Israelis call for protest at opening ceremony


FAMILIES OF some of the 11 Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games have called for a public protest in the stadium during Friday’s opening ceremony in London after an official memorial was ruled out.

Ankie Spitzer, whose husband Andre was killed, and Ilana Romano, who lost her husband, Youssef, presented a petition signed by 103,000 people calling for a minute’s silence to remember the 40-year-old atrocity.

However, Mr Rogge told them that his “hands were tied”, the two women said later, who branded the International Olympic Committee as “chickens and cowards” and “hiding behind tricks” to avoid marking the deaths.

On Monday, Mr Rogge told a press conference that the 11 Israelis had believed in the Olympic vision.

“They came to Munich in the spirit of peace and solidarity. We owe it to them to keep the spirit alive and to remember them.”

IOC leaders will travel to Munich in early September to lay wreaths at Furstenfeldbruck, the military airport where many of the athletes were killed during a failed attempt by German police to rescue the Israelis.

However, it is reluctant to do more, fearing that a one-minute’s silence would provoke a last-minute diplomatic crisis from Iran and Arab states at a Games which has remained remarkably free of such incidents up to now.

Australian and Canadian MPs have voted to support the calls for a one minute’s silence, though a motion in the House of Commons attracted the signatures of less than 60 MPs.

Interestingly, the Israeli government has not called for it to be held.

Still unhappy after she had presented the petition, Mrs Spitzer said: “I have told Rogge to make a stand, make history. He told me his hands were tied. I said, ‘My husband’s hands and feet were tied when he was taken hostage and murdered at the Olympics’.

“He does not have the balls to make a stand. The whole leadership should take a responsible moral stand and say, ‘Not on my turf’. But they are chickens and cowards.

“There is not going to be an attack or boycott just because they say, ‘Let us not forget what happened in Munich’,” she said.

Meanwhile, the British government, which said yesterday that the next 48 hours would be “absolutely critical”, has decided to go to the High Court today to try to stop tomorrow’s strike at British airports by immigration officers.

The Home Office said it would be seeking an injunction to stop the Public Commercial Services union strike – which was decided on a 20% vote – because it believed that ‘procedural errors’ had been made in the postal ballot.

If the government wins the High Court injunction, then the PCS – which is one of the most vocal in opposition to spending cuts – would be obliged to re-ballot members, thus preventing a strike taking place during the Olympic period.

Meanwhile, the police’s National Olympic Co-Ordinator, Assistant Chief Constable Chris Allison has issued a warning to the public to beware of fraud and not to buy tickets from ‘anything other than a guaranteed Olympics ticket-seller’.