Palestinian Architect of Munich Attack Slams Spielberg's Film

Mohammed Daoud says has no regrets over attack, thinks new film would not deliver reconciliation.

The Palestinian mastermind of the Munich Olympics attack in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed said on Tuesday he had no regrets and that Steven Spielberg's new film about the incident would not deliver reconciliation.

The Hollywood director has called "Munich," which dramatizes the 1972 raid and Israel's reprisals against members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), his "prayer for peace."

Mohammed Daoud planned the Munich attack on behalf of PLO splinter group Black September, but did not take part and does not feature in the film.

He voiced outrage at not being consulted for the thriller and accused Spielberg of pandering to Israel.

"If he really wanted to make it a prayer for peace he should have listened to both sides of the story and reflected reality, rather than serving the Zionist side alone," Daoud told Reuters by telephone from the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Daoud said he had not seen the film, which will only reach most screens outside the United States next month.

But he noted that Spielberg arranged previews in Israel, where some have accused "Munich" of lacking historical accuracy.

Several Israeli historians have also complained about what they see as a moral symmetry in the film between slain Olympians and the Palestinians assassinated by the Mossad spy service.

"Spielberg showed the movie to widows of the Israeli victims, but he neglected the families of Palestinian victims," said Daoud. "How many Palestinian civilians were killed before and after Munich?"

Mossad assassins The Munich attack was "one of the pivotal moments of modern terrorism" he told Los Angeles Times in rare interview last week.

Daoud used different terms.

"We did not target Israeli civilians," he said.

"Some of them [the athletes] had taken part in wars and killed many Palestinians. Whether a pianist or an athlete, any Israeli is a soldier."

Spielberg's producer, Kathleen Kennedy, told a preview audience at Princeton University that a Palestinian consultant was used for "Munich." She did not say who it was.

"I do feel that we spent an enormous amount of time in discussion and put effort into exploring a fair and balanced look at the Palestinians that were involved in the story," she said, according to an official transcript of the event.

Historians noted that "Munich" presents Mossad assassins as having hunted 11 members of the PLO, while other accounts put the final Palestinian toll at as many as 18.

Daoud survived a 1981 shooting in Poland that he blamed on a Mossad mole in the rival Palestinian faction of Abu Nidal.

Though Israel allowed him to visit the occupied West Bank after 1993 peace accords, and Mossad veterans say the reprisals are over, Daoud said he feels he could still be targeted.

"When I chose a long time ago to be a revolutionary fighter I prepared to be a martyr. I am not afraid, because people's souls are in God's hands, not Israel's," he said.