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August 29, 2022 5:49 pm

Germany Expected to Increase Compensation Offer to Relatives of Israeli Athletes Massacred in Munich: Report

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

A plaque commemorating the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Photo: Reuters/Michael Dalder

Germany is planning to increase its compensation offer to relatives of Israeli athletes and coaches massacred on its soil by Palestinian terrorists in 1972, amid a protracted row that threatens to cast a pall over the 50th commemoration of the tragedy next week, according to reports in Israeli media.

Berlin is preparing to make the overture, Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported on Monday, in order to settle a long-running dispute with the families of the 11 members of Israel’s Olympic delegation who were killed by Palestinian terrorists in Munich on September 5, 1972. The attackers infiltrated the Olympic Village and shot dead two members of the Israeli team early in the assault, while another nine were killed during a failed German rescue attempt, along with one German police officer.

Lawyers representing the government and the families are set to meet in Berlin and Munich on Thursday. While details for the new expected offer were not shared, the existing compensation offer is for 5.5 million Euros ($5.5 million), to be divided between more than 20 parties.

A senior German official quoted by Kan nonetheless expressed doubt as to whether a resolution could be reached.

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Ankie Spitzer — a spokesperson for the bereaved families and the widow of Israeli fencing coach Andre Spitzer — last month dismissed Germany’s offer as “insulting.” The families have promised to boycott a memorial ceremony that will be held at the Olympic Park in Munich on September 5 if a resolution is not reached beforehand.

The bereaved families have long been asking for compensation for the massacre — and for the behavior of the German government, who have been widely accused by Israeli officials and German media of significant failings both before, during, and after the event.

Weeks before the massacre, the German Foreign Office and Bavarian state intelligence were made aware of a tip by a German diplomat in Lebanon, who heard that “an incident would be staged” by the Palestinians during the Munich games, according to previously classified documents obtained by the German newspaper Der Spiegel in 2012. Nonetheless, there was a dearth of armed security guards at the Olympic village.

The botched rescue operation carried out by the Germans was also slammed by then Mossad head Zvi Zamir, who was allowed to observe the operation, and on his return to Israel emotionally recounted to then Prime Minister Golda Meir and other ministers “the rejection of his attempts at involvement in the operation, the chaos, the lack of professionalism and the apathy displayed by the German forces,” according to the Israel State Archives. In a subsequent report to Meir on the rescue attempt, Zamir recounted a general picture “of confusion and inaction,” and said the operation was carried out “poorly and ineptly, which led to the tragic outcome.”

German officials were also accused of seeking to avoid “incriminations” and “self-criticism,” and to portray the attackers as more sophisticated than they actually were.

While Germany has previously paid some compensation to relatives of the Israeli victims of the attack, including some $3 million in 2002, the total has fallen far short of the demand of the families, who Spitzer previously said have been asking for years for “normal compensation according to international standards.”

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