Haaretz reported on . ==========
During his term as Israel's defense minister, Ariel Sharon ordered the Israeli army to shoot down a passengers plane if it was confirmed that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was on board. In one instance in 1982, the plane in question was carrying 30 wounded Palestinian children, survivors of the Sabra and Shatila massacre.
That operation was called off, but, according to a new book by an Israeli journalist, it was one many planned assassinations, some even inspired by the film “The Manchurian Candidate.”
"The military operation had been set in motion by the Mossad. Taking advantage of lax security at the Athens airport, [the agents] waited for Arafat in the area where private planes were parked," Ronen Bergman wrote in the New York Times, revealing parts of his upcoming book.
Lt. Gen. Rafael Eitan, then-Sharon's chief of staff who Bergman claims was pushing for the operation, scrambled Israeli jets to follow the aircraft suspected of carrying Arafat.
“You don’t fire without my OK. Clear? Even if there’s a communications problem, if you don’t hear my order - you don’t open fire,” Eitan stressed to the pilots as the plane took off from Athens. But the confirmation never came, and the man they thought to be Arafat was most likely his younger brother, Bergman writes.
Bergman report that from November 1982 to January 1983, four F-16s and F-15s were on alert in case Arafat was spotted. They were scrambled "at least five times to intercept and destroy airliners believed to be carrying Arafat, only to be called back soon after takeoff," Bergman writes in the New York Times.