Westerwelle on German-Israeli relations

In London, German Foreign Minister (Bundesaußenminister) Guido Westerwelle, has commemorated the Israeli victims of the 1972 Summer Olympic Games. During the attack at the 1972 summer Olympic Games in Munich, eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team and a German policeman were taken hostage and ultimately killed by the Palestinian group Black September.

During his speech at the official commemoration of the Jewish Committee for the Games and at the Israeli National Olympic Committee in London, Westerwelle gave the assurance that Germany 'has not forgotten' the attacks on the Israeli Olympic team and will continue to honour the memories of the victims.

Before the games in London, various groups discussed how best to commemorate the victims. The Israelis, including the widows of the victims, proposed a minute of silence during the opening ceremony but this was rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge.

"The Olympic Games in Munich was the first international event held in Germany since the horrors of the Nazi era", said Westerwelle. "What should have been a joyful occasion was instead, clouded by shock." Not only an attack on the Israeli team but also "an attack on the Olympic values of fairness, mutual respect and peaceful competition," he added.

Westerwelle maintained that Germany must continue to mourn the victims because although it is impossible to bring the dead back to life, it is our responsibility to honour their memories. He went on to say that it is particularly important to remember the attack, as unfortunately, terrorism is not a thing of the past. He alluded to the attacks on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria a few weeks ago as an example of the continued attempts by terrorists wanting to spread hatred and intolerance.

He said that the two countries are friends, and Germany will not stay silent when Israel or its people are threatened. He also went on to stress that the partnership that exists between Germany and Israel is about looking forward to the future.

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