JERUSALEM (Oct. 31)
West German Chancellor Willy Brandt’s scheduled visit to Israel may be postponed or cancelled because of Bonn’s decision to free the three Munich terrorists, sources here said today. Brandt’s visit was tentatively set for Dec. on the assumption that he wins the general elections in West Germany Nov. 19, The visit was arranged before the release of the three terrorists implicated in the Sept. 5 murders of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes.
(In Bonn today, the deputy government spokesman Rudiger von Wechmar rejected Israel’s charge that West Germany “surrendered” to the hijackers of a Lufthansa airliner when it released the Munich terrorists in exchange for the plane’s passengers and crew. Von Wechmar said at a news conference that Israel had “missed the point” that 20 lives were at stake. He said that was the reason Bavarian state authorities released the terrorists.)
(In Frankfurt today, the chairman of Lufthansa, West Germany’s national airline and the pilot of the hijacked plane took responsibility for the decision to release the three terrorists before the hostages and the plane were freed by the hijackers. Lufthansa chairman Herbert Culmann said that it would have “sealed the fate of the people” on the plane if the hijackers’ demands were not met.)
Britain’s new Ambassador to Israel, William Bernard John Ledwidge, said today that “stern international action was needed to end once and for all plane hijackings and air piracy.” He said that was the view of his government. Ledwidge arrived at Haifa aboard the Italian motorship Messapia. He said that while at sea he had seen only sketchy news reports on the Lufthansa hijacking and the freeing of the Munich terrorists and was therefore not familiar with the details of the incident.