The New York Times review of the forthcoming documentary on the torture and murder of Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games has sparked a surge of interest in that terror attack and its consequences.
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 held low at the sight of their sports heroes who returned home in flag draped caskets, having falling victim to PLO killers.
Yet there was pride in all walks of life when then-Prime Minister Gold Meir announced that the Israeli government had issued a death warrant to kill all those responsible for the Munich massacre. Or, as she put it, to “turn the hunted into prey.”
The Golda Doctrine received adulation from all factions in the Israeli Knesset, where the discussion soon turned into a debate about how to fight the PLO.
MK Ya’acov Hazan, leader of the left-wing Mapam party, stated, “We must not only defend ourselves, but also attack. We must search for the terrorists and kill 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.
And so the decision was made 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.
There is only one PLO leader still at large with blood on his hands from the Munich attack: Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, who planned and financed the Munich attack
Why has Israel let him go unpunished? In Israel, there is no statute of limitations on war crimes.
Meanwhile, 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, and to pay the families of those who have murdered Israelis.