Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yehoshua Cohen (died in 1986),commando expert for Stern Gang

On September 11, 1988, 40 years after the murder of Bernadotte, the Israeli daily newspaper "Yediot Ahronot" came out with an article written by the paper’s political reporter, Ronni Shaked. For the first time since the murder, the men who did the killing came forward and told in detail how the murder took place. Yehoshua Zetler, the commander of the Jerusalem unit of the Stern Gang in 1948 proudly told how he plotted and had Bernadotte killed. When he was asked, "If you could relive your life, would you still have murdered the UN diplomat?" He stated, "There would be no hesitation; the UN diplomat had to be killed in order to safeguard the nation of Israel."

What is important for the reader in 2003 to know is that this murder was well thought out and that it was approved by two well known Jewish leaders, each of whom held the post of prime minister of Israel, Menachem Begin (1983-1984) and Yizhak Shamir (1986-1990). At the time of the murder, Begin was the commander of the Irgun and Shamir the head of the Stern Gang.

Average Christians reading this material must understand that they do not have "criminal minds." The men behind the Zionist movement have no ethical or moral values, they have the mindset of a criminal. They were determined to create a Jewish state in Palestine at any cost, and they are just as determined to maintain it and if possible enlarge it at any cost. In order to be able to proceed, they cannot operate within biblical law, nor within internationally established laws. If a person or persons threaten their project, the decision will be made – death for the one who is standing in the way.

The United Nations had sent Bernadotte to Palestine to work out a peace agreement between the Jews and the Palestinians. On June 27, 1948, Bernadotte was able to broker a cease fire between the newly formed Israeli Army and the Arab coalition. He then proposed a peace plan for the region. The proposal included the call for an independent Palestinian state to be abandoned. The territories which, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations had voted to be used for an independent Palestinian state were to be given to Jordan. The city of Jerusalem was to be incorporated with Jordan and all Jewish immigration to the newly formed state of Israel would be regulated by the United Nations. No Jewish males capable of serving as soldiers would be allowed to come to Israel. The territory of Galilee would be given to the Jews, but the entire Negev desert area was to be given to Jordan.

Again, I must help current readers to understand the thinking that prevailed in 1948 by people in the different nations of the world. America in 1948 was humming with activity, its factories untouched by the war. The economy was expanding rapidly in the U.S. and the American people were in no mood for a new war in the Middle East. Production of automobiles had ceased from 1941 through 1945, as all automakers in the U.S. had been producing tanks, trucks and bombers like the B-17. The American people wanted new cars, the GI’s coming home wanted to marry and raise their children in their own newly built homes. England had won the war along with the U.S., but ended up bankrupt, its economy in shambles and sky high unemployment. It was not until the mid 1950's that England began to recover. The British had lost millions in war dead and wounded, and the British people were sick and tired of war and the British government knew this very well. So did the rest of the world. France was wasted, Germany was a wasteland, Eastern Europe had just been gobbled up by the Soviet Union which in turn was licking its own war wounds. China was in the middle of a terrible civil war and Japan had been bombed into shock. The political pressure was on the Jews, "negotiate for peace, accept what you have and don’t argue," was the message from the nations of the world. 5

The moderate Jewish leadership started to listen seriously to Bernadotte and their pragmatic approach was, "Half a loaf of bread is better than nothing at all." The Jewish people in general were worn out by the long conflict with the Palestinians, more than 15 years of a low intensity war. The Jews coming from the war zone in Europe had suffered enough war. The majority of the Jewish people wanted peace and they were willing to pay for it by giving up some land.

Begin, Shamir and other hardline Zionists knew that they were in trouble. The dream of a greater Israel and the city of Jerusalem were slipping out of their reach. Begin and Shamir publicly let it be known among the Jewish population that Bernadotte was "a secret agent" for the British Government. Once the political decision was made by the Jewish leadership to assassinate Bernadotte, the assignment was given to the Stern Gang.

Yehoshua Zetler was the local commander of the Stern Gang in Jerusalem. Under his command he had several hundred fighters who the British had labeled "terrorists." They had ambushed British soldiers, planted bombs in cars and buildings and they had methodically terrorized the Palestinian population. Palestinian fighters (terrorists) fought back and the situation in Palestine was pretty much the same as it is today. No change.

Zetler had his secret headquarters in the Talbiye district of Jerusalem. He brought in Dr. Israel Eldad (a Polish Jew born in 1910) who was the intellectual leader of the Stern Gang. Eldad had been a teacher at the Tel Aviv high school and after 1948 he became a journalist and editor, ending up as a professor of humanities at the Haifa Technion. Eldad agreed with Zetler that Bernadotte had to die, and the two of them then made a trip to Haifa, where they met with Nathan Yellin-Mor, the military commander of the Stern Gang. Ten days before the killing of Bernadotte, the three of them were sitting in an apartment at Carmel in Haifa and discussed the killing. Nathan and Eldad gave the strong warning, that once the killing had taken place, no credit could be taken by the Stern Gang. Instead it was agreed to issue a declaration after the killing, and give the credit to a small obscure group called "The Homeland Front."

As soon as Zetler came back to Jerusalem, the planning for the murder got into high gear. Zetler called upon Yehoshua Cohen (died in 1986), the commando expert in the Stern Gang to lead the operation in the field. Zetler stated that it was not a hard assignment to kill a person who was not armed, the problem was to find four killers who, after the murder, would not talk. Zetler carefully selected four professional assassins who he knew would not talk. Meshulam Makover, who lived in Jerusalem, was his second selection since he knew Jerusalem in and out. The third member in the team was Yitzhak Ben Moshe (died in 1984), and the fourth one was only known as "The Red Head," since he refused to go public and acknowledge his involvement. Makover, Moshe and The Red Head had just come back from a British POW camp in Kenya, Africa, and Zetler decided that they needed to practice their shooting, so he took them out to a forest in Motza for the training. The assassins were given pictures of Bernadotte, so they would be able to identify him and shoot him. The order was given that anyone of the assassins who could first identify the UN diplomat, should without hesitation shoot him to death.

At four o’clock in the morning of September 17, 1948, the assassination team drove to and parked their jeep along Palmach Street. The four of them pretended that they were sleeping in the vehicle. On a hill not far away lay Zetler watching the scene. Early in the morning Berndotte left East Jerusalem and the UN headquarters to travel to a meeting with Dov Josef, one of the Zionist leaders who had his office in central Jerusalem. When the UN convoy of several automobiles came close to the jeep on Palmach street, the driver of the jeep drove out in front of the convoy and stopped them. Major Moshe Hillman, Bernadotte’s Israeli Army liaison officer, thought that it was an Israeli army check point, and identified himself. But the assassination team had already jumped off the jeep, and started checking the UN vehicles. When Yeoshua Coen came to the last car and opened the door, he cried out, "Here he is!" At that time, Hillman was coming down and demanded, "What are you doing?" Cohen had already fired into the back seat of the sedan, and instantly killed the French Colonel Andre Sareau. Then Cohen leaned into the back seat and fired off several rounds with his automatic weapon hitting Bernadotte in the chest. As Cohen was killing Bernadotte, he heard shots from the other side of the car. He believed that his squad was getting resistance, but it was his own people who were shooting the tires of the UN vehicles. The assassination team quickly made a getaway. Hillman opened up the rear door and saw the dead French Colonel, but Bernadotte was still alive. Bernadotte, white as a sheet in the face and in a cold sweat, told the Israeli army officer, "They have shot me!" Hillman ordered the Israeli army driver to drive the car as fast as he could to an English hospital. A few minutes later the shot up car arrived at the emergency entrance of the hospital and Bernadotte was taken inside for emergency treatment. After a few minutes, Dr. Neumann came out and told Hillman that Bernadotte was dead.

The murder created a political upheaval and the Israeli government had to defend itself, that it had nothing to do with the murder. A hunt for the murderers was ordered, but by that time the four assassins had been concealed in Jerusalem. Four days later they were taken in a moving van to Tel Aviv where they melted into the general population. They were never caught and brought to justice. Forty years later they felt safe to come out into the open and confess what they had done. They felt that they had saved the State of Israel and showed no remorse at all.

Yehoshua Cohen, in later years, became a good friend with David Ben Gurion (a Polish Jew born in 1886 and the first Prime Minister of Israel from 1948-53), as he lived as a neighbor with David Ben Gurion. Before Cohen died, he made the following statement: "With the Bernadotte action, Ben Gurion was able to kill two flies with one swat, he got rid of Bernadotte and us (the Stern Gang)."


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