bus injured but still alive. The Israeli newspaper Hadashot, a now defunct, Schocken family-owned daily which had chosen not to join the so-called "Editors Committee", was allegedly closed for four days for not sending information to the Military Censor about the hijacking [ [http://www.pij.org/details.php?id=379 Palestine-Israel Journal: The Rocky Road from Big Brother's Helper to Government Watchdog, by Hillel Schenker, 1998] ] . A subsequent inquiry revealed the two Palestinians were killed later, and Avraham Shalom, [ [http://www.shabak.gov.il/English/History/heads/Pages/Avraham(Shalom)Ben-Dor.aspx Avraham (Shalom) Ben-Dor ] ] head of Shabak (Shin Bet), was forced to resign.

"I smashed their skulls," on orders of then-Shin Bet head Avraham Shalom, and "I'm proud of everything I've done," retiring agent Ehud Yatom was quoted as having told the daily Yediot Aharonot, in a 1996 interview. Yatom said he put the Palestinians on stretchers into a van. "On the way I received an order from Avraham Shalom to kill the men, so I killed them." [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19960727/ai_n14060598 The Independent: West Bank sealed off after two Israelis are shot dead, 1996] ] . He later denied having made the statements.

Yediot Aharonot commentator Yeshayahu Ben-Porath subsequently asserted that Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin sided with Yitzhak Shamir, who was Prime Minister when the incident occurred, in protecting the head of Shin Beth from any punishment. They then united to dismiss the Attorney General who wanted to investigate the case, the commentator added, and they arranged pardons for the security officials involved.

Ehud Yatom's admission drew criticism from many sides. A former Shin Bet member said, "What Yatom did was a betrayal of the organisation as a whole", while Yossi Sarid, leader of the left-wing Meretz party, said Mr Yatom was "the vermin of Israeli society, the rotten fruit of a military mentality devoid of values, which gives Israel's struggle for self-defense a bad name".

Popular culture

Uri Barbash directed the "Kav 300" mini series which was shown in 1997 on for Israeli television. The series focused on the "jurisdicial struggle between the Israeli Attorney General and the Shabak head following the murder of two terrorists in captivity by the Shabak" [ [http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0118369/ Int'l Movie DataBase: "Kav 300"] ] .



* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,961571,00.html?promoid=googlep Time: Israel Struggle At the Top, 1996]
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DEFD61E3EF934A25750C0A961948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all NY Times: Israelis Voice New Weariness At Scandal-ridden Leaders, 1987]
* [http://www.jonathanpollard.org/2001/122801.htm Jonathan Pollard Org: What Happened on Bus 300?]

ee also

* [http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4051.shtml Electronic Intifada: Israeli soldier kills four in bus attack]

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