Thirty-eight years ago. Yassir Arafat sent five Arab Terrorists into the Olympic Village to shock the world by Kidnapping and Killing the Israeli Olympic team. This was the first terrorist tragedy played out live and worldwide on TV. We all remember the picture of the Ski-masked terrorist on the balcony. Eleven innocents died that day. And the terrorist’s WON. Sure Golda Meir sent out a hit squad and killed most of the Murderers behind the attack. But it was followed up by a world-wide effort to legitimize the Terrorist Arafat which directly lead to the Oslo Accords and the second intifada. They say that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. That is an apt description of the present Israeli Government as well as most of the terrorist appeasing governments of the world. Below is an account and a video of that horrible September day to help ensure that we don’t forget:
The Munich Massacre By Mitchell Bard
It was 4:30 in the morning on Sept. 5, 1972, when five Arab terrorists wearing track sweat suits climbed the six-foot six-inch fence surrounding the Olympic Village. Although they were seen by several people, no one thought anything was unusual since athletes routinely hopped the fence; moreover, the terrorists’ weapons were hidden in athletic bags. These five were met by three more men who are presumed to have obtained credentials to enter the village.
Wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg, attacked the kidnappers as the hostages were being moved from one apartment to another, allowing one of his wrestlers, Gad Tsobari, to escape. The burly Weinberg knocked one of the intruders unconscious and stabbed another with a fruit knife before being shot to death. Weightlifter and father of three Yossef Romano, 31, also attacked and wounded one of the intruders before being killed. The Arabs then succeeded in rounding up nine Israelis to hold as hostages.
At 9:30, the terrorists announced that they were Palestinians and demanded that Israel release 200 Arab prisoners and that the terrorists be given safe passage out of Germany. The Palestinians were led by Luttif Afif (“Issa”), his deputy Yusuf Nazzal (“Tony”), and junior members Afif Ahmed Hamid (“Paolo”), Khalid Jawad (“Salah”), Ahmed Chic Thaa (“Abu Halla”), Mohammed Safady (“Badran”), Adnan Al-Gashey (“Denawi”), and his cousin Jamal Al-Gashey (“Samir”).
After hours of tense negotiations, the Palestinians, who it was later learned belonged to a PLO faction called Black September, agreed to a plan whereby they were to be taken by helicopter to the NATO air base at Firstenfeldbruck where they would be given an airplane to fly them and their hostages to Cairo. The Israelis were then taken by bus to the helicopters and flown to the airfield. In the course of the transfer, the Germans discovered that there were eight terrorists instead of the five they expected and realized that they had not assigned enough marksmen to carry out the plan to kill the terrorists at the airport.
After the helicopters landed at the air base around 10:30 p.m., the German sharpshooters attempted to kill the terrorists and a bloody firefight ensued. At 11, the media was mistakenly informed that the hostages had been saved and the news was announced to a relieved Israeli public. Almost an hour later, however, new fighting broke out and one of the helicopters holding the Israelis was blown up by a terrorist grenade. The remaining nine hostages in the second helicopter were shot to death by one of the surviving terrorists.
Hostages killed at the airport
(middle row, L-R) wrestling referee Yossef Gutfreund, age 40; American-born weightlifter David Berger, 28; wrestler Mark Slavin, 18; and weightlifting judge Yacov Springer, 51.
(bottom row, L-R) weightlifter Ze’ev Friedman, 28; track coach Amitzur Shapira, 40; wrestler Eliezer Halfin, 24; shooting coach Kehat Shorr, 53; and fencing coach Andre Spitzer, 27.
At 3 a.m., a drawn and teary-eyed Jim McKay, who had been reporting the drama throughout the day as part of ABC’s Olympic coverage, announced: “They’re all gone.”
Five of the terrorists were killed along with one policeman, and three were captured. A little over a month later, on Oct. 29, a Lufthansa jet was hijacked by terrorists demanding that the Munich killers be released.
The Germans capitulated and the terrorists were let go, but an Israeli assassination squad was assigned to track them down along with those responsible for planning the massacre. According to George Jonas in Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team, eight of the 11 men targeted for death were killed. Of the remaining three, one died of natural causes and the other two were assassinated, but it is not known for sure if they were killed by Israeli agents. The 11 on the list were:
Adwan, Kamal – Chief of sabotage operations for Al Fatah in the disputed territories
Al-Chir, Hussein Abad – PLO contact with KGB in Cyprus
Al-Kubaisi, Dr. Basil Paoud – Responsible for logistics within the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Boudia, Mohammed – Linked with European PLO
Daoud, Abu – Admitted member of the Black September Organization
Haddad, Dr. Wadi – Chief terrorist linked with Dr. George Habash
Mahshari, Mohmoud – PLO member and coordinator of Munich incident
Nassir, Kamal – Official PLO spokesman and member of the PLO Executive Committee
Salameh, Ali Hassan – Developed and executed the Munich operation
Yussuf, Abu – High ranking PLO official
Zwaiter, Wael – Cousin to Yasser Arafat, organizer of PLO terrorism in Europe
The Jonas book was the basis for two movies about Munich, “The Sword of Gideon” and Steven Spielberg’s 2006 Oscar nominee, “Munich.” In the subsequent publicity about Spielberg’s film, reports have discredited the account in Jonas, which was largely based on what the author was told by a former self-described Mossad agent, Juval Aviv, who claimed he was the leader of the assassination team. In fact, journalists Yossi Melman and Steven Hartov found that “Aviv never served in Mossad, or any Israeli intelligence organization. He had failed basic training as an Israeli Defence Force commando, and his nearest approximation to spy work was as a lowly gate guard for the airline El Al in New York in the early 70s.”
In contrast to the account of “Operation Wrath of God” offered by Jonas, Mossad agents have told reporters subsequently that no one team was sent to kill a specific list of terrorists.
Meanwhile, the mastermind of the massacre remains at large.Abu Daoud was shot thirteen times on July 27, 1981 in a Warsaw hotel coffee shop, but survived the attack. Daoud was allowed safe passage through Israel in 1996 so he could go to a PLO meeting convened in the Gaza Strip to rescind an article in its charter that called for Israel’s eradication. In 1999, Abu Daoud admitted his role in the massacre in his autobiography, Memoirs of a Palestinian Terrorist.
Daoud, who lives with his wife on a pension provided by the Palestinian Authority, claims his commandos never intended to harm the athletes and blamed their deaths on the German police and the stubbornness of then-Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. On December 27, 2005, Daoud reiterated that he had no regrets about his involvement in the Munich attack, and that Steven Spielberg’s new film about the incident would not deliver reconciliation.
Bassam Abu Sharif, a member of the PFLP at the time, said the motive for the operation in Munich was to attract publicity for the Palestinian cause and to win the release of Palestinian prisoners.
The massacre of 11 Israeli athletes was not considered sufficiently serious to merit canceling or postponing the Olympics. “Incredibly, they’re going on with it,” Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times wrote at the time. “It’s almost like having a dance at Dachau.”
Sources: Jerusalem Report, (January 9, 2006); JTA, (May 4, 1999); Jonas, George. Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team. NY: Bantam Books, 1985; Thomas B. Hunter, “Wrath of God: The Israeli Response to the 1972 Munich Olympic Massacre,” Journal of Counterterrorism & Security International, Vol. 7, No. 4, (Summer 2001); Wikipedia; Yossi Melman and Steven Hartov, “Munich: fact and fantasy,” The Guardian, (January 17, 2006)
Epilogue: We Learn Nothing
The mastermind of the Munich attack Abu Daoud, claims that the future Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas provided the funds to carry out the Black September attack. Daoud made that charge in his 1999 French language memoir, “Palestine: From Jerusalem to Munich,” and again in an interview last August with Don Yaeger of Sports Illustrated magazine.
Abu Daoud said he was angered by the dozens of Palestinian terrorists allowed to return to the Palestinian territories as a result of the Oslo process while he remained persona non grata to Israel and the United States. Abu Mazen, Daoud complained, is now considered “respectable” even though he also was involved in the Munich attack.
In his book Abu Daoud states:
“After Oslo in 1993, Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] went to the White House Rose Garden for a photo op with Arafat, President Bill Clinton and Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.
“Do you think that … would have been possible if the Israelis had known that Abu Mazen was the financier of our operation? I doubt it.”
When Abu Daoud died this year, Abbas has eulogized Abu Dauod, the mastermind of the massacre at the Munich Olympics “He is missed. He was one of the leading figures of Fatah and spent his life in resistance and sincere work as well as physical sacrifice for his people’s just causes,” said Abbas.
Even more than ever the words of Ze’ev Jabotinsky ring true:
It is incredible what political simpletons Jews are. They shut their eyes to one of the most elementary rules of life, that you must not “meet halfway” those who do not want to meet you.
–Ze’ev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall November 4, 1923