The Germans reported that one of their ships sailing off the coast of Lebanon was fired upon by Israeli F-16 fighters. Israel immediately denied the incident, and then came up with a convoluted non-denial denial. We are left with the conclusion that Israel did fire, but did not intend to hit, the German ship (the proverbial ‘shot across the bow’). The attack worked, with the Germans cravenly agreeing to restrict the ambit of their ships to six nautical miles off the coast of Lebanon.
Why would Israel do something this stupid? For one thing, Germany is restricted from complaining too loudly, or will receive a guaranteed reminder about the Holocaust. Israel can get away with just about anything. The real reason for the attack probably relates to one of the reasons for the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. Besides attempting to frame the Egyptians for the attack (not a consideration now), Israel was afraid that the Liberty was close enough to listen in on its schemes. In fact, that is probably why the frame-up of the Egyptians didn’t work. To stop American spying, the Liberty was attacked. We can only assume that the Israelis feared that the Germans were using the excuse of the peacekeeping efforts to sneak in close enough to hear what they weren’t supposed to hear.