`Israel blamed Germans for Munich crisis`

Archived documents allege that Germany did not make efforts to save the lives of 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian militants.

Updated: Sep 01, 2012, 09:35 AM IST

Jerusalem: In a scathing criticism of German security forces` role in 1972 Munich Olympics crisis, archived documents released by Israel allege that Germany did not even make a "minimal effort" to save the lives of 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian militants.

The documents, released 40 years after the incident, include statements by then Mossad chief Tzvi Zamir, who returned from Munich after the massacre and told Prime Minister Golda Meir and senior ministers "of the apathy and lack of professionalism displayed by German authorities".

"They didn`t make even a minimal effort to save lives, didn`t take even a minimal risk to save people, neither their`s nor ours", Zamir had said, adding that Germany`s main interest was for the Olympics to continue.

The documents from the archives were translated to English and sent to Germany, Arutz Sheva reported.

Zamir also alleged that Germany made little effort to catch the terrorists or even determine how many were there as they left the Olympic Village after the massacre.

The rescue operation resulted in all the hostages being killed along with a West German policeman and five of the eight hostage-takers, members of the Palestinian militant group Black September.

Gunmen broke into the Israeli team`s apartment at the Olympic village, immediately killing two of the athletes and taking nine others hostage to demand the release of 232 Palestinian prisoners.

The released documents include Foreign Ministry cables, cabinet meeting minutes, defence files and exchanges between German and Israeli officials. They also show evidence of failures by the Israeli security forces.

The official inquiry at the time criticised "lack of clarity, failures and contradictory procedures”, blaming specifically the head of security at the Israeli embassy.

Germany said afterwards that it was not possible to prevent the attack even if it had advanced information of an attempt to gun down Israeli athletes, the report said.

The released information also indicates that German authorities ignored advance knowledge of terrorist plots at the Games. Three of the attackers, who were later arrested, were also released in a deal following hijacking of a Lufthansa plane.

Meanwhile, German publication Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday that its government documents reveal that Germany appeased militants, with whom there were secret contacts for years, even after the massacre.

Mossad agents killed three of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) militants in a daring middle-of-the-night raid in Beirut.

However, the German ambassador to Lebanon reportedly said afterwards that the militants who were killed were among the most "rational and responsible" members of the PLO.

During the six months between the massacre and the revenge attack in Beirut, German officials were conducting secret negotiations with the Munich Massacre masterminds to promote the PLO`s desire for international PLO, Der Spiegel reported.

Nevertheless, PLO militants continued their terror and hijacked the Lufthansa flight after the Israeli raid in Beirut and secured the release of three Munich Massacre militants, the report said.

The development comes on the heels of heated debate over calls for the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony holding a minute`s silence for the slain Israeli athletes.

The International Olympic Committee instead held a minute`s silence at the unveiling of a Truce Wall in London, but in the absence of any Israeli representation.