From the Israeli Press - Current Translations and Commentary from Hebrew-Language Newspapers by Dr. Israel Shahak: The Israeli Army Has Supplied Tons of Hashish to Egyptian Soldiers

By Kamir, Eli | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 1997 | Go to article overview

From the Israeli Press - Current Translations and Commentary from Hebrew-Language Newspapers by Dr. Israel Shahak: The Israeli Army Has Supplied Tons of Hashish to Egyptian Soldiers


Kamir, Eli, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


From the Israeli Press -- Current Translations and Commentary From Hebrew-Language Newspapers by Dr. Israel Shahak: The Israeli Army Has Supplied Tons of Hashish to Egyptian Soldiers

The main headline of the Sunday Times (London) yesterday said that since the 1970s the Israeli army has supplied tons of hashish to soldiers of the Egyptian army.

This information aroused great interest in Egypt. Even before the paper appeared, the SKY TV network quoted the main headline of the Sunday Times. But as soon as the item was published, all the main electronic media in the world began to quote the story again and again, despite denials by the Israeli army spokesman.

"In one of the most bizarre situations in the Middle East conflict," wrote the Sunday Times on its front page, "Israel has flooded Egypt for decades with cheap hashish. The goal was to drug Egyptian soldiers so that they would be unable to fight effectively." The operation, so claimed the Sunday Times, was called "Operation Blade." The most interesting part of the affair was that it was revealed by the paper's Israeli correspondent, Uzi Mahanaimi, the son of Col. Gideon Mahanaimi who died of an untimely heart attack.(1) According to Uzi Mahanaimi, for years many tons of hashish have been smuggled from Lebanon to Egypt through Israel. He said he has testimonies of eight Israeli officers, directly involved in Operation Blade, on which the Sunday Times article was based.

The Israeli army spokesman has strongly denied these allegations. "Israeli army officers were never involved in drug dealing," he said. The article claimed that Israel came up with the idea for Operation Blade on the eve of the Six-Day War when pressure from the Egyptian border increased on Israel.(2) Since then, according to the Sunday Times, the Israeli army, even after the signing of peace with Egypt in 1979, has continued to supply hashish to Egyptian soldiers. Only in the late 1980s, the paper added, did Israel end this operation.

"I have no remorse for what was done," a senior reserve officer who was in charge of military operations of this nature in the 1970s told the Sunday Times. "It allowed us to control the inflow of drugs to Israel and to increase drug use among the Egyptians....

According to the Sunday Times, in the 1960s, the Israeli army still was making great efforts to seal the border between Lebanon and Israel to hashish smuggling. The intention was to close the border crossings and increase the naval patrols to catch the shipments of hashish on Lebanese boats. "But we quickly understood," explained a senior Israeli reserve officer, "that we were missing a golden opportunity. We reached the conclusion that we could obtain the drugs ourselves and transfer them to dealers whom we favored to sell at low prices to Egyptian army staff. That way, we believed, we would manage to weaken the Egyptian soldiers." The proposal to use hashish for this purpose, said the mentioned Israeli officer, passed through the entire chain of command and was officially sanctioned.(3) Operation Blade quickly began. All financial profits it generated were transferred into a secret Israeli army fund to be used for additional secret operations.

Despite denials of the Israeli army spokesman, the Sunday Times has continued to insist that the facts are correct. According to Mahanaimi, the officers admitted to him that they had participated in the operation on orders from above and not for personal gain.... Among the officers who spoke with the paper -- none of their names were published -- two are still serving in the Israeli army. …

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