Who murdered the athletes of the Israeli 1972 Olympic Team in Munich?
A closer look at the history of Israel-Palestine conflict reveals that both the parties have done horrendous acts of terror in order to achieve their political and military goals. On September 5, 1972, five Palestinian Arabs entered the Olympic Village in Munich, Germany and were joined by three others who had gained access to the village through some means. In the 24 hours that followed, a German policeman and eleven Israelis were killed along with five Arabs. The attackers made nine Israelis hostage and demanded the release of 234 Arab prisoners from Israeli jails and two Arabs imprisoned in Frankfurt. Their demands also included giving them a safe passage out of Germany.
The negotiations went on for hours between the German authorities and the Arabs after which a deal was made. The Arabs were taken to the NATO air base in Firstenfeldbruck by bus. Two helicopters were arranged there to take them to the plane which was scheduled to leave for Cairo. However, the deal was a part of rescue operation as German sharpshooters were positioned on the air base with orders to shoot the kidnappers without targeting the hostages. In what turned out to be the most dramatic and shocking act of violence, all of hostages in two helicopters were shot down in an exchange of fire between Arabs and the Germans. German police captured three of the attackers and held them in Germany. These attackers were later released when the Palestinians hijacked a Lufthansa jet on October 29 and demanded the release of prisoners of Munich incident.
The attack on the Olympic Village is said to be carried out by Fatah on the orders of PLO’s leader, Yasser Arafat. However, it was later revealed that the attackers actually belonged to a group called Black September which was a faction working independently from PLO. This extremist group was of the view that PLO is not working fast enough to liberate Palestine, so it was showing off its image as a part of PLO only to damage its international standing and political interests.
Israel retaliated to this incident on a more massive level. Only three days later, Israel launched an air strike with a launch of around 75 aircraft, the largest one since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Moreover, fighter bombers targeted Palestinians guerrilla members in Syria and Lebanon which killed nearly 66 while many other were badly injured. Besides this, three Syrian planes were also destroyed over the Golan Heights. All this action was called upon by the Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir who gave the instructions to kill the Palestinians who were involved in the Munich attack. These operations were called Operation Wrath of God and Operation Spring of Youth where the suspected Palestinians were spotted and killed by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, but historians object that it mainly picked innocent civilians to unleash a new wave on terror in Palestine.