Caught in the Middle

"Look, what do you expect Israel to do? . . . The problem is an American problem. The hostages are American."

Not entirely. As Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who made that statement on ABC's Nightline last week, was well aware, the TWA hostage crisis was an Israeli problem as well. As captor of the 776 mostly Shi'ite Lebanese detainees whose release was demanded by the hijackers of TWA Flight 847, Israel seemed to hold the key to freedom for the 40 captured Americans in Beirut. If Jerusalem refused to assist its most powerful ally, it ran the risk of alienating...

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