The Israeli Air Raid that Flushed Out Isa Rashid

According to Rashid's letter to Meier dated 14 Sept., 1974, Rashid had been forced to flee from Jerusalem after he learned that his translation project and some things about the Talmud of Jmmanuel (TJ) had become known to Israeli authorities. Although at the time the TJ was discovered in Jerusalem, in 1963, the West Bank was under the control of Jordan, it had come under Israeli jurisdiction after the short war in 1967. Rashid's letter mentioned that he and his family had fled to a Lebanese refugee camp, but that an Israeli raid destroyed it and forced him to flee once again. However, in the letter Rashid did not bother to state the date on which the raid occurred, what kind of raid it was, or which refugee camp he had been located in; rather, his concern seemed to have been to convey the terrible news to Meier that he had been forced to leave behind the TJ scrolls, which were destroyed in the raging fires. Meier would have to be content with just the 36 chapters of the TJ that Rashid had mailed to him a few years earlier. It is of interest to inquire which Israeli raid, and when, was likely responsible for the alleged destruction.

Working backwards from the September date, we find from newspaper accounts that the first possibility was an Israeli bombing raid upon a "tent encampment" near Rashaya el-Fukhar in southeast Lebanon on 9 Aug., 1974. However, this was not one of the official refugee camps sponsored by the United Nations. Moreover, there does appear to have been a provocation for this raid, which was promptly carried out after Lebanese terrorists abducted several Syrian Druze workmen who were constructing a security fence for Israel along the border between Lebanon and the Golan Heights. Hence we move further back in time.

We move past other raids, which also were not upon Lebanese refugee camps, until we come to the series of raids of June 18-20, 1974. These were Israeli air raids upon several refugee camps in southwest Lebanon, ostensibly in retaliation for a guerrilla incursion into Chamir in northern Israel on June 13th, in which three Israelis and all four guerrillas involved died. The air raid of June 18th is the most likely candidate to have struck the refugee camp at which Rashid and his family had been staying (and to which he may have been tracked by Israeli security), since the raid on the first of the three days would have contained the greatest element of surprise.

This particular air raid, and those of the following two days, are prime suspects here because the Israeli bombardment appears to have been unusually highly escalated, being responsible for 70 civilians killed and as many more wounded (see the New York Times of 21 June, 1974, pp. 1-2), considering that the guerrillas involved in the earlier incursion had only been four in number and had died five days earlier. On June 21st, a U.S. senator, Abourezk of S. Dakota, spoke out against the brutality of these raids. In the Congressional Record, Vol. 120, No. 91, he stated, "I am extremely saddened to note that the government of Israel has seen fit to conduct daily bombing raids on civilians in southern Lebanon, in the farming areas, and, indeed, in the refugee camps where the military communiques which emanate from Israel say that the bombing raids are designed to kill suspected terrorists."

And the Washington Post of June 24th stated, "Contrary to published speculation, the highest officials of the U.S. government were both astonished and outraged by the overkill of Israel's revenge last week against Palestinian bases, endangering fragile peace hopes for the Mideast."

This series of raids quite possibly was delayed too long after the alleged provocation for it to have been the real provocation. In contrast, the Israeli air raids of May 16-18 commenced just one day after three terrorists, soon dead, had held 16 children hostages in Maalot, May 15th. A purported explanation for the delayed retaliation of June 18-20 was offered by Israeli Information Minister, Aharon Yariv (New York Times, 19 and 20 June); namely, that the delay was to allow President Nixon to calmly complete his Mideast trip of June 10-18, 1974. However, this explanation could well have been a lame excuse, since it is a great political embarrassment to have to admit that one's country held off on a series of brutal, devastating raids, supposedly aimed at wiping out terrorists, in order to avoid upsetting the chief executive of their prime benefactor nation. The preceding Washington Post statement instead indicates, as might be expected, that in reality, high U.S. officials were outraged over the raids even though they did not occur until just after the end of Nixon's trip.

Minister Yariv was a former Israeli chief of intelligence; hence he could well have been in on the necessity for a cover story for these raids. The raids took place about three weeks after Yitzhak Rabin replaced Golda Meir as prime minister of Israel, and Shimon Peres succeeded Moshe Dayan as minister of defense. It should be mentioned that Dayan had a special interest in Jewish antiquity, and was an ardent collector, indeed looter, of archaeological artifacts (Biblical Archaeological Review 31, March/April 2005, pp. 53-57). Hence he may have played an inside role in striving to attain or destroy the TJ rolls.

If one gives potential credence to Rashid's report, one may surmise that Israeli agents who had been on Rashid's tail since almost capturing him in Jerusalem, had learned that he had fled to a refugee camp in southwestern Lebanon. The highest Israeli officials, knowing that the TJ scrolls were dangerous for Judaism as well as for Christianity, consequently would have planned the action to eliminate the scrolls. They could afford to wait a little while until there was some provocation, but President Nixon's trip caused their raids to be delayed longer than they would have desired. Then they raided, or bombed, two or more refugee camps in this vicinity to make certain they hit the one Rashid & family were in.

As to which particular camp Rashid had been in, according to information Billy Meier received from his Plejaren contactors around January of 2011, the raid that destroyed the original TJ scrolls/rolls occurred on June 20th. If it was an air raid and or an Israeli ground assault was not specified. The refugee camp involved was said to be Ain al-Halwa, in southern Lebanon. If it was an air raid, this Plejaren input agrees with what the online Palestine-Encyclopedia has to say, namely, "Between June 18 and 21, 1974 Israeli planes bombed the Ain el-Helweh and Rashidiyeh Palestinian refugee camps, killing at least 100 and wounding over 200 others." The Western spelling of the designated refugee camp is Ain el-Helweh, or Ayn el-Helweh. It is located very close to Sidon, which is on the Lebanese coast about 25 miles northwest of the northern tip of Israel.

In summary, Rashid's statement that the raids were actually for the purpose of targeting him and the TJ scrolls/rolls is consistent with the events outlined above. However, there is no definitive proof readily available that would verify his account, outside of what Billy was told by the Plejarens, and Rashid & family did not survive past 1976 to testify to its truth.

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