Munich `terrorist' wants Israeli travel ban lifted

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The Independent Online
ABU DAOUD, the Palestinian who masterminded the hostage taking at the Munich Olympics in 1972, in which 11 Israeli athletes died, wants the Israeli courts to force the state to admit him to Arab enclaves.

Memories of the events in Munich 27 years ago were fading until recently, when Abu Daoud published a book entitled Palestine: From Jerusalem to Munich, in which he spelt out his part in the affair. The publication led the Munich district attorney to issue an international arrest and extradition warrant for him last weekend.

The Israeli government is not eager to arrest him since these days Abu Daoud is committed to peace with Israel. But Benjamin Netanyahu, the outgoing prime minister, told the security services not to let him enter Palestinian- controlled areas and revoked his VIP pass, issued by the Israeli government.

For the past three years Abu Daoud, 64, whose real name is Mohammed Daoud Odeh, has lived in Ramallah, north of Jerusalem, and travelled to other autonomous Palestinian areas on the VIP pass, which he held as a senior Palestinian official.

Abu Daoud declares himself outraged. He says he has worked tirelessly for the peace process for three years. "Is this the reward I deserve for coming back in order to promote peace? It's totally illogical. Almost every Palestinian official bears some respon- sibility for Munich," he says. He believes that the accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority of Yassir Arafat contain a blanket pardon.

In his book, Abu Daoud reveals he was a leader of "Black September", a unit of the Palestine Liberation Organisation that carried out assassinations and bomb attacks. In 1972, Black September took Israeli athletes hostage at the Munich Olympics, demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Two of the athletes were killed in the Olympic village, but nine others died during a bungled rescue attempt, with five Palestinian gunmen and a German policeman.