The Palestinian Authority has thanked the International Olympic Committee for refusing to hold a minute of silence at Friday’s opening ceremony in London to mark the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli sportsmen at the 1972 Munich Games.

Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Federation, sent a letter to IOC chairman Jacques Rogge thanking him for his position, the PA’s official news agency, Wafa, reported.

“Sports is a bridge for love, connection and relaying peace between peoples.
It should not be a factor for separation and spreading racism between peoples,” Rajoub, a former PA security commander, wrote in his letter.

Wafa said that he sent the letter to the IOC chairman on Tuesday.

A senior PA official in Ramallah confirmed that Rajoub had sent the letter and said that the Palestinians were opposed to “Israel’s attempts to exploit the Olympic Games for propaganda purposes.”

A senior government official responded to the Palestinian letter by saying that “if the leadership of the PA is not willing to disassociate itself from its terrorist past, and is unwilling to see the Munich massacre as a brutal act of terrorism, then in Israeli eyes there will be big questions regarding their true commitment to peace and reconciliation.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon condemned the PA for terming as “racist” a moment of silence for the Israeli victims.

“No, the murder of Israelis because they are Israelis is racist, not the request to dignify and honor them,” Ayalon wrote on Facebook. “On the other hand, Palestinian Authority media refer to Munich terrorists as ‘stars’ whose path should be followed.”

“Now, more than ever, there needs to be a minute silence, not just to honor the eleven slain Israeli athletes but also to demonstrate opposition to those who laud murderers as heroes and call on others to follow suit.”

Herb Keinon and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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