LONDON - The Palestinians are praising the International Olympic Committee's decision not to hold a moment of silence in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered in the 1972 Munich Olympics in the London Games' opening ceremony, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.
Jibril Rajoub, chairman of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, sent a thank you letter to IOC President President Jacques Rogge.
In the letter, published by the Palestinian newspaper al-Hayat al-Jadida, Rajoub noted his appreciation for the position adopted by Rogge.
"Sport is a bridge for love, unification and for spreading peace among the nations," he wrote. "It must not be a cause for divisiveness and for the spreading of racism."
Just a few hours before the official launch of the Olympic games the Israeli embassy in London on Friday held a memorial ceremony for the 11 Israeli athletes.
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Held in the presence of Ambassador Daniel Taub, the ceremony ended with a moment of silence for the victims, in protest over the IOC's decision not to hold a similar moment at the Olympic opening ceremonies.
Ambassador Taub expressed his hope that the London Games are successful and referring to the Munich Massacre, remarked that less than three decades after the Holocaust, Israel was forced to see the murder of Jews on German soil.
He stressed that the massacre was not just an Israeli tragedy, but an attack against the Olympic games themselves as well as peace, friendship and solidarity.
One of the attendees noted it was a disgrace that the IOC could not "find one minute" to dedicate to the memory of the slain athletes.
The murdered athletes families have in the past few weeks tried to promote an official commemoration of the massacre at the Olympics opening ceremonies and the Foreign Ministry supported their efforts but the Olympic committee rejected their requests claiming it was "inappropriate."
US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the request to hold a moment of silence to mark the 40th anniversary of the murder of the Israeli athletes at the hands of Palestinian terrorists
Meanwhile, widows of two Israeli Olympians killed by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics are calling on spectators to stage a silent protest during the opening of the London games.
Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano are asking audience members to stand in silence when International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge rises to speak at Friday's ceremony.
Spitzer, widow of fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, who died in the Munich attack, said the Israeli athletes "were killed at an Olympic venue. They should be honored there.
AP, Nadav Zenziper, Rona Zinman and Gilad Morag contributed to this report