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Will the Munich panel acknowledge the role of Abbas?

In 1972, the year of the Olympics massacre, Yasser Arafat headed the Fatah terrorist organization, and Mahmoud Abbas—the current head of both Fatah and the Palestinian Authority—was his right-hand man.

A plaque in front of the Israeli athletes' quarters commemorates the victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. The inscription, in German and Hebrew, reads: “The team of the State of Israel lived in this building during the 20th Olympic Summer Games from 21 August to 5 September 1972. On 5 September, [list of victims] died a violent death. Honor to their memory.” Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
A plaque in front of the Israeli athletes' quarters commemorates the victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. The inscription, in German and Hebrew, reads: “The team of the State of Israel lived in this building during the 20th Olympic Summer Games from 21 August to 5 September 1972. On 5 September, [list of victims] died a violent death. Honor to their memory.” Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Stephen M. Flatow. Credit: Courtesy.
Stephen M. Flatow
Stephen M. Flatow is president of the Religious Zionists of America. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995, and author of A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror. (The RZA is not affiliated with any American or Israeli political party.)

The German government has created a commission of historians to study the massacre of Israeli athletes by Palestinian Arab terrorists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Germany’s Interior Minister has promised that the review will be “thorough” and “rigorous.”

The problem, however, is that a serious and honest study will have to acknowledge that the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, with whom Germany has a friendly relationship, were the ones who organized and financed the attack. Will the commission be willing to name names, even if doing so will be politically inconvenient for the German government?

In 1972, Yasser Arafat was head of the Fatah terrorist organization, and Mahmoud Abbas—the current head of both Fatah and the P.A.—was his right-hand man.

The terrorists who carried out the Munich attack claimed that they were part of the “Black September” group, which supposedly was independent of Fatah. But the myth of an “independent” Black September was shattered many years ago, with the declassifying of a telegram sent by the U.S. State Department to American embassies around the world on March 13, 1973.

The text of the telegram is widely available on the internet. It reveals the truth about the Munich murderers:

“Question of link between Black September Organization (BSO) and Fatah has been subject of much public discussion,” the telegram began. Then it explained Arafat’s lies about his role in Black September: “Fatah leader Arafat has disavowed connection with BSO. … Arafat continues to disavow publicly any connection between Fatah and terrorist operations. Similarly, Fatah maintains its pretense of moderation … .”

The truth about Black September and Fatah was exactly the opposite of what Arafat claimed, according to the U.S. State Department telegram: “USG [United States Government] has information that Fatah is in fact parent body of BSO. … The Black September Organization is a cover term for Fatah’s terrorist operations executed by Fatah’s intelligence organization … For all intents and purposes no significant distinction now can be made between the BSO and Fatah.”

So “Black September” was a fiction—so says our own U.S. State Department. It was just another name for Fatah, led by Arafat and Abbas.

And the State Department is not the only source of this information. One of the planners of the attack, Mohammed Oudeh, better known as “Abu Daoud,” was quoted in the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur in 1972 as saying, “There is no such organization as Black September. Fatah announces its own operations under this name so that Fatah will not appear as the direct executor of the operation.”

In his book From Jerusalem to Munich, published in 1999, Daoud wrote that Abbas personally arranged the funding for the Munich attack.

Germany’s commission also needs to examine the phenomenon of how the P.A. today honors and glorifies other senior Fatah terrorists who were involved in organizing the Munich slaughter, such as Amin el-Hindi, Ali Hassan Salameh and Atef Bselso.

El-Hindi was hired by Abbas to serve as director of the P.A.’s General Intelligence division. Salameh has been praised on the Fatah website as a “martyr” (shahid) whose “memory will ‎remain forever in our hearts.” In the P.A. town of El-Bireh (adjacent to the capital city of Ramallah), there is a sports complex called “The Martyr Atef Bselso Auditorium,” and in Gaza there are two schools and a sports stadium named after Salameh.

When Daoud passed away in 2010, Abbas sent his family a telegram of condolences, which read: “The deceased was one of the prominent leaders of the Fatah movement and lived a life filled with the struggle, devoted effort, and the enormous sacrifice of the deceased for the sake of the legitimate problem of his people, in many spheres. He was at the forefront on every battlefield, with the aim of defending the [Palestinian] revolution. What a wonderful brother, companion, tough and stubborn, relentless fighter.”

The German government is not anxious to draw attention to such facts because of Berlin’s strong support for the Palestinian cause.

The German Foreign Ministry’s official website has a section called “Assistance for Palestine,” which states that Germany sends more than $200 million annually to the Palestinian Arabs in order “to promote the institutional development of a future Palestinian state.”

So, there is good reason to ask: Will the Munich panel go wherever the facts lead? Or will political considerations, such as Germany’s relationship with the P.A., influence the panel’s conclusions?

Stephen M. Flatow is an attorney and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.”

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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