Official Palestinian media has praised a terrorist notorious for orchestrating the kidnapping and murder of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich. Marking last week’s anniversary of his assassination by Mossad, the Palestinian Authority’s official daily called Ali Hassan Salameh “a skilled commander,” and a Fatah Facebook page eulogized him as “exceptional” and a role model “on the path to liberation.”
Salameh, security chief for the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Fatah movement in the 1970s, masterminded the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre on behalf of the PLO’s Black September terrorist group.
The Fatah-dominated PLO was committed to armed struggle against Israeli soldiers and civilians wherever they stood, and regularly carried out terror attacks against Israelis in Israel and abroad.
In the Munich massacre, the Palestinian terrorists initially killed two Israeli athletes and kidnapped another nine. In exchange, they demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, as well as two prominent West German leftist militants.
After a failed attempt by German security forces to retake the hostages, the Palestinians turned their weapons on the Israelis, killing them all.
The Munich attacks horrified the world, drawing international condemnation.
Fatah and Palestinian official media continue to praise Salameh every year on the anniversary of his January 22, 1979 assassination by the Mossad, according to recent reports by Palestinian Media Watch, a non-profit that tracks incitement in Palestinian media.
The official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida called Salameh — also known as Abu Hassan or the Red Prince — a “martyr” and a “skilled commander.”
“Ali Hassan Salameh was characterized by his long arm, which reached across all of Europe, and by great intelligence that enabled him to hunt Mossad agents,” a narrator enthused in a video on a semi-official Fatah Facebook page. “After he was appointed to command the special operations against the Israeli intelligence service in the world, his name was connected to many quality operations, such as sending explosive packages to many Mossad agents in Europe.”
The “explosives packages” appears to be a reference to dozens of letter bombs sent to Israeli diplomats abroad. While most were safely defused, one killed Ami Schechori, an attaché at the Israeli Embassy in the United Kingdom.
“Salameh left a life story that turned him into a symbol of extraordinary security activity. It is still continued by his students and those who love him, who view him as a beacon guiding them on the path to liberation,” the Fatah video said.
“Ali Hassan Salameh — the Palestinian memory refuses to forget this exceptional man — a man who immortalized his name in the history of the Palestinian revolution and his sophisticated intelligence war against the Mossad,” the video concluded.
Fatah officials also praise other members of the Black September cell that carried out the Munich attack, Palestinian Media Watch said this week.
In a post last April, Fatah Central Committee member and former West Bank security chief Tawfiq Tirawi called three other Black September “leaders,” who he said “redeemed Palestine with their souls.”
Salameh, originally from Jaffa, became one of PLO leader and Fatah chief Yasser Arafat’s most trusted lieutenants. Taking charge of Black September organization in the 1970s, he oversaw covert assassinations and the taking of hostages for ransom.
Apart from the Munich attack, Black September also targeted Israeli diplomats and businessmen abroad, killed a Jordanian Prime Minister, and bombed a Dutch synagogue in the 1980s, killing three.
Paradoxically, the mastermind of some of the PLO’s most vicious terror attacks was also Arafat’s pick to conduct unofficial ties with the United States, meeting in Beirut and Baghdad with American diplomats and intelligence agents. Salameh was a backdoor between the Americans and the Palestinians at a time when contact between the terror group and Washington was strictly confidential.
Hunting him down, Mossad agents mistook a Moroccan waiter for Salameh in Norway and accidentally assassinated him in 1973; they were charged in Norwegian court but eventually extradited to Israel.
Salameh was eventually assassinated, allegedly by agents of the Mossad, in Beirut in 1979.