The upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics marks 40 years since 11 Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

In commemoration, the Israeli government and two US Congressmen asked for a moment of silence at this summer’s event, only to have the International Olympic Committee reject the proposal.

Danny Ayalon, the deputy foreign minister of Israel, sent a letter requesting the minute of silence to Jacques Rogge, the president of the IOC, on behalf of two widows of the murdered athletes. In addition, representatives Eliot L. Engel and Nita M. Lowey, both Democrats from New York, sent a letter of their own to Rogge.

In rejecting the requests, Rogge said, “We strongly sympathize with the victims’ families and understand their lasting pain,” adding that the IOC “has officially paid tribute to the memory of the athletes on several occasions and will continue to do so in close coordination with the National Olympic Committee of Israel.”

Ayalon called the response “unacceptable” and said in a statement, “The terrorist murders of the Israeli athletes were not just an attack on people because of their nationality and religion; it was an attack on the Olympic Games and the international community. Thus it is necessary for the Olympic Games as a whole to commemorate this event in the open rather than only in a side event.”

[The New York Times]