1972, Munich, West Germany: Members of an ‘unknown’ radical, Palestinian faction called the Black September Organization (منظمة أيلول الأسود) take athletes from the Israeli Olympics team as hostages. Following a standoff between German authorities and Black September, the West-German police attempt to rescue the Israeli athletes but fail to do so resulting in the execution of the eleven Israeli athletes and coaches. In a firefight, five Black September militants were killed along with one police officer. Although the Fatah denies it had any involvement, Black September claims it received certain instruction from the Fatah.
This shocking event became known as the Munich Massacre and provoked the state of Israel to promptly launch military operations into Lebanon. Israel had also launched the infamous Operation Wrath of God which assassinated dozens of individuals associated with Black September across Europe and the Middle East with the hands of the Mossad. Consequently, Black September retaliated, its actions in 1972 however, alone catapulted the militant organization to worldwide recognition.
Later and Now: After some time, a man claimed responsibility for planning the Munich massacre. Mohammad Oudeh, also known as Abu Daoud, a key leader in Palestinian resistance against Israel had led Black September and was the mastermind behind the planning of the Munich massacre and said so in his 1999 autobiography, “Palestine: From Jerusalem to Munich”.
Mohammad Oudeh died on July 3rd at the age of 73. He was rushed to the Andalus Hospital in Damascus according to his daughter. The doctors say he died of kidney failure. Before he had died, he had consented to some interviews where he denied that Palestinians such as he were terrorists. Oudeh stated that the Munich massacre “wasn’t intended” but intended the Israeli athletes to be hostages so some 200 Palestinians could be exchanged for the athletes. He stated that he had no regrets over the athletes’ deaths.
It could’ve worked out, had not the Israeli government refused to negotiate. Ever since he was born in a Jerusalem of the 1930′s, Oudeh had grown up in an environment of violence. He, among thousands of Palestinians, were forced to move into refugee camps or ”towns” that many argue are worse than South Africa’s shanty towns. Later, Oudeh joined the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization).
Oudeh was only one of the two militants believed to have survived the purges of Operation Wrath of God. The other being Jamal Al-Gashey, former member of Black September who had actually participated in the execution of the Israeli athletes. Before he had died, Abu Daoud defiantly stated that although he will no longer be able to fight Israel, his “grandsons and their grandsons” will keep on fighting.
After news of Oudeh’s death spread, the PA’s (Palestinian Authority) President Mahmoud Abbas sent condolences in the form of a letter to Oudeh’s surviving family members including his five daughters and single son.
Abbas’ letter assumedly said, “He was one of the leading figures of Fatah and spent his life in resistance and sincere work as well as physical sacrifice for his people’s just causes”. Many see the condolences as controversial but Mahmoud Abbas is the PLO Chairman and had provided funds for Oudeh’s operation in the Munich massacre and was close to him.
Mohammad Oudeh’s funeral was held in the Yarmouk refugee camp. A Palestinian flag adorned his coffin. Around four hundred mourners participated in the mourning by lamenting the loss of a leader, waving Palestinian flags, and chanting nationalistic slogans. His remains are to be buried in the Martyrs Cemetary.