Preventive Measures and we’ll do it again, if we have to

The former head of the Mossad espionage agency, Zvi Zamir, debunks myths and beliefs that have taken root as facts in the public consciousness. No, he says. The assassinations of Palestinian terrorists after the 1972 Munich Olympics were not an act of revenge. “There was no order given by Golda [Meir, the prime minister at the time] to exact revenge,” he emphasizes. It was less a case of looking for those who had been involved in the attack, he explains, and more a desire to strike at the infrastructure of the terrorist organizations in Europe. “We reached the conclusion that we had no choice but to start with preventive measures,” Zamir says, because “Israeli civilians in their travels abroad, and Israeli installations, were not protected and even when the European authorities arrested the terrorists, they immediately surrendered to their entreaties and demands, and released them. As far as the terrorist organizations and groups were concerned, there was no risk for them in attacking Israeli targets.” “Munich was a shock for us. A turning point….Now it was clear to everyone…that the Europeans would not do what was called for.” “There is no defense without an offensive foundation. We…viewed this as part of the defensive alignment and deterrence that would put an end to open Palestinian terrorism in Europe. And I think that in the war which developed in the wake of Munich, we succeeded.” “It was not just 10 or 12 Mossad people…who brought about order in Europe. Gradually it became clear to the local services that it is their duty to fight terrorism and put an end to it. It was joint work.” Zamir believes that the film “Munich” does an injustice to Mossad personnel, to Israel, and to the struggle against terrorism. “The film has not done well in Israel, and rightly so. The Israelis, who understand the subject, know that the film does not reflect what really happened.”

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