December 27, 2005

Munich mastermind spurns Spielberg’s peace appeal

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) - The Palestinian mastermind of the Munich
Olympics attack in which 11 Israeli athletes died 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

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 the Jewish state.

"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

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

"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?"


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

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.