The attack upon the village of Sha'ar HaGolanEdit
The night was drawing in, in the village of Sha'ar HaGolan and the patrol of the Royal Belize Rifles (part of the New Commonwealth force in Israel) was taking up its positions for the night. Sha'ar was a regular stop on the patrol route and was popular with the 35 man unit, It was a feeling that was reciprocated by the villages for the soldier were polite , friendly and above all a long way from home.
As the Belizian soldiers settled down to the night routine other eyes were watching from nearby, these eyes were not friendly and they belonged to over 700 Hamas militia with orders to attack Sha'ar HaGolan and slaughter its inhabitants to show the world that the New Commonwealth could not protect its friends.
Though the night that followed with its heights of bravery and moments of total despair is too well known for my literary talents to give it justice, I would suggest anyone who wishes to know more should watch the film "HAMAS" which is agreed by all the survivors, to be the best representation of the story ever told.
As the sun rose the next morning the last few soldiers and militia were concentrated around the school to protect the women and children. The village was ablaze but help was on its way, the radio operator had, whilst he lived, broadcast calls for help to all who could hear and now a nurse was continuing this duty as she had promised him she would in his last moments.
Help was on its way and help from a source that neither defender or attacker thought possible. Through the morning mist and smoke tanks and APCs appeared, not in Israeli sand as expected and prayed for but in Jordanian camo! The commander of the Jordanian forces just across the border had listened all night, he knew the state the defenders were in and he decided that the honour of his King would not stand to have innocent children killed, so he had come to put his men at the disposal of the defenders.
The battle was over, Hamas was routed and the relieving Israeli forces found 6 soldiers from Belize alive and the Royal Jordanian Army protecting its citizens. This moment marks the beginning of the peace process for the two countries, but that's another story.
Though Israel was in shock it was also a country which wished to honour its heroes and it considered every one of those soldiers alive or dead a hero. When the bodies of the soldiers were put aboard a Royal Navy ship at the port of Haifa the entire city came to a halt with an estimated 150,000 people in the streets to wish them well on their final journey.
Belize now became a topic of aid for Israel, with collections made in the name of the dead soldiers for new schools, hospitals and roads. A small training wing for the Belize defence force was set up to train NCOs and officer cadets, and the small country became overnight the new tourist destination of choice for the Israeli chattering class, stimulating the economy.
As things started to look up for Belize there was just one problem, and that problem was like a 400lb gorilla, it was Guatemala. Guatemala had never recognised the existence of the country and claimed every inch of it as its own.
Well, Guatemala had a plan, one that it had studied and changed as the years went by one it was going to try now. It started with articles in the press criticizing Belize and calling for its return. Militarily Guatemala was strong compared to Belize but it realised that any help from its commonwealth friends was going to come by air and it was on acquisitions of aircraft that Guatemala concentrated.
The exact nature of the deal with Cuba which brought the Su25s to Guatemala is unknown, but Cuban volunteers flew 12 aircraft into the San Cristobella airbase and began to work up the squadron to operational readiness.
In Israel Mossad had been busy and they had learnt the full plan of Guatemala, they knew the dates, they knew the times and they knew the locations of the proposed "invasion" of Belize. One of the senior agents on the case had a brother from Sha'ar HaGolan and he told him the news in "confidence", knowing he would pass it on.
Sha'ar HaGolan, swung its might behind the plan, phone calls were made. One man had a cousin and he arranged a meeting with the defence minister and premier. In this meeting a highly placed friend of the village talked about honour and debt and repayments, he banged his hand on the table as he talked of honour, but the silence from the two men was deafening and so he played his trump card...in walked two grey haired old ladies whom, told their grandsons that they would support Belize or they would not be welcome in the family anymore.
The plan was swung into action, a ship was leased from New York (another cousin of a resident) and it called at Haifa at night and loaded 15 heavily shrouded containers. The schedule was tight to beat the Guatemalan deadline. By morning the ship was gone.
The ship next appeared 10 miles from Belize City next to a floating crane and two barges covered over with steel plate. That night all the residents of Belize could see, if they chose to look, was the crane unloading these containers onto the barges and a stream of oil company helicopters lifting them from there and away into the dark.
It was the day before the Guatemalan invasion and base commander Jose de la Cruz was on the flight line, he was a happy man. Never in his life did he think that Guatemala would have an aircraft like this and never did he think it would be used. Then his happy thoughts were shattered by the wail of the air raid siren, in shock he turned to see roaring in from the east two dark green delta shapes. He roared to his aide for binoculars and turned to study the aircraft above him, now there were 4 of them. They were Mirages (he's wrong they're Neshers) and they carried that abortion of a roundel that Belize claimed for itself.
As he entered his command centre an agitated major gave him a message straight from the president telling him to stand down, it seems that the governments of the New Commonwealth and Israel had got wind of the plan and were threatening war, a war Guatemala couldn't win. In shock he realised the invasion was off.