Herzliya, June 13 – The attacks that killed 11 Israelis during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games changed not only how Israel deals with terrorism, but forced the world to take action to prevent a reoccurrence, experts said Wednesday at a conference analyzing how governments have dealt with terrorism since then.
“Since then the world view and the issue of security have totally and dramatically changed for Israeli delegations as well as for athletes at Olympic games and other venues,” said the former head of Israel’s national security service, Avi Dichter.
The conference was held with a view to lessons that can be taken for the upcoming London Olympic Games.
After Munich, the next paradigm change in major terrorism came when the Palestinians started using suicide bombers in 1993, and became a worldwide problem after 9/11.
“Suicide bombing dramatically changed the rules of the game,” Dichter said.
At the time of the Munich attack, security forces around the world reacted to terrorism with “astounding amateurism,” said Shabtai Shavit, former head of the Mossad – Israel’s top intelligence service. Since then, he said, governments learned their lessons, do intelligence work and constantly train their forces.
“The world needs to be aware that the intention is there to use the Olympics as a platform, as a theater to demonstrate the agenda of the radical militant terrorists,” said Lior Lotan, former counter-terrorism negotiator for the Israeli army. “The world cannot rest. The world cannot maintain normal daily life because they (terrorists) keep promoting their agenda to destroy this routine.”
British officials said that all security preparations for the London games had been completed and given a successful test-run during the recent celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
“Our security arrangements have been tested and they’ve been drilled and our teams have been coordinated so that we know that by the time the first athletes arrive … we are ready,” said the UK’s Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould. “We have thought of the security from every angle.”