The 45 documents released by the State Archives yesterday are an important, but by no means final, piece of the historic puzzle of the athletes' massacre in Munich in 1972. To complete the picture, documents from the German archives, some of which were recently released in the German media, are required, as well as the documents still hidden in the Mossad and Shin Bet archives.
In addition, parts of the documents released yesterday have been censored.
In Germany, where the media are not subject to military censorship, the documents released in recent months show how the German security forces ignored concrete warnings of a terror attack on the Israeli athletes in the Olympic Village.
They also showed the German government's outrageous obsequiousness to the terrorist leaders after the attack, and its silent agreement with them to stop operating on German soil, in exchange for Germany's diplomatic recognition of the PLO.
The documents released in Israel uncovered additional parts of the German - and Israeli - security fiasco, and exposed the Germans' negligence and ineptitude in the course of the event. The documents show a completely different image of the Germany many Israelis see as an orderly, organized state.
The Israeli and German documents clarify the picture to a large extent, revealing why Germany did not do everything it could to foil the terror attack, rescue the hostages successfully and punish the terrorists after the affair. The reasons for the Germans' conduct are both political and diplomatic. The German documents show the country was sympathetic to the Palestinian national struggle and not all the officials in its foreign ministry saw the attack as a terror act. Some of them saw it as an act of "resistance."
This could explain why the German government did not go out of its way to prevent the attack, or stop it once it began.
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