Thursday, March 14, 2019

14-Mar-19: Two years after Federal charges are unsealed, Ahlam Tamimi remains free. How is this happening?

Two years ago today, on March 14, 2017, the United States Department of Justice made an official announcement about the legal status of the woman who for years has boasted of bombing Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria and everyone in it.

Fifteen people were killed there that hot summer afternoon in 2001. One was our daughter, Malki. A sixteenth victim has been alive but unconscious all these years. Many more people were left maimed with injuries of a hideous nature.

We - Frimet and Arnold Roth who write this blog - campaigned for years for charges to be brought against Ahlam Tamimi after her freedom was extorted by Hamas in the catastrophic Shalit Deal. We even took it to the US Congress ["08-Feb-16: Terror is now a legitimate career option in Pal Arab society but its enablers barely notice" - text and video]

And then, with almost no advance notice, serious terrorism charges against her were suddenly unveiled. (The official text of that March 14, 2017 announcement is online here.)

Tamimi, a woman of 21 at the time she carried out the massacre, is Hamas’ first female terror operative. Today she is 39, married (to another convicted and unrepentant murderer), a mother, a Jordanian celebrity, a prominent spokesperson for Islamism and jihad, a beneficiary of the Palestinian Authority's notorious Pay-to-Slay program. She does not live in hiding. Her address is well enough know that she is frequently interviewed by the media; not only by the Jordanian media or the Arabic media but by respected news agencies like Associated Press that have sent reporters to her home to interview her on video. It's a reasonable assumption that anyone who wanted to take her into custody would have little difficulty finding her.

She has boasted publicly, repeatedly and on the record that she had the central role as the mastermind of the massacre. She has claimed credit for the fact that so many of those killed were children.

All three of the DOJ officials quoted in the 2017 announcement have moved on to other positions during these past two years. We wrote a letter last week, addressed to them and to the three officials who have taken their places in the DOJ. We asked them whether the DOJ will address certain serious problems that we described for them. We don't plan to publish the letter at this stage, and still hope we will get a meaningful DOJ response that deals with the issues. But we do want people to know (which is why we are posting this to our blog) that we sent that letter and that it asks the DOJ to take some specific steps.

To set the stage, that March 14, 2017 announcement starts with a statement of the basic facts:
A criminal complaint was unsealed today charging Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, also known as “Khalti” and “Halati,” a Jordanian national in her mid-30s, with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the U.S., resulting in death. The charge is related to the defendant’s participation in an Aug. 9, 2001, suicide bomb attack at a pizza restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two U.S. nationals. Four other U.S. nationals were among the approximately 122 others injured in the attack. Also unsealed today was a warrant for Al-Tamimi’s arrest and an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint and arrest warrant. The criminal charge had been under seal since July 15, 2013... Two Americans were killed and four injured.
It goes on to describe Tamimi bluntly but perfectly accurately as
an unrepentant terrorist who admitted to her role in a deadly terrorist bombing that injured and killed numerous innocent victims.
Then follow these stirring sentiments:
“The charges unsealed today serve as a reminder that when terrorists target Americans anywhere in the world, we will never forget – and we will continue to seek to ensure that they are held accountable,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “I want to thank the many dedicated agents and prosecutors who have worked on this investigation…” “We have never forgotten the American and non-American victims of this awful terrorist attack,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “We will continue to remain vigilant until Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi is brought to justice. “Al-Tamimi is a terrorist who participated in an attack that killed United States citizens,” said Assistant Director in Charge Vale. “The bombing that she planned and assisted in carrying out on innocent people, including children, furthered the mission of a designated terrorist organization. The FBI continues to work with our international partners to combat terrorists like Al-Tamimi and hold them accountable.”
Two full years, as we said, have passed since the unsealing of the charges against Tamimi. Today is the anniversary. Despite the charges and despite the strong words of US justice officials, she remains at large and a potent voice for more Islamist terror.

Paraphrasing, our letter lists some of what has happened in these past two years. (Some important points in our letter are not included here - we'll disclose them at some future time.):
  1. First, what has not happened: Tamimi is not in custody, not restricted in her movements, not subject to police attention or legal impediment, not pushed to the margins of Jordanian society. She is not on the run. She lives out in the open, free as a bird, living a high profile life from her base in Jordan’s capital city. Her profile continues to become more prominent in Jordanian society. We absolutely agree with those who say she has evolved into a pan-Arab media celebrity and a respected mainstream figure in Jordanian society.
  2. Tamimi has never expressed regret. Nor has she in any way denied her key role as the mastermind of the Sbarro pizzeria bombing.
  3. We have not found a single instance – not in Jordan, not in any other part of the Arabic-speaking world – where she has been publicly rebuked for her boastfulness over the massacre of innocent Israelis, or even criticized in the mildest way. We have never seen or heard of a single case where Tamimi was criticized or challenged to justify her appalling deeds by an interviewer. She is never contradicted despite her obviously self-aggrandizing exaggerations and her many outright fabrications. She is a hero.
  4. Mere days after the March 14, 2017 DOJ announcement, Jordan’s Court of Cassation - the highest court in the kingdom - declared the 22 year old extradition treaty between the US and Jordan invalid under Jordanian law. It found on narrow, highly technical grounds that it was unconstitutional and had been so since the day it was signed during the Clinton Administration. It directed that Tamimi could not be extradited by Jordan.
  5. The Jordanian government itself made no public statement of any sort in the wake of the court’s ruling. No intention to prosecute her under Jordanian law or to remedy the alleged procedural defect in the treaty with the US has ever been publicly expressed by any official Jordanian source.
  6. It's clear that, unless pressed robustly by its allies, King Abdullah II’s government will simply continue to view the Tamimi chapter as now closed.
  7. Is Jordan's view about the validity of the treaty right? Having sought advice from experts in these matters, we say no. Among numerous factors: (a) The flaw in the extradition treaty, if it exists, was one that Jordan’s government could have cured in a simple and straightforward way at any point in the past two decades. But did not and has not; (b) The court had not made a finding of invalidity in other cases of extradition to the US before Tamimi’s case; (c) And as a result, Jordanian fugitives have been extradited to the US several times, most recently in 2015. (We know the details.)
  8. The official view of the United States, not surprisingly, is that the Jordan/US extradition treaty is and has since 1995 been in full force and effect. The treaty is listed in the authoritative “Treaties in Force” document published by the US State Department and posted online here. The treaty with Jordan appears on page 252 of that listing.
  9. Multiple extraditions from Jordan to the US have been requested, and carried out, since the treaty entered into force. Something about a Jordanian calling herself Palestinian bombing a restaurant filled with Jewish children somehow puts the Tamimi case into a different category for the Jordanians.
  10. Tamimi serves as a prolific advocate for Arab-on-Israeli terror. Starting in late 2011, immediately after she returned to Jordan from her Israeli prison cell, she traveled widely among the Arab states, addressing enthusiastic audiences with a message blending incitement and vile bigotry. We have tracked her appearances closely. She demonstrates a special interest in focusing on high school and university students. 
  11. For nearly five years beginning in March 2012, she was the presenter of her own produced-in-Jordan, terrorism-focused weekly TV show beamed globally from Amman to the world. Made under Hamas auspices and beamed to the world via a Hamas satellite TV channel, the toxic program suffered no evident interference from Jordan’s government. It was heavily promoted and its reach was amplified by hundreds of Internet streaming video sites. 
  12. Tamimi discontinued her frequent traveling outside Jordan’s borders – and ended her central role in that TV show - after being very briefly (for one night) taken into Jordanian police custody on the basis of an Interpol Red Notice request in 2016. At about the same time, she was warned by the Jordanian authorities to lower her profile; it appears she complied, a least for a while. These developments received no publicity at the time they happened.
  13. But starting in March 2017, following the court decision that lifted the threat of extradition, Tamimi once again elevated her public profile significantly, once again speaking in public forums, appearing with senior Jordanian politicians including a former Jordanian prime minister. She has made numerous well-publicized speeches, most recently at Jordan’s central Trade Union compound, a venue where meetings of the government itself take place. 
  14. In October 2018, she and her husband received a “This is Your Life”-like tribute on a widely-watched program called “Caravan’, broadcast on Jordan’s highest-rating TV station ["24-Nov-18: How Jordan's mainstream media showcase a couple of role-model jihadist murderers"] After recounting Tamimi’s years in an Israeli prison and subsequent release (but not the murders), the presenter of that prime time Jordanian TV show exclaimed to Tamimi and to the audience: "This is admirable! You, the people of the struggle, elevate the name of Jordan!" It is a tribute that seems consistent with all the other indications we got from the Jordanian media.
  15. At the time of the March 2017 DOJ announcements, we learned for the first time that Jordan had already for some years been resisting DOJ efforts to get them to extradite Tamimi to Washington. 
  16. Within days of the March 2017 announcements and from numerous interactions, it became clear to us that figures within the State Department sought, and continue to seek, to deflect US pressure on Jordan in the Tamimi matter. This has a personal dimension; we see ourselves as being subjected to unacceptable treatment that no one in our position should have to overlook or suffer. It's a deeply unsatisfactory situation and one that exacerbates our ongoing stress and pain as bereaved parents wanting to see the triumphant, admitted murderer of our dearly loved child brought to justice. 
There are multiple disturbing ways in which Jordan's opposition to the Tamimi extradition is being represented partially and not entirely accurately to the American public and to law-makers.

Here's an example. US law, since 2004, has required the Secretary of State to provide Congress by April 30 of each year with “a full and complete report on terrorism with regard to those countries and groups meeting criteria set forth in the legislation”. This annual report is entitled Country Reports on Terrorism. As in previous years, the 2018 edition says: “Jordan remained a committed partner on counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism in 2017…”

Then, for the first time ever, it goes on to very briefly address the Tamimi extradition:
A U.S. criminal complaint was unsealed in March charging Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, a Jordanian national in her mid-30s, with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the United States resulting in death. The charge is related to her participation in an August 9, 2001, suicide bomb attack at a restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two U.S. nationals. Four other U.S. nationals were among the approximately 122 others injured in the attack. Also unsealed was a warrant for Al-Tamimi’s arrest and an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint and arrest warrant. Jordan’s courts have ruled that their constitution forbids the extradition of Jordanian nationals.
That last sentence is astounding; it's also quite revealing. Why does this important State Department report to Congress not go on to explain, which is certainly the case, that while Jordan says it's invalid, the US says the exact opposite. The US says the 1995 Jordan/US Extradition Treaty is fully in effect. Isn't that worth noting in a report to Congress? Shouldn't they at least say the US does not agree with Jordan? And that the US believes Jordan is wrong?

Tamimi has become an iconic figure, a person of huge influence in a region where terrorism is a daily and manifest threat to public stability. She lives a life to which no one with a violent history of savagery like hers should ever be entitled.

And while we believe in the importance of a peace-oriented strategic relationship with Jordan and its ruler, we also believe in the central and pre-eminent role of justice. We continue to hope we will still see it in the case of our child’s killer.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

12-Mar-19: Arab-on-Israeli attacks edge upwards again

Image Source
It's shaping to be a violent and tense day here in Israel.

Experience suggests this isn't because of some unusual weather pattern. Broadly speaking, violence is something that the Palestinian Arab leadership switches off and on at will. It's clearly on right now.

Some of the more persuasive analysts put this down to the coming together of at least four main factors: Israel's April elections; the expectation of a comprehensive Trump Administration peace agreement proposal; rising tension in the endless jockeying for power and supremacy between the Fatah-controlled Abbas regime and Hamas; and the Palestinian Authority's 's move ["PA Reduces Wages to Employees Israel's payment deduction"] to substantially cut salaries across a wide swathe of the population under its control, unilaterally making an already on-the-ropes economy even more fragile.

Among the acts of violence:

Monday 11:30 pm: Still-unidentified shooters attacked an Israeli vehicle in the northern Samaria district last night (Monday) on a road near the Israeli community of Rehelim (population about 800), south of Nablus/Shechem and located between Kfar Tapuach and Eli. No one was injured, thankfully. But the vehicle was damaged, suggesting the fire could have exacted a heavier toll. Israel National News reports an attempted infiltration this past Friday night just as the Sabbath was being ushered in. The community's "security guards... identified two suspicious figures approaching the town. Rehelim's military security coordinator arrived first, fired a light bomb, and noticed the two suspects running away."

Tuesday 12:45 pm: Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian man as he tried to stab them in the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday, the IDF said according to Times of Israel. No one else was injured in the thwarted attack:
IDF soldiers spotted the terrorist armed with a knife as he ran toward them. The soldiers pushed the terrorist back as he tried to run into a nearby civilian building. The soldiers shot the terrorist, thwarting the attack, and he was killed,” the military said... The suspect, armed with a knife, entered the contentious Beit HaShalom building in Hebron, near the Kiryat Arba settlement. A resident of the building, one of the few Jewish-owned structures inside the overwhelmingly Palestinian city, saw and called Israeli security forces to the scene, according to reports from the scene. A video filmed at the scene showed the attacker lying on the ground in the entrance hall of the building with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the chest. The knife was seen on the ground several feet away from him."
Images of the attacker appear in the Hebrew-language social media, here for instance. The would-be knifer is identified by Palestinian Arab officials as Yasser Fuzi Shuweiki. The Ma'an News Agency site (English language edition) calls him Yasser al-Shweiki and rather enigmatically quotes his father saying the son "was distributing notices from the Sharia Court across Hebron City", presumably trying to deflect any suggestion that he was a knifer looking for Israeli stabbing victims. (An Israeli social media commentator says he was the local mailman.) In the Arabic version of Ma'an's account, but not the English, its editors call the would-be knifer, not surprisingly, a martyr:
Palestinian Civil Affairs demanded that the Israeli authorities hand over the body of Yasser Mohammed Fawzi Shweiki, who was killed by Israeli soldiers [and] who worked as a clerk in the Hebron District Court, where he was working before being shot by Israeli soldiers who claimed he had a knife and attempted to stab Against soldiers.
Tuesday Noon: The Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City was sealed off by Israel Police today in the wake of Arab violence that included a firebomb being hurled at officers, followed by arrests and clashes. Times of Israel says:
"Police quickly deployed across the hilltop compound, scuffling with worshipers in the area as they searched for the assailants. In one video, police were seen wrestling a woman to the ground. Ten suspects were arrested and an investigation into the incident was ongoing, police said... Police said they found flammable materials, firecrackers and Molotov cocktails during a search of the Temple Mount after it was closed... The Damascus Gate entrance of the Old City of Jerusalem was also closed and police were dispatched throughout the Old City and East Jerusalem “to prevent and respond to any attempt to disturb public order in response to the serious incident,” police said in a statement."
The president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas complained of “dangerous Israeli escalation” and warned of “serious repercussions.”

Tuesday 4:45 pm: Security forces of the IDF took a Palestinian Arab woman into custody who aroused their suspicions near Beit Hashalom (House of Peace), the site of another, earlier Arab-on-Israel stabbing in Hebron (above). They found, after a careful search of her clothing and person, that she had a knife concealed somewhere not yet reported. Times of Israel says she was promptly arrested and is in the hands of the security forces for questioning.

12-Mar-19: Yes, Americans surely ought to know that Ahlam Tamimi lives free today

Overnight, a tweet [here] was posted by Jason D. Greenblatt, Assistant to the 45th President of the USA and Special Representative for International Negotiations.

The timing is notable, coming on the same day that King Abdullah II of Jordan makes the rounds of Washington power centers including a string of high-level administration officials as well as the White House.

Twitter source
Here's the text:
Americans ought to know that Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamini [sic], a convicted Hamas terrorist who, together with others, murdered in cold blood 15 people including 7 children, lives free today. See details here: https://rewardsforjustice.net/english/ahlam_al_tamimi.html
We of course agree (though it would surely have been better if Mr Greenblatt had spelled Tamimi's name right). It might also have been better if he had linked to some information that actually explains how and why arch-terrorist Tamimi "lives free today". Instead the link he provides goes to the State Department's Rewards for Justice website where details of the $5M prize for the capture and conviction of Tamimi appear. (And if any enterprising reporter cares to look into why, after two years, no one has succeeded in getting that reward money, we will be happy to discuss what we know. Some people might be quite surprised.)

Still we're pleased that a senior official in the Trump Administration has gone as far as Mr Greenblatt has. It's a first, and an important one.

From the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists website
Americans surely ought to know. And so should anyone to whom justice is a supreme value.

There's much more to be said, and much more that we have already said about Tamimi, justice, and what the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has done and continues to do to thwart the extradition of this deadly dangerous FBI Most Wanted fugitive.

But for now, we're pleased to see a Trump Administration official speaking out on the issue that has occupied our days and minds for many years. Tamimi, for those who might not know, admits to being a central figure - we say she was the mastermind - of the bombing of Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria on August 9, 2001.

Our daughter Malki, 15, was one of the many innocent victims killed there that day.

And here's a partial selection of the many things we have written in this blog about the Sbarro massacre during the past two years since Jordan's legal system formally announced Tamimi would not be extradited to the US to face terrorism charges there:

Friday, March 08, 2019

08-Mar-19: Ahed Tamimi plans to visit Iran: Reflections from an Iranian

The writer, a young Iranian who lives in Iran, chooses to be called Neda (obviously not her actual name). This is the first time we have published one of her articles. She offers this brief statement of her position:
“I believe a person who wants to see the truth need not be ideologically bound by the thinking of the left or the right. One has to reach for the shades of grey between propaganda and the preset good-guy-vs-bad-guy dichotomy.”
* * *

From my country in Iran, I have observed the regime’s disinformation campaign with playout in social media sphere. Co-opting of progressive causes and the weaving in of subtle forms of regime talking-points into the narrative.

The target audience, as I’ve noticed, are young Western progressives with tendency to see everything through an ideological lens, don’t see how they are standing with oppressive regimes like Islamic Republic in their #FightThePower against "evils of western imperialism". 


A prime example of this is CodePink and their fervent love for Anti American regimes. They have outdone themselves in their recent trip. 

Let’s look back.

For the past forty years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has thrived on co-opting political causes and hiding behind the cover of standing up for oppressed people of the world, the Palestinian cause being the main one that resonates with people in every part of the world.

When I read in a recent news report [Ahed Tamimi family trying to visit Iran”, Tehran Times, September 16, 2018] that Ahed Tamimi’s father says he is seeking permission from the Israeli authorities to secure her trip to Iran, it reminded me of a discussion among pro-Islamic Republic pundits about whether Ahed, if she made such a visit, would choose to wear a hijab or not.

She has never been photographed wearing one till now.

The main theme of their discussion was whether Ahed Tamimi, by not conforming to Islamic ideals, is impeding the cause of Palestine independence, becoming a tool of US media for her “white” looks.

There was lots of push-back to this line of thought with a few Palestinian Americans commenting that “she is an independent young woman” and “Palestinians don’t want an Islamic Republic version of Sharia”. One Palestinian American of Christian background criticized a so-called pundit for painting all Palestinians with a Muslim brush. Most Iranians think all Palestinians are Muslim.

Figure 1 Ahed Tamimi is released from prison July 2018 [Image Source]
Personally, I like Ahed’s non-conformist look. 

But when I heard that she is intent on visiting my country, I began wondering whether she will she don Hijab for whatever propaganda ceremony they have planned for her.

Figure 2 EC's Federica Mogherini placed this image from
her 2016 Iran visit on her website [Image Source]
It can be said that when female politicians like Federica Mogherini – the woman who is currently the European Commission’s senior official in charge of foreign policy - come to Iran, they wear Hijab.

But Ahed Tamimi is not a politician. I understand that her cause is the Palestinian resistance and that she sees the Islamic Republic as a means to an end.

However, there are signs that not everyone in the Iranian establishment is in support of her, as these tweets below show:

Figure 3 What Iranian Military Vlog says 
Figure 4 What Iranian Military Vlog says
Figure 5 What Iranian Military Vlog says
Figure 6 What Iranian Military Vlog says 
Figure 7 What Iranian Military Vlog says 
Figure 8 What Iranian Military Vlog says 
Being an Iranian myself, I have to deal with the enforced wearing of the Hijab, with the violent morality police and with the constant harassment of the Basijis (“a large and omnipresent paramilitary organization with multifaceted roles, and which acts as the eyes and ears of the Islamic regime”).

Starting in December 2017, there has been an ongoing and widespread campaign of protesting forced Hijab wearing across my country. Vida Movahed, photographed publicly shedding her Hijab [photo], was arrested.

No one has heard from her ever since.

Figure 9 Vida Moyahed  [Image Source
Repressing the protests with arrests, the morality police have been repeatedly caught on camera beating women for not adhering to proper Hijab. This too is struggle, though not as much covered by western media.

I personally contacted several young journalists on the left to cover the story. They all brushed it off as the machinations of US/pro-Israel media.

In hacked Telegram messages (see below - it was a huge scandal in Farsi social media), Hossein Derakhshan, an infamous propagandist of the Islamic Republic, smeared a Georgian chess player as Jewish/Zionist for refusing to attend a game in Iran where she would have to wear the Hijab.



These screenshots above are from Hossein Derakhshan’s Telegram group.

What he is saying to his minions is how do we know that Nazi Pakizeh is Jewish?
Solmaz: She’s been to Israel 3 times.
Derakshan: How are you sure?
Solmaz: I saw it in her Instagram and guessed she is Jewish.
Derakhshan: Search her name in Hebrew. 
There are important voices emerging from today’s Iran. But for anyone wanting to understand what they mean, it’s important to be open to the idea that some progressive-sounding voices, and even anti-regime-voices, may actually be the opposite of what they appear to be.

Diaspora commentator circles on Iran (especially in the US – see this 2012 Weekly Standard piece on Mousavian from Reul Marc Gerecht) have been overcome with regime apologists masquerading as self-appointed Iran whisperers for Western audiences.

I hope this piece help with understanding the Islamic Republic.

Monday, March 04, 2019

04-Mar-19: Pre-dawn vehicle ramming attack on Israelis north of Ramallah

There has been yet another vehicle-ramming attack on Israelis this morning (Monday). According to a breaking Times of Israel report [here], a vehicle in which three persons were traveling was the weapon by which an attack was launched on Israeli security personnel before dawn today near an Arab village it names as N'ima.

Two injured Israelis were evacuated from the scene by helicopter and ambulance for emergency medical care at, we believe, Tel Hashomer Medical Center. One is said to be an IDF soldier whom it describes as being seriously inured. A member of the Border Guard (Mishmar Hagvul in Hebrew) is said to be lightly hurt.

Two of the attack-vehicle's three occupants are said to have been killing and a third wounded. The report quotes an IDF statement “from an initial investigation it appears to be a (terror) attack.”

A Hebrew-language social media report says the overnight attack at about 3:30 this morning in the Binyamin region was at Talmon/Dolev Junction which is about half way between the Israeli community of Dolev and an Arab village (of some 3,500 people) called Kafr Ni'ma (ניעמה) located about 13 km north-west of Ramallah. The less-injured service member is reported by first responders to be about 19. The more seriously-injured soldier is said, in an IDF statement [here], to be an officer. Haaretz says he's in his early twenties and in critical condition after being run-over. No names yet.

A Ynet report adds:
"The troops had stopped their vehicle at the roadside at night—Israeli media reported it had broken down—and were deliberately struck, the military said."
From the Palestinian Arab side, an Arabic language tweet at about 9:00 am Monday from the SAFA Palestinian Press Agency [here] quotes the PA's Ministry of Health about what it calls
"the martyrdom of two citizens and the wounding of a third after the occupation shot them near the village of Kafr Nehmeh west of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, and no information until the moment about the identity of the martyrs and the injured."
("Occupied" Ramallah is where the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority has its capital. Fatah and Hamas are deadly rivals. SAFA, based in the Gaza Strip, used to operate a Facebook page but this was shut down by Facebook about a year ago.)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

14-Feb-19: A prince, a princess, four Tamimis - and murderous violence

Image Source | February 6, 2019: Jordan Media Institute in Amman
Ahed Tamimi is the speaker. Princess Rym Ali,
the JMI's founder, is seated in the front row
Ahed Tamimi, a young Palestinian Arab woman from Nabi Saleh, a hamlet a few kilometers from our Jerusalem home ["17-Mar-13: A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns"] has been busy traveling and speaking to attentive crowds these past few months.

Ahed Tamimi

Just before she started an eight month sentence in an Israeli prison a year ago, the result of a plea bargain her handlers made with the authorities, we noted here ["24-Dec-17: Nabi Saleh, the media and a Tamimi child's journey"] that she is
the young woman many call Shirley Temper, a photogenic performer who for at least eight years now has been the central figure in a long-running propaganda performance orchestrated by her father Bassem Tamimi and his publicity business, Tamimi Press.
Bassem Tamimi, Ahed's manager/father and long-time producer/director, asserted some months back ["Palestinian Ahed Tamimi 'banned from travelling abroad'"] that Israel was in some unspecified manner standing in the way of the post-prison globetrotting/meet-and-greets he had in mind for her.

Somehow overcoming the Israeli opposition (if indeed it existed), the young woman, frequently referred to via overblown noms-de-guerre ("Palestine's Joan of Arc", "Ahed Tamimi, Palestinian protest icon", "I know I am a symbol of Palestinian resistance"), managed to pull-off a run of well-publicized visits to Spain, France, Tunisia, Greece and Jordan in September and October 2018. She also became the subject of a photo spread in the October 2018 Arabic version of Vogue magazine along the way.

She's been busy. And the drum-beating and orchestrating have paid dividends.

After years of wildly zig-zagging media estimates of her age [outlined here: "28-Dec-17: So how old is the Tamimi girl?"], there's little doubt she's now come of age and is an adult for all legal purposes (her 18th birthday was two weeks ago). This may become relevant if she repeats or enlarges on calls for more Arab-on-Israeli thuggery like those she made in front of her mother's Tamimi Press video camera ["04-Feb-18: The embarrassing violence of Ahed Tamimi and its fig-leafers"] a year ago. Mother took care to have the video very widely distributed. But surprisingly (alright, not so surprisingly as this excellent Forward piece by Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll points out), the fact that not-quite-adult Ahed Tamimi quite plainly called for real, physical violence has somehow become a point of controversy and doubt.

It shouldn't have. She did it and it's on the record.

Notwithstanding, she's turned up again in Jordan where she gave a speech a few days ago, asserting in some little publicized comments
that the Palestinian people’s struggle is to obtain their freedom, and not to gain the world’s sympathy or compassion. During a meeting with the Jordan Media Institute’s (JMI) students, in the presence of JMI founder HRH Princess Rym, Tamimi added that she works to convey a message for the need to support Palestinian prisoners in their struggle for freedom and national unity. She also explained that she was subjected to various psychological and physical pressures both during the 16 days of investigations, and after being transferred to prison. She said she underwent deprivation of sleep and food, as well as threats to arrest or kill her relatives... ["Ahed Tamimi addresses students at Jordan Media Institute", Jordan Times, February 6, 2019]
There's similar coverage in Jordan's Arabic media here and here as well as on the website of her hosts, the Jordan Media Institute. About that last entity, we have some experience (keep reading).

The Nabi Saleh Tamimis

The JMI's English language report mentions only in passing Nariman Tamimi, Bassem's wife and Ahed's mother, who was in attendance. The Arabic language version (but not the English) adds this somewhat repulsive piece of Tamimi self-promotion:
As for the anti-public campaign against Ahed, her mother Nariman al-Tamimi pointed out that the great support for Ahed came because of the spread of the video [Nariman's video] slapping the Israeli soldier and Ahed Tamimi's ability to resist in spite of all circumstances... adding that her constant contact with media professionals over the past ten years to contribute to the promotion of justice in the Palestinian cause has helped increase support for Ahed... [Jordan Media Institute - Arabic language report of the Tamimi event on their premises, February 6, 2019]
Think about that. The mother seems to be boasting about the fact (and it is a fact) that she and husband Bassem Tamimi began grooming their daughter to be a fist-thrusting, slogan-spouting, angry-on-demand shrieking street activist and provocateur from when the child, already blonde and still somewhat Western looking, was a very vulnerable 8 years old.

In most places, this would be justifiably viewed as child abuse and the parents as derelict and likely culpable criminally. Noot, of course, in those netherworlds ruled by the appalling Palestinian Authority and the no-less-horrific Hamas.

But Nariman Tamimi's ethics descend to greater depths. She has no qualms, for instance, supporting the murderous violence of her cousin, the bomber Ahlam Tamimi. Quote the opposite. In her own words
...What she [Ahlam Tamimi, the smiling mass-murderer of Jewish children] did was an integral part of the struggle. Everyone fights in the manner in which he believes. There is armed uprising, and there is popular uprising. I support every form of uprising... ["11-Sep-15: How devoted to non-violence are the villagers of Nabi Saleh really?"]
The Sbarro massacre mastermind

Ahlam Tamimi returned the favour a year ago ["05-Jan-18: In Jordan, the FBI fugitive Ahlam Tamimi pays tribute to her slapping/taunting/kicking Tamimi cousin"].

Standing before a Jordanian audience, flanked by Jordanian dignitaries including a former Jordanian prime minister, she praised Nariman's daughter Ahed Tamimi who had been detained by Israeli authorities (as was Nariman) some days before. Both were facing charges and an Israeli prison sentence. Somewhat vaguely (based on the reports we saw), Ahlam Tamimi congratulated Ahed Tamimi for "breathing new life" into the cause of female prisoners and children prisoners.

We remarked on how disturbing it was to see
...very prominent Jordanians, members of the country's political elite, [who] have no problem sharing a public platform with a confessed killer of Israeli children who is also an FBI fugitive and the subject of American efforts to have her extradited to the US to face serious federal charges. Can you imagine this happening anywhere else? She's a wanted criminal but not in Jordan where she's a hero. [Source]
Most readers of this blog know Ahlam Tamimi ["17-Nov-11: A monster walks the streets and she has many accomplices"] confesses repeatedly, publicly and with evident pride to being the mastermind of the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria massacre where 16 innocent Jews, among them our daughter Malki, were killed. Ahlam Tamimi was serving a prison sentence of 16 consecutive life terms right up until the catastrophic Shalit Deal that Israel transacted with Hamas in 2011.

That's when she was freed and returned to the land of her birth, the place where most of her family lives and where she was raised.

We have written hundreds of blog posts and op eds about Ahlam Tamimi, born in Jordan and living there today, not in hiding but out in the open.

She has become a genuine celebrity ["24-Nov-18: How Jordan's mainstream media showcase a couple of role-model jihadist murderers"] who speaks often in public forums and on Jordan's media. But (or perhaps and) she is a fugitive from the FBI, charged by the US Department of Justice with Federal crimes and with a State Department $5 million reward for her capture and conviction.

She is the subject of an extradition request which the Jordanian government, for narrow and technical reasons, has rejected ["20-Mar-17: The Hashemite Kingdom's courts have spoken: The murdering FBI fugitive will not be handed over"]. The US and Jordan have a valid extradition treaty that has been in effect between the two countries since 1995. Several Jordanian felons were extradited to the US before the Tamimi case.

It's interesting to us that of all the possible Jordanian venue options, Ahed Tamimi was a guest last week at the Jordan Media Institute.

It's also striking that Princess Rym Ali, the JMI's founder and a former CNN on-camera reporter before she married into the Hashemite royal family, was present to hear her speak, seated in the front row (see the photo above).

This brought to mind how the princess' husband, Prince Ali bin Hussein who is the half brother of Jordan's current ruler, posted a Tweet emotionally urging support for... Ahed Tamimi in December 2017 just before she went to prison. (Posted here; archived here.)

To us, this seems odd. Ahed is no Jordanian. And most other Jordanian royals seem to have wisely taken care not to get entangled with the outstandingly problematic Tamimi clan. Perhaps some enterprising journalist will take the trouble to look into what about the Nabi Saleh Tamimis' violent bigotry that so attracts this royal attention.

Jordan Media Institute

At this point, allow us to mention that we have had seriously disturbing experiences with the JMI and the unique interplay of professional aspiration and tolerance for extreme violence that we believe the school represents.

We're referring to how we discovered four years ago, and then did our best to publicize, that the very privileged students of this prestigious and hugely-needed institution had publicly declared Ahlam Tamimi - the boastful Hamas agent who set out to kill as many Jewish children as possible and succeeded - as their "success model"

We ended up persuading several of the school's international funders, including a number of governments, to terminate their support. But we never succeeded in (a) getting the school's management to respond to us other than rude and pointless response from a manager there, or (b) to be open about what we had reported. Their preference was to engage in a rather shabby and pathetic cover-up.

We wrote about this in the posts below:
What happened at the Jordan Media Institute and the scandalous way it was hushed up by management ought to be factored into people's thinking when they wonder about the state of democracy, human rights and terrorism in the Arab world.

The terrors of Arab journalism

Given the strange role played by an ambitious school like JMI, this seems a good time to be thinking about how very badly journalism serves the Palestinian Arabs (the vast majority of Jordanians self-identify as Palestinian Arabs). And the difficulties their reporters and their editors encounter under the thumb of the powers that be.

Screen capture from the Gatehouse site
A typically incisive article today by Khaled Abu Toameh for the Gatestone Institute gives some exposure to the plight of a young woman working as a reporter in the Hamas-afflicted Gaza Strip:
Hajer Harb... is currently standing trial before a court in the Gaza Strip for exposing corruption in Hamas-run ministries and institutions. Harb, a cancer survivor, has been repeatedly summoned for interrogation by Hamas security forces for her role in reporting on corruption in medical and housing institutions... She is accused of "failing to display objectivity, fairness and accuracy" in her reporting... Instead of interrogating and prosecuting the corrupt officials whose identities were mentioned in her reporting, Harb is the one who is now standing trial for telling the truth. Her lawyer, Baker al-Turkumani, described the charges against her as "flimsy." The charges, he said, are an "assault on the freedom of the media and expression, which are protected by the law. The law and justice are the journalist's weapon against corruption. The law cannot be used to limit the work of a journalist or freedom of expression." ["Palestinians: "Journalism" Hamas Style", Gatestone Institute website, February 14, 2019]
Abu Toameh unpacks the Hamas charges against the reporter and calls them disingenuous and laughable:
It is disingenuous because it is coming from Hamas -- a group for whom the terms objectivity and accuracy are wholly inimical. It is laughable because it allows Hamas to set the standards for objectivity and accuracy... For Hamas, objectivity in the media means that journalists shut their mouths about their leaders and government officials. For Hamas, "accuracy" means that a journalist working in the Gaza Strip will show Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the worst possible light -- regardless of the facts.
He's no less blunt about Hamas' rivals, the Abbas-controlled Fatah/PA:
Since the beginning of this year, the Palestinian Authority security forces have arrested 10 Palestinian journalists in the West Bank for their "negative" reporting and alleged criticism of Abbas and other senior Palestinian figures... The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate regularly chooses totally to ignore the plight of the journalists arrested by the Palestinian Authority security forces. The only evils the Syndicate sees are those that can be linked to Hamas or Israel. That is because its heads and senior staff are affiliated with Abbas's Fatah faction... Like Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, with the help of its associates in the syndicate, is apparently seeking to control the news and narrative to make sure that journalists direct their criticism only against Israel. Like Hamas, the Palestinian Authority has been relatively successful in its effort to limit the flow of information from areas under its control. A Palestinian journalist living in Ramallah will think at least a dozen times before he or she writes or says a word that could rile Abbas or one of his senior officials.
Ahlam Tamimi boasting about her life as a Hamas terrorist
[Image Source: Video capture from Kuwaiti TV]
A great shame that all those 'activists' agitating for 'Free Palestine', for BDS and for "Palestinian rights" don't direct their energies, criticisms and fury at the two ham-fisted Palestinian Arab regimes that bear almost all the responsibility for what's wrong with the lives of the people living under their boots.

And also for the extreme violence that many people think about when the word "Palestinian" enters the discussion. (Ahlam Tamimi, our child's murderer, boasts that she was a journalist at the time of the massacre, and is still called one today.)

Also a great shame that the Ahed Tamimi phenomenon continues to get so much unjustified backing in parts of the Arab world where a little more inward-focused retrospection would do so much more for the problems that beset their lives.

And ours too.

UPDATE February 15, 2019

We just came across the Jordan Media Institute's two tweets of last week's Ahed Tamimi event currently here and here and here with a half-hour video of Joan-of-Arc's customary flat/monotone speech (and archived here and here and here in case... you know).

(There don't seem to be any English-language tweets of the momentous occasion, indicating - who knows - that they don't want their foreign supporters seeing this, but perhaps we just missed them.)

The JMI photos make apparent that Nariman Tamimi, mother of Ahed, cousin and outspoken fan of Ahlam Tamimi and her hideous deeds, is seated at the head table.

Also apparent: (a) that Jordanian journalism's best and brightest don't at all mind being associated with the terror-loving Tamimi clan's messaging - which if you pause to think about it is staggering; (b) the scandal of 2015 which cost the school some substantial foreign funding is dead and forgotten; (c) the illustrious Jordan Media Institute is mighty proud that the Tamimis allowed them to give a platform to Ahed.





Monday, February 04, 2019

04-Feb-19: Intruders

Image Source
As Israel announces, belatedly, the start of establishing a major barrier to protect the southern parts of the state ["Israel starts construction on 20-foot-high fence surrounding Gaza", Times of Israel, February 3, 2019], we're seeing a spate of news reports reminding Israelis why security of that sort is indispensable.
Two Jordanians cross into Israel, are arrested by army | Unarmed pair taken for questioning to determine why they crossed border, military says
Times of Israel | 3 February 2019, 2:01 pm | Two Jordanian nationals were arrested early Sunday after they crossed illegally into the country, the Israel Defense Forces said. According to a statement from the military, IDF soldiers identified the two suspects overnight, after they crossed the border fence. The troops stopped and arrested the pair near the border, the statement said, adding that they were carrying no weapons. They have been taken for questioning to determine why they crossed the border. The statement did not specify where along the border the incident took place.
Then this
Palestinian with knife nabbed among Hebron tourists | Armed suspect tries to enter Tomb of the Patriarchs shrine, is separated by police from group of visitors
Times of Israel | 3 February 2019, 2:09 pm
A young Palestinian man trying to gain access to a West Bank holy site on Sunday aroused the attention of police when they spotted him in the middle of a group of tourists entering the Tomb of the Patriarchs, police said. Border Police officers arrested the suspect, a man in his twenties, after noticing he didn’t belong with the group and was acting suspiciously in an apparent bid to gain entry to the site, in the West Bank city of Hebron, police said. Police officers called him aside for a more thorough inspection before realizing he was carrying the blade. “When the suspicion grew stronger, the soldiers aimed their weapons and at that point the suspect drew the knife that had been concealed in his clothes, threw it to the ground and raised his hands,” a police statement said. Police said the suspect, a resident of Hebron, admitted during his initial questioning that he intended to carry out a stabbing attack.
And these
Palestinian crosses into Israel from Gaza, is arrested | Incident follows previous day’s 3 attempts to jump border fence on 3 borders — from Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan — and day after Israel begins final stage of barrier construction
Times of Israel | February 4, 2019, 9:04 am | IDF troops on the Gaza border apprehended a Palestinian man who crossed the border fence into Israel from the southern Strip, the military said in a statement Monday morning. The man was searched by soldiers and taken into custody. The IDF said that a knife was found near the point where the man crossed the fence, and “apparently belonged to the suspect.”  [...] Monday’s incident is the fourth in a 24-hour period in which individuals were caught attempting to cross into Israel on various borders. Five youths who crossed from northern Gaza into Israel on Sunday night remain in custody and are being questioned. On Sunday, IDF troops arrested two Lebanese men who crossed the border into Israel near the divided border village of Ghajar and were discovered to be carrying 11 kilograms (25 pounds) of hashish. Earlier Sunday, two Jordanian nationals were arrested after they crossed illegally from Jordan, the army said. They were carrying no weapons. Their reasons for attempting to jump over the border fence are not known.
Israelis tend to be cautious about how effective defensive security measures are. The latest sabre-rattling from Iran reminds us of why:
Iran said to put ‘guided warheads’ on missiles that can reach Israel | State media says the new Khoramshahr 2 is highly accurate and can carry two-ton payloads up to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles)
Times of Israel | February 4, 2019
Iran has equipped its most advanced, longest-range missiles, which can hit Israel and US bases in the Gulf, with new precision guided warheads, state media reported Sunday. According to the unsourced report in the Fars news agency, the new home-made guided warheads have now been attached to the Khoramshahr, a missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles.) “The new generation of missiles with guided warheads has been named Khoramshahr 2 and they can be controlled until hitting the target and are able to carry warheads weighing nearly 2 tons,” the report said. It said that the new warheads had previously been mounted on the shorter range Emad, Qadr and Qiam missiles. The first generation of Khoramshahr was unveiled in 2017.  Iran says all of its missiles are designed to carry conventional warheads only and has limited their range to a maximum of 2,000 kilometers, although commanders say they have the technology to go further. That makes them only medium-range but still sufficient to reach Israel or US bases in the Gulf. The report comes a day after Iran said it had successful fired a new long-range cruise missile, amid events marking 40 years since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The missile, dubbed Hoveyzeh, was described as a high-precision weapon capable of flying at low altitudes and able to carry a significant payload up to a distance of 1,200 kilometers (840 miles.)
These news reports tend to get somewhat overlooked outside Israel.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

30-Jan-19: Pal Arab would-be stabber, a 16 year old girl, is stopped before executing an attack near Jerusalem

From the police security cam video
In yet another instance of a thwarted attack by a weaponized child, a teenage Palestinian Arab girl launched a stabbing attack on an Israeli officer at the A-Za'im security checkpoint east of the capital between Ma'ale Adumim and Jerusalem today (Wednesday) at about 10:15 am.

An Israel Police statement, quoted by Times of Israel, said
"A rapid response by additional security forces brought about her neutralization with no injuries to the security personnel... Police are investigating where the female suspect came from, and heightened security is continuing in the area."
The same media source speculates that this may be yet another instance of 
attacks by Palestinians, especially women, [that] are driven by personal and domestic issues, more than by ideological considerations. In some cases, Israeli officials have said Palestinians appeared to have carried out attacks or attempted to do so in order to be shot dead by Israeli security forces, as a form of "suicide by cop".
Later in the day, the assailant was identified in Arab media as Samah Mubarak, aged 16, from the nearby village of a-Ram. A different Israeli news source says she was
Samah Zuhair Mubarak, an 11th grade student from Ramallah, whose family was originally from Gaza... [source]
She died of her wounds according to Palestinian Authority health ministry officials.

Video footage released by the police show a female, draped from head to toe in black and wearing black gloves, approaching the security personnel at the crossing. Police also circulated a photo of the knife in her possession - while throughout the Arab media reports we have scanned, it's claimed she was unarmed and executed in cold blood. 

None of the many thwarted Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks of the past three years (at least) has ever credibly been shown to meet that description. And A-Za'im has seen numerous Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks - vehicle-rammings, stabbings and bombings

The claim this time is embellished by the assertion, pulled out of thin air as far as we can tell, that the girl was shot after refusing to undress and remove her black robes. This line of explanation plays tragically well in Palestinian Arab circles.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

08-Jan-19: In the wake of multiple murders, this violent Pal Arab village's economy just grew

Kobar [Image Source]
Providers of foreign aid to the always-insolvent Palestinian Authority - and the ordinary citizens who unwittingly contribute to the funding via their taxes - acquired yet another new beneficiary earlier today.
Assem Barghouti suspected of participating in the murder of 4 day old Amiad Ish-Ran and IDF soldiers Staff Sergeant Yuval Mor Yosef and Sergeant Yosef Cohen, and the injury of numerous others, was arrested this morning. According to Palestinian Authority law and regulations, since he was arrested by Israel for his "participation in the struggle against the occupation", Barghouti is entitled to a monthly salary from the PA of 6,000 shekels [at today's exchange rate, about US$1,637 - TOW]. According to PA law, his salary will increase over time to 12,000 shekels per month 
[at today's exchange rate, about US$3,274 - TOW]Barghouti's starting salary is higher than most other terrorist prisoners, since he has already spent 11 years in prison for past involvement in terrorism. During his first term in prison, Barghouti received an estimated cumulative sum of 447,000 shekels [at today's exchange rate, roughly US$122,000 - TOW]Additionally, according the PA law and regulations, upon his release, Barghouti was also entitled to a $6,000 one-time release grant and a guaranteed salary paid by the PA even if he did not work... ["Another baby murderer to receive fat salary from the PA", Palestinian Media Watch, January 8, 2019]

Barghouti's younger brother, 29 year old Saleh Omar Barghouti
shot and injured seven Israeli civilians at a bus stop outside of the Ofra settlement on December 9. Among the wounded was a pregnant woman who gave birth prematurely. Her baby boy died three days later... [The two are the sons] of West Bank Hamas leader Omar Barghouti, from the village of Kobar... [Jerusalem Post, December 20, 2018]
That younger brother who was the subject of an intense manhunt for several days was arrested on December 12, 2018 when IDF soldiers, conducting a manhunt, intercepted a cab he was riding in. Saleh died in the subsequent shootout with IDF forces. A second Palestinian Arab suspect also from Kobar, Wa’ed Barghouti, was arrested separately shortly afterward.

Image Source
The Barghouti's home village of Kobar (also written Cobar, Kaubar and Khobar), controlled by the Palestinian Authority and located about 10 km north of its seat of government, Ramallah, has a population about 3,500 (as of  2007). 

Almost all of them belong to one of eight family-clans of which the most prominent is the Barghoutis. 

For a thinly-populated Palestinian Arab place, it possesses a rich and strikingly repellent charge-sheet:
Omar al-Abed, 19, from a Palestinian Arab settlement called Kobar - the home village of the notorious convicted Palestinian Arab terrorist Marwan Barghouti - jumped the fence in the dark and made his way to one of the nearby, brightly-lit houses. He burst into the home around 9:30 pm brandishing a kitchen knife he had purchased earlier in the day for what he admitted to be an intended knife attack on Jews... Times of Israel says the Salomons were celebrating the birth of a baby boy in the family. Also that El'ad's wife, Michal, managed to flee from the carnage and protect their five children behind a locked door in the house from where she called police. That same report quotes the 19 year-old murderer saying he was driven to carry out the killings by the incitement of "the imams on the Temple Mount". This statement ought to be getting much media amplification but almost certainly will not... ["22-Jul-17: Friday night carnage in Neve Tzuf"]
For reasons best known to certain kinds of Brits, the English West Midlands industrial town of Walsall in Staffordshire chose to establish a twinning relationship with Kobar which is still in operation. What each side gets from this borders on the frankly disturbing.
Kobar's economic basis was bleak as of 2011 which is when some detailed analysis was published. Some 62.5% of its population were categorized at the time as "not economically active". The village was reported to have (and this the whole list) an olive oil-press and two stone quarries, 14 grocery stores, one fruit and veg store, five "professional workshops", three service stores, and one shop for agricultural tools [source].

We have not yet found published data to show what share of daily life in this violent place is sustained by lifetime Pay-to-Slay stipends from the Palestinian Authority. Whatever it is, it grew larger today. Thanks, Europe.