Wednesday, November 13, 2019

13-Nov-19: Thank you, Mr Foreign Minister

Jordan's Foreign Minister [Image Source]
This is an open letter.

Minister HE Dr Ayman Hussein Abdullah Al-Safadi,
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Queen Alia Airport Street,
Amman 11180

Dear Mr Safadi,

Thank you. In a rare announcement as Jordan's long-serving foreign minister, you spoke publicly and for the record yesterday about how the kingdom views the US extradition request it received officially in March 2017 ["14-Mar-17: Sbarro massacre mastermind is now formally charged and her extradition is requested"], and unofficially four years before that.

Your message in our words: Jordan has rejected the US request for some years and confirms that it still rejects it. Frankly, this is very helpful.

That's because you have been careful until now to avoid public mentions of the embarrassing and humiliating way your country harbors the confessed Sbarro bomber and FBI Most Wanted fugitive terrorist Ahlam Tamimi. Tamimi, as you may know, faces charges in a United States federal court for her central role in the Hamas-inspired massacre that took the lives of many people, half of them children. One of those children was our daughter Malki who was just fifteen years old.

More than most people, and for reasons related to what we lost in the Sbarro atrocity, we are aware of how willing you are to discuss Jordan's disavowal of its treaty obligations to the US in private meetings about which we have gotten reports and how unwilling you are to talk about this important issue in public.

You surely recall how we tried to draw out your response in an article we published more than two years ago, addressed to you: "26-Jul-17: We listened carefully to Jordan's foreign minister and we have 10 questions".

And as you may remember, you ignored us totally. So did and do your staff. Your ambassador to Washington even blocks us on Twitter. We assume this is what feeling really embarrassed about an issue will cause even a polite and cultured person like Ambassador Dina Kawar to do.

In the last two weeks, the US has clarified in a gratifying way how it rejects the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan's claims that the 1995 Extradition Treaty signed by the late King Hussein and President Bill Clinton's administration is invalid. You are invited to read what we wrote about the US statement just yesterday: "12-Nov-19: On Jordan, the US and the children killed in a pizzeria". It's also well reported in Haaretz (click to download the printed version).

And also yesterday, perhaps unwittingly, you spoke as Jordan's Foreign Minister to a public event and put Jordan's position - and presumably your own personal views as well - on the record.

We are pleased that you did - pleased enough that we want others to know. As many others as possible. And especially the small tribe of US Congressional figures making frequent pilgrimages to Jordan and to its king ["09-Nov-19: Another delegation from US Congress at Jordan's royal court. Did extradition come up?"]

We found your blunt and deliberate words on the popular Jordanian news-site JO24. (We remember it as one of the Jordanian TV channels that lovingly provided Jordanian audiences with real-time, live video coverage of Ahlam Tamimi's wedding to her cousin Nizar on June 16, 2012).
Safadi: We have received US requests to extradite Ahlam al-Tamimi. We confirm our commitment to the law that prevents it (JO24)
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Affairs, Ayman Safadi, said that several US authorities asked Jordan to extradite Jordanian citizen Ahlam Al-Tamimi, pointing out that Jordan respects and abides by the law "and the law does not allow it".
Safadi said during a press conference to talk about the expiry of the annexes of the Wadi Araba agreement related to the areas of Baqoura and Ghamr, on Monday, that Jordan is a state that respects the law. Jordanian law does not allow the extradition of a citizen to a third country and there is no legal basis for the delivery of Ahlam al-Tamimi.
He pointed out that there are requests from US authorities requesting the extradition of Tamimi, "but Jordan deals in accordance with the law and the law does not allow extradition."
In late March 2017, the Court of Cassation upheld a decision by the Amman Court of Appeal to reject Washington's request for the extradition of Ahlam al-Tamimi, accused of involvement in an attack that killed two US citizens in 2001.
Tamimi spent 10 years in Israeli jails after being sentenced to 16 years [might be a machine translation error - see below] in prison for participating in a martyrdom operation of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in the Sbarro restaurant in West Jerusalem in August 2001 in which 15 people were killed and 122 others were injured.
The occupation [a reference to Israel] released Tamimi and handed over to Jordan in 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas.
[Source: "Safadi: We have received US requests to extradite Ahlam al-Tamimi. We confirm our commitment to the law that prevents it", JO24, November 12, 2019 - the original article is in Arabic; the English text is via Google Translate]
(For background to the US extradition request, see "03-Nov-19: In Washington, a step towards bringing the Sbarro bomber to justice")

You are the latest in a line of foreign ministers - eight of them so far - to have served Jordan since its absolute monarch King Abdullah II ascended to the throne. You are the first to have publicly expressed, to the best of our knowledge, a frank and open disdain for an entirely proper request made by the United States, your country's most important strategic partner.

We confess to being surprised by how inaccurate your claims are, at least in the form reported by the Jordan media. Naturally, if they misquoted you (which sometimes happens to politicians), we assume you will see to it that the record is fixed.

Meanwhile, on the assumption that what we see does reflect what you said, allow us to point out some of what you got wrong. And some matters that ought to be more on your mind than they seem to be.
  • You say "Jordanian law does not allow the extradition of a citizen to a third country". That's not true of Jordanian law. And it's not what Jordan's highest court said in its March 2017 decision to prohibit Tamimi's extradition. The court's argument has to do with a narrow, highly technical alleged flaw in how the treaty was accepted by Jordan. And by the way, officials in the US State Department have told us the allegations of a flaw are simply untrue as a matter of fact. 
  • As you surely also know, even if there was a technical flaw, it could have been fixed by Jordan's parliament (whose members are by and large selected by the king, according to this Wikipedia entry) at any time. Including this afternoon. Somehow no one in Jordan has gotten around to even trying.
  • Leaving the dubious legal claims about the treaty aside, it's a fact that Jordan's still-active extradition treaty with the US went into full legal effect on July 29, 1995 and that both countries treated it as being valid and effective for the next 22 years. Jordan, as you know, has extradited several Jordanians to the US. We can give you the details of several of them who are currently serving long US prison sentences. Just ask.
  • What's more, based on things we have learned from open source materials, Jordan has never once failed to extradite fugitives to the US when asked to do so - until the Tamimi case.
  • Is there really any doubt (as you seem to claim) about Jordan having extradition treaties with other countries? We have not found an authoritative source but the list certainly includes at least Lebanon and France. A treaty is currently been negotiated with Australia where our Malki was born.
  • Then there's the money: Jordan, which struggles economically and has huge burdens, is monumentally dependent on US aid. The US provides far more foreign aid to Jordan than anyone else does.
  • In fact, on scanning the same Arabic media source that reports your disappointing statement about diasvowing your country's treaty with the US, we were startled to find a report ["$1 Billion Additional Aid Will Reach Jordan Next Month", JO24 and archived here] that underscores in a concrete way how hugely important US support and generosity is to the kingdom. Somehow this is not reflected in the tone or content of what you are quoted as saying.
  • While you are not to blame for this, we noticed what the JO24 report on your speech said about Ahlam Tamimi. It's sadly typical of the chronically inaccurate journalism emanating from other sources in your country. Tamimi, it wrongly states, is "accused of involvement in an attack that killed two US citizens in 2001". Accused? Tamimi proudly boasts she did it, and was convicted by a tribunal of three Israeli judges who sentenced her to sixteen terms of life imprisonment. JO24 says it was 16 years which isn't close to the truth (but might be a translation error). But in any event, she was out of prison as a result of the catastrophic Shalit Deal after just eight years. 
  • And while it's true that she is charged by the US with killing just two US citizens - our daughter and the pregnant daughter of our dear friends the Haymans - the number of lives Tamimi extinguished, including the non-US citizens among them, is 16. One of those is a young mother who has been lying unconscious in all the years since then.
  • Thanks to very uncharacteristic and misplaced Hashemite tolerance, Tamimi had her own television program called Breezes of the Free or in Arabic “نسيم الأحرار” [background: "6-May-12: What lies behind freedom of the Palestinian Arab press?"], produced by Hamas and recorded unhindered, week after week, in the Jordanian capital between 2012 and 2016. From there it was beamed literally throughout the world, everywhere that Arabic speaking audiences were found. This turned Tamimi into a global celebrity. As you know.
  • How does Jordan's willingness to allow Tamim's weekly incitement to terror, her gloating over the joys of blowing Jewish children to pieces, sit with your claim that the kingdom "respects and abides by the law"? Why is she permitted to appear as a celebrity in public events in Jordan? On Jordan's commercial television? Why was her rapturous welcome back to Jordan in October 2011 conducted in a government court-house? (Here's the proof.) Why isn't she in a Jordanian prison? Why isn't she on a flight to Washington now, in handcuffs and chains.
  • And why, in the name of all that's good and decent, do you express no concern, no discomfort, no embarrassment, no nausea over the reality that Jordan has given Tamimi, who has never denied the murders in which she was involved, a dream life? Do you have children? Do you know anyone who does? Are you aware that Tamimi has boasted repeatedly that it was children she set out to kill with her bomb?
Thank you for clarifying what you have already clarified. It's a good basis for the US media to engage with you and to understand at a deeper level what your published comments mean in the context of US/Jordan relations and the billion dollars that's coming your way in December.

Naturally, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss what we have just placed in front of you. We would also want to take the opportunity to share with you some things you might not know about the beautiful life of the child whose unbearable loss we continue to mourn.

Frimet and Arnold Roth
Jerusalem, Israel

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

12-Nov-19: On Jordan, the US and the children killed in a pizzeria

Image Source
Nine days ago, the US State Department made an announcement that has a significant impact on our ongoing efforts to have our child's killer brought to justice in the United States.

We wrote about it here: "03-Nov-19: In Washington, a step towards bringing the Sbarro bomber to justice".

Shortly afterwards, the Washington editor at Haaretz, Amir Tibon, did what we think is a fine job of giving the State Department statement some context. It appeared online (text below) on November 3, and in the paper edition. (Click for the PDF)
U.S. Rejects Jordan's Refusal to Extradite Hamas Terrorist Wanted for Trial
Development could lead to further American pressure on Amman to extradite Ahlam Tamimi, who played a major role in organizing the Sbarro attack in Jerusalem in 2001
Haaretz - Amir Tibon, Washington, D.C.November 7, 2019
WASHINGTON — The White House is rejecting claims by its Middle Eastern ally Jordan that a Palestinian-Jordanian terrorist who was involved in the murder of U.S. citizens cannot be extradited to face trial in the United States.
A new report published this week by the State Department says explicitly that the U.S. considers its extradition treaty with Jordan to be valid, despite a Jordanian court ruling from 2017 that said the opposite.
This development could lead to further American pressure on Jordan to extradite Ahlam Tamimi, a Hamas terrorist who played a major role in organizing the “Sbarro attack” in Jerusalem in August 2001, a suicide bombing which led to the deaths of 15 people, including two American citizens.
Tamimi currently lives in Jordan with her family. She was arrested by Israel in September 2001, convicted for her role in the attack in 2003, and sentenced to 16 life terms in prison; however, in 2011 she was released from prison as part of the “Shalit deal,” in which Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to release more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in return for the release of one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, from captivity in Gaza.
After her release Tamimi moved to Jordan, where she was born and where most of her family currently resides. Ever since 2012, she has been living and working in Amman. Over the years, she has given many interviews, made public speeches, and has also hosted her own television show on a network affiliated with Hamas.
Ever since Tamimi’s release from prison, families who lost their loved ones in the Sbarro attack have been fighting to bring her to justice in the United States, where the justice system is obliged by law to pursue terrorists who killed American citizens abroad. Tamimi also appears on FBI’s most wanted terrorists list.
In 2017, progress was made toward bringing her to stand trial in the U.S., when the U.S. Department of Justice unveiled terror charges against her. Just days after that happened, however, Jordan’s highest court ruled that Jordanian law prohibited her extradition to the United States.
Jordan has since claimed that Tamimi cannot be extradited and that the extradition agreement that the Kingdom had signed with the U.S. in 1995 was invalid. No progress on her extradition has been made since.
Two months ago, Haaretz reported that two senior members of Congress were pressing the Trump administration to act on the subject. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the committee’s ranking member, sent a joint letter to the Department of Justice, seeking answers on the subject.
The two lawmakers noted in their letter that despite previous indications that legal action against Tamimi would move forward in the United States, no progress has been made for the past two years. The main obstacle, they wrote, has been the Jordanian government’s refusal to cooperate with U.S. authorities in bringing her to trial, based on a false claim that Jordan was unable to do anything to comply with U.S. authorities on this subject.
Nadler and Collins asked the department to provide “information regarding the current status” of the efforts to “overcome these objections.”
This week, for the first time since the Jordanian court ruling two years ago, the U.S. government officially stated that it rejects Jordan’s position on the subject.
This new development appeared in the department’s annual report on terrorism around the world. While it praised Jordan and its security forces for their actions against terror organizations, it also mentioned the country's harboring of Tamimi.
“A U.S. criminal complaint was unsealed in 2017 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 report states.
The report further notes that “in 2018, Jordan continued to cite a court ruling that its constitution forbids the extradition of Jordanian nationals. The United States regards the extradition treaty as valid.”
Arnold Roth, whose daughter Malki, 15, was one of the U.S. citizens murdered in the Sbarro attack, told Haaretz that “what has just happened at the State Department is a welcome step in the direction of overdue justice. It will reverberate, though we realize many steps still lie ahead before we see Malki's killer in chains and handcuffs.”
Roth added, however, that he and his wife, who is also a U.S. citizen, have “knocked on a long list of U.S. government doors since Jordan's highest court blocked American efforts to bring Ahlam Tamimi to trial in Washington.
He said that "Being ignored by senior public figures, members of Congress, their staffers, officials, diplomats - that's been startling for us. We've learned it's easier for them to pretend we're not there, to just not take our calls, to leave our emails unanswered. Who wants to bump heads with the bereaved parents of a murdered child?”
Roth explained that since the Department of Justice has pursued the criminal complaint against Tamimi, the biggest question was how the U.S. could get Jordan to extradite her, despite the Hashemite Kingdom’s refusal to do so thus far.
“My impression is that the Justice Department made an important step in 2017 by deciding to prosecute Tamimi and committing to bring her to trial in the U.S., but they have reached the limit of their jurisdiction,” Roth said in a phone call from Jerusalem, adding that the State Department’s handling of the case has been disappointing and frustrating for the most part.
“In the past few weeks and for the first time, a senior U.S. government figure has entered the picture and indicated to my wife and me that there are quiet moves to press Jordan to comply with the extradition treaty,” Roth said. “Though the years of inaction have been hugely frustrating, it has been good to hear they do indeed want to see Tamimi brought to trial in Washington. They say it’s a matter of how and when.”
Roth noted that Jordan’s King Abdullah regularly visits Washington and meets with senior U.S. officials, and that the Tamimi case has never been publicly raised in the context of those meetings. Just in recent months, the King had met with senior Trump administration officials while visiting the U.S. in September, and then hosted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi when she visited Amman two weeks ago.
“Our family is completely not political,. We are not asking for anything except to see this person, who participated in the murder of our daughter, stand trial,” Roth said. “For us this is not about politics, it’s about justice.”
Image Source
No mainstream newspaper anywhere has taken up the Haaretz article or the development that it reports. Not even the Hebrew edition of Haaretz.

But starting this past weekend, there has been a wave of responses in the Arabic media. We have seen dozens of them already, all taking an essentially identical line.

That's reflected in the article we reproduce below, from an Arab source but in English.
MP calls for Jordan not to extradite freed Palestinian prisoner to US
Middle East  Monitor - November 11, 2019
Yahya Al-Saud, Jordanian MP and chairman of Palestine Committee in Jordanian Parliament, has called for Amman not to accept a US request to extradite freed female Palestinian prisoner Ahlam Al-Tamimi, Al-Resalah newspaper reported yesterday .
This call came in the wake of reports about tension between the US administration and Amman over the latter’s rejection of requests to extradite Al-Tamimi, who holds a Jordanian passport.
“The Jordanian government must protect its citizens and America cannot take on the role of international police officer,” Al-Saud said. “[America] has to take the side of the peace camp, not oppression camp,” he added.
“I think that I am representing the view of the Jordanian public in saying that the US is a partner in the occupation [of Palestine] through several measures it has taken in this regard.”
Al-Saud added: “Ahlam was sentenced and released. It is not acceptable to be sentenced twice. However, she did not commit a crime, but defended her country.”
In March 2017, the Jordanian Court of Cassation upheld a ruling of a lower court that Amman must not extradite Ahlam to the US as she is a Jordanian citizen.
Al-Tamimi was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces in 2001, sentenced and spent ten years in jail before she was released to Jordan in 2011 as part of a prisoner swap reached between the Palestinian resistance and Israel.
In 2017 she was included in the FBI’s most wanted list.
(For the record, Middle East Monitor routinely comes in for bitter criticism from well-informed observers (quoted in Wikipedia) who see it as "strongly pro-Muslim Brotherhood and pro-Hamas', a "conspiracy theory-peddling anti-Israel organisation" and "antisemitic".)

Image Source
We have not yet seen a single published comment or report in the Arabic language - not from a Jordanian source, not from any other part of the Arab world - responding to these developments by calling for Jordan to comply with its treaty obligations to its extremely generous foreign aid provider and critically important strategic partner, the US.

We find no Arab call demanding that this moral stain besmirching Jordan's place in the international community be removed. No expression of embarrassment by Jordanian thought leaders distancing themselves from the disgraceful enthusiasm for a self-avowed killer of Jewish children who has lived the live of a celebrity in the Hashemite Kingdom since returning to live there and raise her family, starting in 2011.

The massacre at central Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria took the lives of fifteen people, eight of them children including our Malki. A sixteenth victim, a young mother who was there with her two year old child, has remained in a vegetative state in all the years since then.

The government of Jordan in its customary fashion has stayed stoney silent about what the US has now said publicly about the treaty that Jordan disavows (i.e. that the US regards it as perfectly valid and enforceable). Jordan remains utterly silent as well about the appalling views expressed in its parliament about Tamimi and the US request to extradite her.

Jordan's years'-long public silence on every aspect of its illicit sheltering of confessed bomber and FBI Most Wanted Terrorist Ahlam Tamimi stands in shabby contrast to its many bold, principled and public declarations about its determination to fight terrorism. 

For instance, this news report below from a September 2019 oration by King Abdullah II. Notice its odd but characteristic use of the word "holistic" (see "03-Dec-17: Understanding Jordan's king and his "holistic" approach to terror"). 
"...Jordan launched the Aqaba Process in 2015. Our initiatives have aimed at building a strong global platform, enabling multiple stakeholders to share expertise and focus resources in the fight against terror," the King said. The holistic approach is a major feature of the Aqaba Process and the partnerships that it led to, His Majesty added. "It goes beyond security cooperation, to recognise the wide range of relevant efforts: law enforcement; education; inclusive, sustainable development, that gives people especially young people opportunity and hope; and conflict resolution, to achieve peaceful political solutions to the crises that terrorists exploit," the King said. His Majesty called for countering the extremist narrative, on-line and off-line. "This means fighting the ideological battle on behalf of core values humanity depends on: mutual respect, understanding, and coexistence," the King added. His Majesty urged more leaders to engage in this process. Speakers at the high-level meeting commended Jordan’s efforts in launching the Aqaba Process to bring stakeholders together with the goal of countering terrorism within a holistic approach. [From a Jordanian Foreign Ministry report on Leaders Dialogue: Strategic Responses to Terrorist and Violent Extremist Narratives (Source).]
Coming from the autocrat who keeps our child's killer, who confesses for the record to the bombing, safe and out of the clutches of the US Justice Department, the FBI and the Federal courts of the United States, the hypocrisy and sheer dishonesty on display here is disturbing.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

09-Nov-19: Another delegation from US Congress at Jordan's royal court. Did extradition come up?

That's Congressman Adam Smith (second from left) with Jordan's king
in the Jordanian royal palace this past Thursday [Image Source]
This post looks at yet another US Congressional delegation to fly into Jordan and meet with its king - the third such high level political mission in the past month.

As bereaved parents battling for years to get the criminally-indicted fugitive bomber who led the attack on a pizzeria sent to trial in Washington [see "20-Mar-17: The Hashemite Kingdom's courts have spoken: The murdering FBI fugitive will not be handed over"], we pay close attention to which American politicians visit Jordan.

The following account comes from the website of Jordan's embassy in Washington DC, and originates with Jordan's Royal Hashemite Court:
His Majesty King Abdullah, on Thursday [November 7, 2019] at Al Husseiniya Palace, received a US House of Representatives delegation, headed by Representatives (sic) Adam Smith, to discuss the strategic partnership between Jordan and the United States, and the latest regional developments.
During the meeting, attended by His Royal Highness Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein, King Abdullah expressed Jordan's appreciation for the support provided by the United States in development and defence, emphasising the important role of Congress in this regard.
The meeting also covered efforts to reach political solutions to crises in the Middle East and restore security and stability to the peoples of the region, as well as regional and international efforts to counter terrorism within a holistic approach.
For their part, members of the congressional delegation underscored the strength of US-Jordanian ties and keenness to bolster them in various fields, expressing appreciation for Jordan’s role, led by His Majesty, in promoting peace and stability in the region.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Adviser to His Majesty for Communication and Coordination Bisher Khasawneh, Adviser to His Majesty for Policies and Media Kemal Al Nasser, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Maj. Gen. Yousef Hneiti attended the meeting.
We reached out to Rep. Adam Smith's office yesterday, asking four questions. We have gotten a "we're onto it" letter today but nothing of substance. We're waiting.

Image Source: Aljazeera
A Democrat, he's an important figure, serving currently as U.S. Representative for Washington's 9th congressional district and since earlier this year as chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

We sent similar questions to the office of Rep. Jason Crow (Democrat - represents Colorado's 6th congressional district) who visited the king in Jordan on October 6, 2019 [see "08-Oct-19: Again: Jordan's inscrutable US relationship"]. No one from his office has troubled to reply. We have made numerous attempts.

We sent similar questions as well to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Democrat - represents Caliifornia's 12th district) who headed a large and senior delegation to Jordan two weeks ago ["19-Oct-19: House Speaker Pelosi led an official visit today to the chief protector of our child's killer"].

Speaker Pelosi's group included (in alphabetical order by surname to avoid offending anyone's pride):
Congresswoman Susan Davis (Democrat CA-53 and "one of the House Armed Services Committee’s most senior members"); Rep. Eliot Engel (Democrat; chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; represents New York's 16th District); Rep. Ron Kind (Democrat; represents Wisconsin's 3rd District; member of the House Ways and Means Committee); Congresswoman Elaine Luria (Democrat; represents Virginia's 2nd district; a member of the House Armed Services Committee); Rep. Stephen Lynch (Democrat - represents Massachusetts's 8th District; currently chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security which is a subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform); Rep. Adam Schiff (Democrat - represents California's 28th district; chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence); Rep. Bennie Thompson (Democrat - represents Mississippi's 2nd District; currently chair of the House Homeland Security Committee); Rep. William "Mac" Thornberry (the only Republican in the group; represents Texas' 13th District; ranking member in the House Armed Services Committee which he chaired for four years until January 2019).
No response to our numerous messages to each of the members of the Pelosi delegation has been received. None. Not even an acknowledgment.

We expect a higher degree of transparency and responsiveness from Congress people doing the business of the nation when calling on foreign leaders.

And that's before we start trying to explain to people how soul-destroying it is to be a bereaved family trying to bring a child's confessed killer to justice and running into endless US government roadblocks. Our murdered child, Malka Chana Roth, was fifteen and a US citizen when her life was stolen from her in the massacre at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria. The mastermind of that Hamas-inspired barbarism lives free as a bird in Jordan under the confounding protection of Jordan's autocratic king and his law courts.

We're also deeply irked by the total absence (as far as we can tell) of US push-back by members of Congress in general and particularly these representatives, all of them, to Jordan's brazen conduct in asserting that a key treaty with its most important foreign partner is somehow void - not only now but from thhe day in 1995 it was signed by King Hussein (the father of Jordan's current king) and President Bill Clinton.

The US State Department, which was curiously silent on the matter till exactly a week ago, now says publicly and for the record that
In 2018, Jordan continued to cite a court ruling that its constitution forbids the extradition of Jordanian nationals. The United States regards the extradition treaty as valid. [Source: Latest annual edition of State Department Country Reports on Terrorism (Published November 1, 2019) at page 135. For our commentary, see "03-Nov-19: In Washington, a step towards bringing the Sbarro bomber to justice"]
If and when we hear something substantive from Rep. Adam Smith's office, we plan to report it here.

Monday, November 04, 2019

03-Nov-19: In Washington, a step towards bringing the Sbarro bomber to justice

We posted this meme in August 2019.
Instagram closed down Tamimi's account a few days later.
We report here on an unexpected, modestly encouraging development in our efforts to bring to justice the fugitive Hamas savage who bombed a Jerusalem pizzeria because of the children inside it.

Jewish children, as it happens. Exactly whom the bomber was targeting.

But first some background.

Our fifteen year old daughter Malki was one of many children killed in the bombing of a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem whose deaths were sadistically celebrated as a triumph in parts of the Arab world.

Over the years since the massacre, one of the hardest things for us to accept as bereaved parents has been the deplorable ongoing role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in all this. And the minor, essentially invisible, outrage it has aroused among people we think ought to be seriously enraged. This is not about politics after all but justice.

Ahlam Tamimi, a Jordanian woman who says she was Hamas' first female terrorist and who masterminded the bombing, has publicly confessed - on camera, for the record, multiple times - to the role she played. She has proudly called it "my operation" and has said she has no regrets about what she did.

Describing the shared-taxi ride that got her out of Jerusalem minutes after the explosion, she cheerfully shared the mood:
They said on the radio that the number had increased to five. I wanted to hide my smile, but I just couldn't. Allah be praised, it was great. As the number of dead kept increasing, the passengers were applauding. They didn't even know that I was among them... We passed a Palestinian police checkpoint, and the policemen were laughing. One of them stuck his head in and said: 'Congratulations to us all.' Everybody was happy. [Source: MEMRI]
Her satanic handiwork in fact left behind 16 destroyed lives. Dozens more victims were horribly maimed but survived.

Tamimi, born in Jordan in 1980 to a Jordanian family, lived in Jordan until she started college studies at Birzeit University, near Ramallah in the area today controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Few of our readers will know that Beirzeit's Arabic-language Wikipedia page (archived here in case it, you know, gets lost) names her as one of its notable alumnae along with numerous other terrorists. The more widely-read English-language version cautiously leaves her and the others out.

Tamimi returned to Jordan after Israel conditionally commuted her sentence (to time served) in the extortionate 2011 transaction known as the Shalit Deal in which a sole Israeli hostage was freed by the terrorists of Hamas in exchange for 1,027 imprisoned terrorists ["19-Oct-11: Haaretz: Shalit prisoner swap marks 'colossal failure' for mother of Israeli bombing victim"]. Tamimi, serving 16 consecutive life sentences, was one of them.

Now married ["22-Jun-12: A wedding and what came before it"], a mother, a celebrity, an honored speaker at public eventts where she shares lecterns with senior figures from Jordan's highest ecehelon, she continues to live there today, free as a bird. It's a dream life.

It should never have turned out that way. A US Federal criminal complaint (roughly the same as an indictment) issued in 2013 but kept secret and under seal until March 2017 ["14-Mar-17: Sbarro massacre mastermind is now formally charged and extradition is sought"] makes her a fugitive from US law.

Not right away but nearly a year later, a substantial State Department reward was announced ["31-Jan-18: There's now a $5 million reward for bringing the terrorist Ahlam Tamimi to justice"]. And most significantly there's an unsatisfied US request to its ally, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, to extradite her under their 1995 treaty ["21-Mar-17: Tamimi extradition: When it's claimed that something is illegal in Jordan..."]

Absolutely determined that she should face justice, we have written often and bitterly about Jordan's brazen flaunting of its treaty with the US. It is clear to us and to better-informed commentators (this 2017 journal article from National Security Law Brief is a good example) that Jordan's claims that the 1995 extradition treaty with the US is unconstitutional are baseless.

Jordan in fact asserts the treaty has never had any legal effect since the day it was signed. But in reality, the kingdom has extradited to the US every time it was asked to do so. Right up until the Tamimi case.

Note that neither the Jordanian government nor any of its diplomats, senior politicians or royal family members has claimed Jordan's constitution keeps Tamimi safe from extradition. That role has been taken exclusively by the judges of its Court of Cassation, in effect the kingdom's supreme court. Everyone else in Jordan's power system has stayed silent about Tamimi and extradition. And no reporter, as far as we know, has ever pressed Jordan's authorities to explain.

Parallel to that, there has been a striking absence of public statements on the matter by US government sources. Even as that has continued, we have watched, infuriated and offended, the steady parade of US officials paying visits to Amman and King Abdullah's palace and the frequent return visits by the king and his entourage to the US Congress, to the White House, to the welcoming US media.

All of this with no mention by any of them about how Jordan demeans its treaty with the US.

No US government official has said what we believe ought to have been said over and again: that Jordan disclaiming responsibility for extraditing the confessed bomber and mass murderer of children - and harboring her - is wrong and offensive. That it breaches Jordan's bilateral obligations. That the US, which lavishes financial, military and other support on the Hashemite Kingdom, won't stand for the rank injustice the Jordanians are getting away with.

Nothing. Till now.

What's just happpened? Since 1985, the US Secretary of State had to deliver to Congress (in accordance with Title 22, Section 2656(f) of the United States Code) an annual report on global terrorism and what countries around the world are doing to defeat it. Since 2005 when a name change was made, these have been published as "Country Report on Terrorism". Jordan is always listed.

Last year's report [here] introduces Jordan (at page 138) in the customary way:
Jordan remained a committed partner on counterterrorism and countering violent extremism in 2017. 
Then for the first time it mentions Jordan thwarting the US efforts to extradite Tamimi:
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.
And that's it. Evidently, whoever compiled it had nothing more to say.

To us, this was a disturbingly odd summing up. While it airs Jordan's anti-extradition viewpoint, it says nothing about what the US believes. It cannot be, we said to ourselves, that the US lacks a view about this scandal. That it has nothing at all to say to the Congress. Something's wrong. What are they hiding and why?

The 2018 edition came out yesterday [here].

It adopts essentially identical language to the paragraph above. But then at page 135 it adds this new conclusion:
In 2018, Jordan continued to cite a court ruling that its constitution forbids the extradition of Jordanian nationals. The United States regards the extradition treaty as valid.
And there it is.

For the first time, a simple, clear public statement by the US clarifying what we keep asserting: that when Jordan denies it has any obligation to extradite our child's killer, that's wrong. It's also unacceptable to the United States.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi with her Jordanian hosts in Amman
two weeks ago [Image Source]
But here's what happens in the real world.

Two weeks ago ["19-Oct-19: House Speaker Pelosi led an official visit today to the chief protector of our child's killer"], nine members of the US Congress, eight of them Democrats - all of them chairs or senior members of House of Representatives committees - made a flying visit to Amman, Jordan's capital, and the royal palace. There they sat down with the king and his son the crown prince.

The distinguished Congressional travelers' names:
Ranking Member Mac Thornberry, House Armed Services Committee; Chairman Eliot Engel, House Foreign Affairs Committee; Chairman Bennie Thompson, Homeland Security Committee; Chairman Adam Schiff, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Congressman Ron Kind, House Ways and Means Committee; Congresswoman Susan Davis, House Armed Services Committee; Congressman Stephen Lynch, Chairman, House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security; Congresswoman Elaine Luria, House Armed Services Committee; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
(Strikingly, no one from the House Judiciary Committee took place. That's relevant because of what's in this recent news report: "Parents of US Girl Killed in 2001 Jerusalem Bombing Call for Congressional Investigation Into Fugitive Hamas Terrorist Living Freely in Jordan" [Ben Cohen in Algemeiner, July 17, 2019])

Had we been tipped off in advance about the delegation meeting with King Abdullah, we would have asked them to challenge their host's disregard of a quarter-century-old cornerstone agreement solemnly entered into with the Clinton Administrationn by his revered father, King Hussein. As senior lawmakers, they could have reminded him how annual US aid to Jordan has nearly quadrupled in historical terms over the last 15 years. An authoritative source [Congressional Research Service, April 2019] says roughly $20.4 billion had been given as at the end of Fiscal Year 2017. And a lot more since.

But their visit was unpublicized ahead of time. We had no idea.

On learning about it, we promptly did two things:
  • We messaged each of the Congress people and asked them to engage with us. How many people, seeking justice for a murdered loved one, a child, a US citizen who never reached her sixteenth birthday, do these representatives ever hear from? Every one of these elected officials has a well-staffed office, people who are paid to deal with nudniks and the general public. Not one of them has so far responded to us or acknowledged our questions in any way.
  • We asked the State Department if delegation members were briefed ahead of their Jordan visit, thinking that since there's so little media coverage of the Tamimi case, they could do with some help. We received a polite response. It says the Congressional delegation did indeed get a briefing before their Jordan visit but declined to say what matters the briefing covered - only that it "included a number of topics related to the bilateral relationship." 
So did the legislators ask King Abdullah II to extradite Tamimi so she can be put on trial for the terrorism charges she faces in Washington? We still don't know. And it's not for lack of trying. But at least we know now this isn't because Jordan is free of the obligation to hand her over. We know the State Department has an actual view on this. That view is the Jordanians surely are obliged and that justice demands it.

Jordan's government tracks what was published in yesterday's Country Report about Jordan and Ahlam Tamimi. We know because it's a front page item in today's Jordan Times, the English-language newspaper said to be controlled by the government (and which blocks us on Twitter):
The US Department of State has hailed Jordan as a “committed partner” in counterterrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE). In its Country Reports on Terrorism 2018, the Department of State commended Jordan’s “leading role” in the global coalition to defeat the Daesh terror group... 
Hailed and commended, yes. As for the State Department report saying the US regards the extradition treaty as valid, that part the authoritative Jordanian daily's editors simply ignore. They just choose not to report it. And for those laboring under the illusion of a free, liberal and fair-minded Hashemite Kingdom, you might want to glance at "20-Jan-18: Shutting down media critics in Jordan isn't quite the challenge it might seem to be". According to Freedom House, Jordan has one of the world's most unfree news industries, media and human rights environments.

Nonetheless, what's just happened amounts in our view to a welcome step in the direction of overdue justice. There haven't been many of those till now. So we're feeling fine with it.

UPDATE November 10, 2019: The Haaretz article which was published on line is in today's print edition of the newspaper. View the printed page here.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

02-Nov-19: Again: Friday night rocket barrages from Gaza

As the Sabbath ends here in Jerusalem, we - like many of the families living around us - go as soon as we can to our Internet devices to see what we didn't hear about during the past 25 hours. And it turns out to have been an especially violent weekend.
Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip fired 10 rockets into Israel in two separate barrages on Friday night, the army said... Warning sirens had gone off in the town of Sderot and in other Israeli communities along the Gaza border as many families were eating Friday night Shabbat dinner... One projectile slammed into a house in the town of Sderot, while the Iron Dome system intercepted eight and the tenth fell in open ground. The army responded several hours later with strikes on several terror targets in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
Palestinian media reported that several airstrikes targeted training sites and outposts affiliated with Hamas and other groups. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said three men sustained moderate or serious shrapnel wounds from one of the airstrikes.
In the early hours of Saturday, sirens again sounded in Sderot and the village of Ibim. The IDF later attributed the sirens to “non-rocket fire” from Gaza into Israel.
During the earlier barrage, a 65-year-old woman was lightly hurt when she fell while running toward a shelter, medics said. Five people were treated for anxiety.
The attack was one of the largest in recent months...
The rocket barrages came a day after a rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open field. There were no reports of injuries or damage in Thursday’s attack. ["Rocket fired from Gaza hits home in Sderot as Iron Dome intercepts 8 others", Times of Israel, November 1, 2019]
Deploying the Iron Dome anti-missile system is expensive, as the news media here frequently remind us. As a general matter, the system rapidly informs its operators if a specific Israel-bound attack is on a trajectory likely to cause damage or injury. Then and (usually) only then, the IDF shoots to intercept.

There were eight intercepts on Friday night.

Here's how a crash-landing Gazan rocket, fired off in the general direction of anything Israeli, looks when it strikes your home. The security cam video clip in the Tweet below is from around 9:00 pm Friday night, via an Israeli news program:

The family living in the house, according to a paramedic quoted by Ynet,
"a couple in their 40s and their children, were in an adjacent building," he said. "They told us that as soon as the sirens sounded, they entered the protected area and left a few minutes later. They were not injured and did not need medical attention."
Spokesthugs for Hamas are quoted tonight [here] saying the Israeli airstrikes that followed shortly after the Gazan rocket barrages are a “dangerous escalation” and that the “Zionist enemy bears responsibility for its consequences and ramifications.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

30-Oct-19: A woman, a knife, a holy place

Today's would-be knifer brandished this
weapon [Image Source]
Female Palestinian Arabs equipped with concealed knives, possessed of extremely malicious intentions and making their way into or near the venerated Tomb of the Patriarchs in the holy city of Hebron are barely news any more.

Another was intercepted there this morning (Wednesday):
Suspect said to be in critical condition after attempted stabbing attack at Tomb of the Patriarchs holy site | A Palestinian woman tried to stab Israeli security forces Wednesday morning at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and was shot and critically wounded by officers at the scene, according to security forces. The woman, who wasn’t immediately identified, brandished a knife at the flashpoint West Bank holy site and attempted to attack one of the police officers deployed there, the Border Police said in a statement. Officers subsequently opened fire, and medical officials said she was in critical conditions, the statement said. The tense city of Hebron, where Palestinians live in close proximity to settlers who are guarded by Israeli troops, has been the scene of numerous stabbings and attempted stabbings in recent years. Last month, a 15-year-old Palestinian teenager was arrested after a knife was found in his bag among school textbooks during a security screening. ["Palestinian woman tries to stab Israeli troops in Hebron, is shot – police", Times of Israel, October 30, 2019]
There's a video clip here posted to Twitter by the news service of Israel's KAN public broadcaster.

Associated Press gives a characteristically laconic version of the background to this morning's thwarted murder/s, saying that
Palestinians have killed over 60 Israelis in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks since 2015. Israeli forces have killed over 260 Palestinians in that same period. Israel has described most of the Palestinians killed as attackers, but occasional clashes between protesters and soldiers have also turned deadly.
"Israel has described most of the Palestinians killed as attackers" says the newsagency. But presumably rational people like those the AP editors are writing for understand that it's all subjective and just ignore the knives, the incitement, the Palestinian street's celebrations accompanying Arab-on-Israeli stabbings.

Worth noting that during the 19 massively destructive years of Jordanian military occupation, no Jews were permitted into the Tomb, considered in Jewish tradition to be the second-holiest site in the world after Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

19-Oct-19: House Speaker Pelosi led an official visit today to the chief protector of our child's killer

Ms Pelosi in conference today with Jordan's king
and his son the Crown Prince [Image Source]
The official media mouthpiece of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan reports this evening (Saturday) on US politicians visiting, and paying generous homage to, King Abdullah II. At this hour, there is no other media source for this.

But there's much, all of it relevant, that the Jordanian media don't say.

Jordan harbors Ahlam Tamimi, the confessed Jordanian bomber of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem whose 2013 indictment by the US Department of Justice was unveiled (after a long period of secrecy) more than two and a half years ago ["14-Mar-19: Two years after Federal charges are unsealed, Ahlam Tamimi remains free. How is this happening?"] But she remains free, living in Jordan's capital.

Without the smallest reference to Ahlam Tamimi, or to Jordan's flat-out refusal to comply with an extradition request from its US ally, and of course with no hint of how phenomenally popular Tamimi is in Jordan's public opinion (enough to persuade the king to block the US request), here's the mouthpiece's Saturday night report in full:
Amman, Oct.19 (Petra)-- His Majesty King Abdullah, accompanied by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, met on Saturday with a delegation from the US Congress, headed by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The meeting, held as part of ongoing outreach with the US Congress’ Senate and House of Representatives, covered the cooperation and strategic partnership between Jordan and the United States, as well as regional developments.
Speaking at the meeting, attended by His Royal Highness Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein, King Abdullah expressed appreciation for the United States’ continuing support for Jordan in a number of fields, commending the US Congress’ position towards the Kingdom.
Discussing regional issues, foremost of which is the Palestinian cause, His Majesty stressed the need to reach just, lasting and comprehensive peace on the basis of the two-state solution, which guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 4 June 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Turning to the Syrian crisis, the King urged a political solution that safeguards Syria’s territorial integrity and the unity of its people, while guaranteeing the safe and voluntary return of refugees.
The meeting also covered regional and international efforts to counter terrorism within a comprehensive approach.
For their part, the US lawmakers commended Jordan’s efforts, led by His Majesty, in pursuit of peace and stability in the region, praising the King’s wisdom.
They expressed keenness to hear the King’s perspective on regional and global developments, adding that they are pleased to be present in Jordan as the Kingdom marks 20 years since His Majesty assumed his constitutional powers.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Adviser to His Majesty for Communication and Coordination Bisher Khasawneh, and Adviser to His Majesty for Policies and Media Kemal Al Nasser attended the meeting.
[Source: "King meets with US Congress delegation", PETRA (Jordan Government Media Office), October 19, 2019]

Side by side, Arabic and English versions of
Ahlam Tamimi's FBI Most Wanted poster [Image Source]
This latest high-level US visit comes on the heels of another Congressional delegation visit a mere eleven days earlier ["08-Oct-19: Again: Jordan's inscrutable US relationship"]. Our efforts to get the leader of that earlier delegation, Representative Jason Crow, to speak with us have been ignored by him and his staff.

Speaker Pelosi has had multiple meetings with the Jordanian king in the past year and a half including (at least) in April 2018 [here], March 2019 [here] and April 2019 [here]. Clearly, if she were so inclined, she's had plenty of opportunity to express concern about US justice thwarted.

Her silence is troubling.

We're going to make efforts to see what Ms Pelosi says she said to Jordan's absolute ruler today about why he demeans the extradition treaty his father King Hussein signed with the Clinton administration in 1995. Our track record in getting members of Congress to respond to questions like this is not very good but we're not giving up.

Meanwhile we're wondering:
  • Do Congressional delegations to Jordan get briefed by the State Department before they take off? 
  • Do the State Department or the Justice Department inform Amman-bound Cogressional visitors about the years-long pursuit of Tamimi, a jihadist in the service of Hamas who is astoundingly a free-as-a-bird celebrity living openly, not in hiding, in Jordan's capital, and the presenter for five years (starting February 2012) of a pro-terrorism TV show broadcast from Amman throughout the world?
  • Does Ms Pelosi know who Malki Roth was, and what was done to her  by the Jordanian terrorist when she was 15 years old? 
  • Does she know who Ahlam Tamimi is, what she stands for and where she lives? 
  • Does she, and do the other members of her delegation, know why the FBI has her on its Most Wanted Terrorists list?
  • Assuming the answer is no, will Attorney-General Barr and Ambassador Nathan Sales (the State Department's Counterterrorism Coordinator) please brief them now? And ensure future Congressional visitors to Jordan get the same briefing before they leave Washington?
And this.
Why are you learning about the Congressional visit from the blog of a pair of bereaved parents seeking justice for the on-the-run killer of their child, and not from the mainstream news?
UPDATE October 20, 2019 at 7:00 am

Along with broader news coverage (but not a single mention of Tamimi or how Jordan undermines Justice Department efforts to extradite her), Speaker Pelosi's website now names the Congress members in her delegation:
  • Ranking Member Mac Thornberry, House Armed Services Committee
  • Chairman Eliot Engel, House Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Chairman Bennie Thompson, Homeland Security Committee
  • Chairman Adam Schiff, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
  • Congressman Ron Kind, House Ways and Means Committee
  • Congresswoman Susan Davis, House Armed Services Committee
  • Congressman Stephen Lynch, Chairman, House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security
  • Congresswoman Elaine Luria, House Armed Services Committee
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(Source: "Pelosi Leads High-Level Bipartisan Delegation to Jordan", October 19, 2019)

But no one from the House Judiciary Committee. That's relevant because of what's in this recent news report: "Parents of US Girl Killed in 2001 Jerusalem Bombing Call for Congressional Investigation Into Fugitive Hamas Terrorist Living Freely in Jordan" [Ben Cohen in Algemeiner, July 17, 2019]

UPDATE October 21, 2019 at 10:30 pm

We have just tweeted every one of the Congressional members of the Pelosi delegation to Jordan's king. We asked them these questions:
  1. Did the subject of Jordan illicitly harboring one of America's most wanted fugitive jihadists, #AhlamTamimi, get mentioned by any @TeamPelosi delegation members on Saturday in Jordan?
  2. Did the king raise it? 
  3. Did he respond to questions about it?
We sent the same tweet to the US Embassy in Jordan's capital.

We're conditioned to expect that not one of them will see fit to reply to us. Perhaps if we were political figures... but we're not.

Here is what we are: simply the parents of a US citizen, a child of 15, murdered by a fugitive terrorist who is kept safe by the man who hosted them so royally on Saturday. A man who claims to be at the forefront of the war against terror but who tramples the extradition treaty his father signed with the US government 24 years ago.

Tamimi and Jordan's calculated and illicit thwarting of her extradition to Washington, overseen by King Abdullah II who appoints all of his country's judges, go entirely unmentioned in the Pelosi media release.

Why are we not surprised?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

17-Oct-19: At dawn today, a thwarted Arab-on-Israeli vehicle-ramming-and-knifing attack

The attack vehicle driven by a 20 year old
Palestinian Arab [Image Source]
In another Arab-on-Israel vehicle ramming attack around dawn this morning (Thursday) on the outskirts of Ramallah, a vehicle driven by a Palestinian Arab drove directly at police officers in an attempt to run them over. Haaretz says the officers were in plain clothes and their car was unmarked.

The resulting impact significantly damaged the police vehicle. The attack car was too (see right).

The officers realized almost immediately that their attacker was clutching what a news report ["Palestinian attempts ramming attack against Border Police", Jerusalem Post, October 17, 2019] calls "a suspicious object". This turned out to be knife.

Israelis have visceral reactions these days to rampaging Arabs with knives in their hands. They promptly directed live fire at their attacker who, we now know, is a resident of eastern Jerusalem said to be twenty years old.

His injuries are currently being tended to in Jerusalem's Shaarei Zedek Medical Center hospital. He is reportedly alive and in serious condition.

Al-Amari, called a refugee camp for the past seventy years [Image Source]
Rioting ensued soon after the attack, with rocks and Molotov cocktails (firebombs) being hurled at Israeli security officials, who "responded with riot control measures" in the words of the Jerusalem Post report.

The violence took place in the al-Amari "refugee camp" which is today under full Palestinian Authority control. It houses about 5,000 Palestinian Arabs and has existed since 1949.

The Arab version of what happened according to the Arabic-language news site includes a car and a shooting. But no ramming and no knife:
An eyewitness said the driver of the vehicle was surprised by the presence of army patrols which led to a collision with one of the military jeeps. The soldiers fired three shots at the driver who was seriously injured and was taken by ambulance while the soldiers arrested a second young man beside him after forcing him to undress and undergo a search.
Ronen Lubarsky, 20, a soldier in the elite IDF Duvdevan Unit, was struck on the head during an operation to arrest suspected terrorists in the same al-Amari neighborhood on May 24, 2018 [Times of Israel, May 28, 2018]. A heavy slab of granite hurled from a third-story rooftop struck the young soldier who was hospitalized in critical condition at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem’s intensive care unit. He died some days later. A Palestinian Arab, Islam Yusef Abu Hamid, was subsequently charged with his death and convicted in April 2019.