JERUSALEM, Israel -- Jabril Rajoub, head of the Olympic committee for the Palestinian Authority, welcomed the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) rejection of a moment of silence to honor Israelis murdered in the Munich massacre.
During week two of the 1972 games, a Palestinian terror cell, calling itself Black September, kidnapped and murdered eleven Israeli athletes and their coaches. Relatives of those who were killed wanted to honor their memory on the 40th anniversary of the attack with a moment of silence. But the committee refused.
"We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic accident," IOC President Jacques Rogge said at a press conference last weekend, referring to what most others call a "massacre."
As for the man representing Palestinian Olympic hopefuls, apparently a moment of silence to honor their memory is cause for "divisiveness" and "racism."
Rajoub, former head of security for the late Yasser Arafat and a senior member of the Palestinian Authority's Fatah faction, sent IOC President Jacque Rogge a thank you letter, Ynet reported.
"Sport is a bridge for love, unification and for spreading peace among the nations," Rajoub wrote. "It must not be a cause for divisiveness and for the spreading of racism."
On the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacre, Ankie Spitzer, widow of slain Israeli fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, says the athletes who were murdered at an Olympic venue "should be honored there."
Spitzer and Ilana Romano, who also lost her husband at the games, are hoping the audience will stand to honor the athletes' memory when Rogge takes the podium on opening night.
A Brief Look Back
During the attack 40 years ago, the terrorists demanded the release of 234 Arab prisoners serving time in Israeli jails as well as members of the Red Army Faction incarcerated in Germany.
In the German rescue attempt, police killed five of the terrorists. Three were captured and released five years later when another Palestinian terror cell associated with the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) hijacked a Lufthansa jetliner in October 1977.