The 1972 Munich Massacre Wei Xiang Bryan Jie Yang
Black September • Arabic name: منظمة أيلول الأسود • Said to be controlled by Fatah • A left wing Palestinian political party • Led by Yasser Arafat • Found to avenge the loss of Jordan and more directly target Israelis by terrorist means • Most notorious for the Munich Massacre • Also responsible for other terrorist movements such as the assassination of Jordan’s Prime Minister
Overview • The 1972 Munich Olympic Games were into their 2nd week • Lax security in the athlete’s village • Israeli athletes housed in an isolated part of the village
Demands and Negotiations • At 6 p.m. , the terrorists demanded transportation to Cairo. • Germany feigned agreement though Egypt made it clear that it did not want to be involved.
Rescue Plan • Five German snipers were selected to ambush the terrorists around the airport. • A Boeing 727 jet was positioned on the tarmac with five or six armed German police. • When some of the terrorists inspect the plane, the plan was that the Germans would overpower the two terrorists as they boarded, giving the snipers a chance to kill the remaining terrorists at the helicopters.
But… • They discovered that there were more terrorists than expected. • At the last minute, the German police abandoned the mission without consulting the central command. • The five snipers were left to overpower a larger and more heavily armed group of terrorists.
Aftermath • 11 Israeli athletes and coaches and one West German police officer killed. • 29 October, hijackers of a German jet demanded release of the 3 surviving terrorists. Germany promptly released them.
Operation Wrath of God • Israel authorized the Mossad to track down and kill those allegedly responsible for the Munich massacre. • A wave of assassinations of suspected Black September operatives began across Europe. • Intended to exact vengeance for the families of the athletes killed in Munich
Cause: Israeli-Palestinian conflict • In 1968, Palestine attacked Israel numerous times from Jordan, leading to retaliation from Israel. • In the late 1960s, tensions between Palestinians and the Jordanian government increased greatly • In July 1971, Jordan expulsed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to Lebanon
Cause: Israeli-Palestinian conflict • Many Palestinians immigrated to Lebanon after Black September. • A 1969 agreement known as the Cairo agreement granted them autonomy within the south region of Lebanon. • The PLO launched rocket attacks at Israel villages from South Lebanon.
Cause: Israeli-Palestinian conflict • Early 1970s, Palestinian terror organizations waged an international campaign against Israelis in Europe. • To publicize the Palestinian cause, they carried out various acts of terrorism, such as the Munich massacre.
Lessons • Terrorism has political motives. • Israeli-Palestinian conflict • Governments can make use of terrorist organizations to push through their objectives against other countries.
Lessons • The terrorists succeeded in their plan due to lax security in the area. • Letting down their guard • Reminds us that the threat of terrorism is real • Never drop your guard • Especially when Singapore is as vulnerable as other countries