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After 50 years, Munich Olympics massacre still a “quality operation” in PA narrative

Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |

  • PA: Munich Olympics massacre planners “presented the most spectacular aspects of pride, glory, and loyalty… they will always be [our] compass” 

  • PA: Director of attack “was connected to many quality operations”   

  • PA: Black September terrorists “gave the revolution… sacrifice and heroism,” they “must have constant presence and special status in our people’s memory” 

  • Fatah official: Black September terrorist was “specialized in commanding quality operations” and “became a giant”  

  • Fatah praises mastermind of Munich Olympics massacre as “symbol” and for “planning and directing” the attack 

  • Top PA official defends glorification of mass murderers – including Munich attack planner – because they are “stars” 

Fifty years ago today, the world was shocked when Palestinian terrorists from Fatah’s terror organization Black September broke into the athletes' village at the Munich Olympics on Sept. 5, 1972, kidnapped, and ultimately murdered 11 Israeli athletes and coaches. Still today, the attack remains a dark stain on the Olympics and has settled in the collective global memory as an illustration of the horrors of terrorism. 

In Palestinian ideology and memory the attack is just the opposite. It is a source of pride and honor, and PA and Fatah leaders glorify the murderous attack and revere its planners as “heroes” and role models.  

When PA and Fatah Chairman Mahmoud Abbas recently refused to apologize for the Munich massacre during a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Schulz when a journalist asked him to, Palestinian Media Watch published examples and pointed out that Abbas’ reaction was not surprising at all. Rather it was an expected expression of PA and Fatah ideology. The PA and Fatah are proud of the Munich attack, which ranks among the top “quality operations” and most “successful” terror attacks in Palestinian history.  

The following are additional PA/Fatah outpourings of praise and admiration from the last 3 years for the terrorists and their act of murdering the 11 Israeli athletes: 

  • PA: Black September terrorists “gave the revolution… sacrifice and heroism,” they “must have constant presence and special status in our people’s memory” 

Official PA TV News, on the anniversary of the death of Salah Khalaf “Abu Iyad,” head of the Black September terror organization

Official PA TV reporter: “The 31st anniversary of the death as a Martyr of the three Fatah leaders Salah Khalaf, Hayel Abd Al-Hamid (i.e., one of the founders of Fatah), and Fakhri Al-Omari – who gave the Palestinian revolution a large measure of sacrifice and heroism – the Insan National Action Association, the “Set Your Goal” organization, and the Fatah Movement’s Jenin branch marked the anniversary under the auspices of the Rumana village council…

These activities were carried out with the participation of official and popular bodies and included planting olive trees named after the three Martyrs… They are among the movement’s most important patriotic schools that must have a constant presence and a special status in our people’s memory.” 

[Official PA TV News, Jan. 11, 2022] 

  • Black September terrorist “specialized in commanding quality operations” and “became a giant,” says Fatah official 

Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki: “Brother [Ali Hassan Salameh] ‘Abu Hassan’ - may Allah have mercy on him - specialized in commanding quality operations (i.e., terror attacks), and he had cells that he deployed in the European states. He is the one who invented letter bombs... From this point they [Israel] started to worry about him, and he started to hunt senior officials from the Israeli Mossad (Israeli Secret Intelligence Service) … He connected himself to the Fatah Movement and became a giant despite his young age.” 

[Facebook page of Fatah-run Awdah TV, Jan. 22, 2022] 

  • PA: Munich Olympics massacre planners “presented the most spectacular aspects of pride, glory, and loyalty… they will always be [our] compass” 

Official PA TV reporter: “48 years have passed since the assassination of the three commanders (i.e., Black September terror organization members) Abu Yusuf Al-Najjar, Kamal Nasser, and Kamal Adwan… The night of April 10, 1973, has become a painful memory due to the loss of three of the most prominent leaders of the Palestinian revolution, through whose death as Martyrs the Fatah Movement and the revolution presented the most spectacular aspects of pride, glory, and loyalty… The bodies of the three righteous Martyrs disappeared from the scene of the Palestinian revolution that is continuing generation after generation to remove the occupation and take our legitimate Palestinian rights [from it], while the stories of [their] lives that emit a pleasant aroma remain present, so that they will always be the compass of preserving the national principles.” 

[Official PA TV News, April 10, 2021] 

  • PA: Director of Munich Olympics massacre “was connected to many quality operations”

Official PA TV reporter: “[Ali Hassan Salameh] joined the Fatah Movement in Cairo... He was also given command of the special operations (i.e., terror attacks) against the occupation worldwide, and his name was connected to many quality operations… Black September changed the rules of the game, especially after the Munich operation (i.e., murder of 11 Israeli athletes), which Israel exploited to justify a series of assassinations against the Palestinians, including commander Ali Hassan Salameh.” 

[Official PA TV News, Jan. 22, 2021] 

  • Fatah praises mastermind of Munich Olympics massacre as “symbol” and for “planning and directing” the attack 

Posted text: “Abu Daoud " 

Text on screen: “At first glance, one might think this image is taken from a scene in a movie. But in fact, it [shows] one of the symbols of the Palestinian revolution: Muhammad Daoud Oudeh ‘Abu Daoud.’ A member of the Fatah Movement Revolutionary Council and the PLO National Council. He joined the ranks of Fatah early, in 1964… and became a member of the leading group in the Palestinian security establishment… He took part in establishing the Black September organization (i.e., Fatah terror organization). He participated in planning and directing the Munich operation in 1972 whose target was the Israeli occupation delegation participating in the Olympics.”  

[Official Fatah Facebook page, April 18, 2021]

  • Top PA official defends glorification of mass murderers – including Munich attack planner – because they are “stars” 

Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub: “Someone said [about us]: ‘They are praising the Martyrs.’ Okay, sure! We are their followers. We are their soldiers. We were educated in their schools… Sure, I praise Abu Jihad, Abu Iyad (i.e., terrorists who planned numerous attacks), Yasser Arafat, and all these stars who are the ones who broke down all the obstacles, broke through all the barriers, and created the Palestinian nationalism for us. Why should we not praise them?” 

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Feb. 21, 2021]

  • Official PA daily venerates “the Red Prince” - his name is “connected to many quality operations” including “the Munich operation” 

Headline: “41 years since the death as a Martyr of the Red Prince [Ali Hassan Salameh]” 

“At 3:37 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 22, 1979, a powerful explosion rocked Beirut, and the target was Palestinian leader Martyr Ali Hassan Salameh ‘Abu Hassan’ (i.e., commander of operations of the Black September terror organization). 

Salameh died as a Martyr together with four of those accompanying him after then [Israeli] occupation Prime Minister Golda Meir said: ‘Find this monster and kill him’ (sic., PMW could find no record of such a statement) … 

His [Salameh’s] name is connected to many quality operations (i.e., terror attacks), such as sending explosive packages from Amsterdam to many Mossad agents (Israeli Secret Intelligence Service) in Europe… and also the Munich operation that was carried out by the Black September organization, which kidnapped a number of Israeli athletes and killed some of them.” 

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 23, 2020] 

The above quotes are only a few representative examples from the last 3 years of the PA and Fatah’s decades-long tradition of expressing esteem for the Munich Olympics massacre and its perpetrators. The next few days will show how and to what extent the PA and Fatah will be celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the lethal attack.  

The following are additional facts about some of the terrorists of Black September involved in the Munich Olympics terror attack:

Salah Khalaf “Abu Iyad” - Palestinian terrorist, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat’s deputy, one of the founders of Fatah, and head of the terror organization Black September, a secret branch of Fatah. Attacks he planned include the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics (Sept. 5, 1972) and the murder of two American diplomats in Sudan (March 1, 1973). It is commonly assumed that his assassin, a former Fatah bodyguard, was sent by the Abu Nidal Organization, a rival Palestinian faction. 

Ali Hassan Salameh - Palestinian terrorist and commander of operations in Europe of the Black September terror organization - a secret branch of Fatah - in the 1970s. He planned many terror attacks, including the attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics on Sept. 5, 1972, in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered. Salameh was killed by a car bomb in Beirut on Jan. 22, 1979. Israel is thought to be responsible for his death, but has not officially taken responsibility for it. 

Fakhri Al-Omari – Fatah member and a founding member of the Black September terror organization, a secret branch of Fatah, and top aide to Salah Khalaf, one of the founders of Fatah and the head of Black September. Fatah has credited Al-Omari with being the one who conceived the idea of the Munich Olympics massacre in which 11 Israeli Olympic athletes were murdered on Sept. 5, 1972, and stated that he participated in its planning. Al-Omari and Salah Khalaf were assassinated on Jan. 14, 1991 by Khalaf's bodyguard, who it is commonly assumed was recruited to do so by the Abu Nidal Organization, a rival Palestinian faction. 

Abu Yusuf Al-Najjar - was Arafat's deputy and among the founders of Fatah. He was the Commander of Al-Asifa, Fatah’s military unit, and member of Fatah’s Central Committee and PLO’s Executive Committee. He also was the Commander of Operations of the terror organization Black September, a secret branch of Fatah, and involved in the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics (Sept. 5, 1972). He was killed by Israel in 1973. 

Kamal Adwan and Kamal Nasser were both senior members of Black September, a secret branch of Fatah, who were killed by Israeli forces in April 1973. Kamal Nasser was also the spokesperson for the PLO and Fatah. Kamal Adwan was responsible for Fatah terrorist operations in Israel. 

Muhammad Daoud Oudeh – “Abu Daoud” - Member of the terror organization Black September, a secret branch of Fatah, and mastermind of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in the Munich Olympics massacre on Sept. 5, 1972. 

Khalil Al-Wazir – “Abu Jihad” - was a founder of Fatah and deputy to Yasser Arafat. He headed the PLO terror organization's military wing and planned many deadly Fatah terror attacks in the 1960’s - 1980’s, in which a total of 125 Israelis were murdered. Attacks included the most lethal in Israeli history - the hijacking of a bus and murder of 37 civilians, 12 of them children.