by David Bedein
The New York Times review of the forthcoming documentary "Munich 1972 and Beyond", the story of the horrendous murder of eleven defenseless Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and the release of information by two of their widows on the torture and mutilation they suffered has sparked a surge of interest in that terror attack and its consequences.
Israel did not sit idly by when, after the horrific Munich massacre, Germany released the imprisoned terrorists in order to save the passengers on a hijacked Lufthansa flight. It has not, however, finished the job.
At the time, I was a student in Jerusalem, following every horrific moment of the unfolding story on the radio into the wee hours of the night. It is hard to forget the young people in Israel with their heads bowed at the sight of their sports heroes returned home in flag draped caskets, having fallen victim to the bestial PLO killers.
Yet there was pride in all walks of life in Israel when then Prime Minister Golda Meir announced that the Israeli government had issued a death warrant to kill all those responsible for the Munich killings, to "turn the hunted into prey" :
That Golda Doctrine received support and even adulation from the entire Knesset.
Documents released by the Israeli government from the Israeli Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting after the Munich attacks focused on the discussion about how to fight the PLO.
MK Yaacov Hazan, leader of the left wing Mapam party, argued that this was a difficult war like all wars, and therefore: “We must not only defend ourselves, but also attack. We must search for the terrorists and kill them. We must change them from hunters to prey”.
Subsequent debates in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on the subject of the war on terrorism were held with the participation of Prime Minister Meir, on October 24th, 1972 . On November 3rd, 1972, the Knesset committee resumed debate, after a Lufthansa hijacking which resulted in West Germany releasing the Munich terrorists
The session was held in a heated atmosphere, and it was agreed that the time had come, as suggested by Hazan, to change the role of the terrorists from "hunters to hunted," and to do so in cooperation with local security forces; and if this was not possible, "without them".
Likud opposition leader Menachem Begin proposed creating a special unit for the war on terror, and recruiting the best people who had dealt in covert operations in the past, such as [future prime minister] Yitzhak Shamir, Isser Harel and others. “If, in fact, we do this, we can change the situation in a short time. It doesn’t require many years until we eliminate them to a great extent”, he said.
Israeli left wing Labor icon Lova Eliav argued that Israel must hit not only the terrorists in the UNRWA refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, as was done immediately following the Munich massacre, but also their leaders.
And so the decision was taken, by the Israeli government, with the support of the Knesset, to hunt down and kill all leaders responsible for the Munich attacks.
And that is what Israel did, killing off one PLO leader after another responsible for the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich.
All but one. There is one PLO leader still at large, with blood on his hands from the Munich attack: Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, the man who, it has been proven, planned and financed the barbaric Munich attack
No new Israeli government decision would be necessary to target Abbas, as a memorial to the eleven Israeli athletes, whose murder he arranged.
In Israel, there is no statute of limitations on war crimes.
Abbas has never expressed any remorse for his actions in Munich. Instead, Abbas makes it his policy to laud those who murder Israelis in terror acts, name streets and schools after them, and, as has now been revealed, allocates funds to remunerate those who serve life terms for conducting cold blooded murders of Israelis.
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