Guardian interviewee says terrorist was killed “just for being Palestinian”

Though there is serious disagreement about whether Zwaiter was directly involved in the Munich attack itself, his connection to Fatah/PLO, and his involvement in helping to plot terror attacks more broadly, isn't debatable. Either way, the claim that he was assassinated merely "for being Palestinian" is a flat-out lie.

A Feb. 8th interview in the Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) of Waleed Zuiatar, a US born actor (of Palestinian descent) who stars in the new Channel 4 series Baghdad Central, included the following quote, which went unchallenged by the journalist:

…it’s actually cool now to say you’re Palestinian. I’m very proud of being Palestinian. My father’s cousin, Wael Zwaiter, a poet, was assassinated for being a Palestinian [he is depicted in the Stephen Spielberg film Munich].

In fact, contrary to Waleed’s assertion, his father’s cousin was assassinated by the Mossad in the aftermath of the Munich Massacre due to his reported involvement with Black September, the terror group behind the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.

Here are some good sources:

Yossi Melman and Dan Raviv’s Spies Against Armageddon (pg. 128) notes:

“The first assassination, in October 1972, was that of Adel Wael Zwaiter, a Palestinian intellectual in Rome who worked as a translator for the Libyan embassy but who was a senior coordinator of the PLO/Black September infrastructure. Zwaiter, according to the Mossad’s information, was involved in a failed plot to blow up an El Al airliner.”

Another book by Melman and Raviv on the Mossad, Every Spy a Prince (pg. 186) notes:

“The first to die, in October 1972, was Adel Wael Zwaiter, a Palestinian intellectual in Rome who worked for Black September.”

Ronen Bergman’s Rise and Kill First (pg. 154-155):

“A Bayonet surveillance team was watching Zwaiter the whole time. The Mossad believed that he was not merely a translator–that this was only a cover and that he was, in fact, the commander of Black September operations in Rome. Italy was a particularly weak country when it came to counterterrorism enforcement, and Rome had become the European center of Palestinian terrorist activity at the time. The Mossad thought Zwaiter was responsible for smuggling in personnel and weaponry and selecting targets.”

The Mossad also suspected Zwaiter of having masterminded an attempt in September to plant a bomb on board an El Al flight from Rome. Italian authorities had their suspicions as well: In August, police briefly detained him in connection with Black September attacks against oil companies trading with Israel.”

Michael Bar Bar-Zohar and Eitan Haberbook ‘Massacre in Munich’: The Manhunt for the Killers Behind the 1972 Olympics Massacre, (page 146):

“Zwaiter was a…ruthless killer and terrorist, a former officer in the Razd, and now the head of the Black September operational base in Rome

George Jonas’s Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Intelligence Team, (page 105):

“The Mossad had reason to believe that Wael Zwaiter was one of the major organizers and coordinators of terrorism in Europe.  He was the man responsible, in the Mossad’s view, of the Palestinian hijacking of an El Al plane from Rome to Algeria in 1968…and the August 1972 attempt to blow up another El Al jet…”

Though there is serious disagreement about whether Zwaiter was directly involved in the Munich attack itself, his connection to Fatah/PLO, and his involvement in helping to plot terror attacks more broadly, isn’t debatable .

Either way, the claim that he was assassinated merely “for being Palestinian” is a flat-out lie.

Research assistance by CAMERA colleague Sean Durns

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