Friday, September 16, 2022

16-Sep-22: Speaking of Malki, her legacy and her murder on Jewish Insider's podcast (AUDIO)

Earlier this month, Arnold Roth was invited to meet via video conference with Rich Goldberg and Jarrod Bernstein, the co-hosts of Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast

This was an opportunity for Arnold to speak about our daughter Malki: her life, her death in a massacre at a Jerusalem pizzeria filled with children, and about our family’s efforts to hold the murderers - in particular the Jordanian woman who spearheaded the atrocity - accountable.

The program, produced in Washington DC, went to air on September 5, 2022 and can be heard on demand via Spotify or by clicking the link below.


By courtesy of Jewish Insider, an online news and commentary site that "covers U.S. politics, philanthropy and business news with a Jewish angle", some excerpts from their conversation follow.

*****

Roth: Malki was the youngest of the four children that we brought with us from Australia when we moved to Israel in the summer of 1988, she was just 2 ½ years old. [In] 2001 she had just finished 10th grade, had acquired the leadership of a group of girls through a youth group and had proven herself to be terrifically good at this, and was an advocate for change in her own circle in the school, in the social setting, for children with disabilities. I mentioned that, because the youngest of our children, who lives with us today and who was born 10 years after Malki, is catastrophically disabled. And Malki was somebody who just looked right past that and saw a sibling, a sister whom she adored. That was actually a large part of her personality. She was always smiling and very engaged with other people, just a wonderful human being to be around.

*****

Bernstein: Twenty years ago seems like a long time, but in many ways, it’s like yesterday. So many of us came of age in that time; I remember the Sbarro bombing pretty vividly. Take us back to that day and the days that followed.

Roth: At around 2 o’clock I got back from lunch, my wife was on the phone, and she was shrieking into the phone, something I’m not at all used to, and she said that there had been a “פיגוע” — a terror attack — in the center of Jerusalem. She knew that because she was on the floor with our youngest child watching CNN, and her message was, “I can’t reach the children,” and then she hung up. Naturally, like everybody else in Jerusalem, I reached for my phone and called all of my children one after the other… And I found very quickly that the cell network had gone down…An hour later, I still hadn’t reached Malki and I had spoken to the other children. And from there it was just a movie plot that just got darker and blacker and more awful…

Around 5 o’clock, 5:30 that afternoon, this is the ninth of August 2001, and the downstairs neighbor, [a] lovely lady who’s no longer alive, came up the stairs with an awful look that I’ll never forget on her face, and she said, “Michal is dead.” Michal was our daughter’s best friend and we knew that they were together, and we hadn’t had any status update. Well, the television had provided the first status update, so we knew we were in something that was more worrying, more catastrophic than anything that I think we were prepared for. And so it went until 2 in the morning. Two in the morning, our two oldest sons had been accompanied by a social worker, they went down to the government forensic center in Yaffo near Tel Aviv, and at roughly 2 o’clock they phoned home from there and they said they had found Malki. And that was, as you can imagine, just one of those moments you never forget.

*****

Roth: We didn’t know who the people were behind the label “Hamas” until several weeks later. And then, as has been the case from that day pretty much until today, everything we learned came through the news. So, we learned through the news that a woman had been arrested and charged, and that several men had been arrested and charged, and in the fullness of time they were put on trial. And when the trials happened, we learned about that through the news. We learned about what they said and what the court said and what the verdict was, through the news, and eventually we learned that they’d been sentenced.

In the case of Ahlam Tamimi, the woman who as we now know and certainly did not know at the time, had found the site, sought it out because of the large number of Jewish children in a strictly kosher pizzeria in the center of town on a school holiday. She has been, in effect the poster child, for the redemptive value of murdering Jewish children…She was arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment…with a strong recommendation by the panel of three judges, that there be no circumstances under which should ever be released or have a shortened sentence.

Of course, that’s not the way it played out. In 2011, with the euphoria around the release of [kidnapped IDF soldier] Gilad Shalit and a government deal between Israel and Hamas, she walked free against our deeply, deeply bitter opposition to her being released. But it was useless, no one was interested, no one listened, and we were really talking, in addition to talking to the international media, we were talking to the wall. She went back to Jordan, which is where she came from — she was a Jordanian citizen born and bred, her father served in the Jordanian army — and she arrived back in Jordan as a genuine, certifiable VIP. She was very quickly caught up in public appearances all over the kingdom, and then later throughout the Arab world. And starting in February 2012, so we’re talking now, three months, three or four months after she was given back her life through the Shalit deal, she began a TV career as a presenter of her own program.

*****

Bernstein: What is the Jordanian position, given the [1995 U.S.-Jordan extradition] treaty given that the facts here really aren’t in dispute in any way, shape or form?

Roth: The Jordanian position was articulated six days after the charges were unsealed in March 2017, so that on the 20th of March, the highest court for this purpose…in Jordan, pretty much out of the blue from the point of view of the American Embassy and me, handed down a ruling that the 1995 extradition treaties entered into between Jordan and the United States, or more particularly King Hussein, the father of today’s King [Abdullah II], and the Clinton administration, was invalid…

To jump to the bottom line, it’s been so infuriating to us [to] not get support and the shoulder-to-shoulder that I was talking about before, that we actually litigated. We filed an application under the Freedom of Information Act in the United States asking the State Department to hand over the documents that related to that extradition treaty of 1995, which, by the way, the United States continues to regard as being valid, and we were ignored. We filed papers a second time, and we were ignored. And then we decided we’re going to sue the U.S. government. And we did, and we got a settlement almost immediately, almost as if they were waiting for us to do this, but by this time it had taken us several years, and then we got the documents…And the most key of the key documents is a document of ratification of the treaty signed in the personal hand of King Hussein, who talks about God ensuring that no one will ever come to undermine the treaty in the future…

The bottom line of all of this is that Jordan is telling whoppers when they say they don’t have to hand her over. But the much more worrying thing, because in the end I don’t really care what the Jordanians say, is that the United States government seems to be perfectly OK with saying in a very quiet voice, “We’re asking for the extradition to happen and that’s the law,” and in a much larger voice saying, “Hey, the Jordanians, they are our buddies in the Middle East.” President Biden, and he’s not the only one in this story whom I’m going to invoke as president of the United States. I could say the same about Obama and about Trump, almost word for word, but President Biden has now taken several opportunities to say, “King Abdullah is a loyal friend in a tough neighborhood.” And I’m sorry, but I’m fed up to the back teeth with that kind of empty throwing around of slogans. Talk about tough friends when they’ve handed over the people they’re obliged to hand over under bilateral treaties. That’s not what’s happened.

*****

Roth:  This has not weakened in the smallest way, my devotion or that of my wife and our family to Zionism. We know why we’re living in Israel…we came here to raise our children in Israel, and we love what’s happened, we are happy, and we have children and grandchildren living here…So, it has not changed our connection to Israel in the smallest way. But it has sharpened, I would use the word contempt, the contempt that I personally feel towards politicians in multiple places and multiple levels of seniority.

*****

Malki was a talented classical flautist
Bonus — Malki’s favorite things: 

Roth: “Malki loved music. She was terrifically talented, she played in the Jerusalem Youth Orchestra briefly. She was a classical flutist, and after she was already gone, and in the shiva house when we were sitting in our home with many guests coming to comfort us, we learned that she had written a song. That song is on the website of the Malki Foundation…

“The most meaningful way that we have found for, a) dealing with the profound pain of losing Malki and, b) forcing people to remember her life, has been by creating a charity in her name, which is really very active today…

“Malki loved music. She had this wonderful song which has now gone to every part of the world and has different versions of it, but the musical spirit that she carried with her is something that really sustains us…I want people to know about the happy side of Malki’s life. She wasn’t an unhappy person, she left behind unhappy people, her parents, but that she was really an uplifting, inspiring kind of person, and the Malki Foundation really carries on the spirit of inspiration, the wonderful things that she did for children with disabilities.”

*****

Learn more about the Malki Foundation and listen to multiple versions of Malki’s song on the Keren Malki website.

During the podcast' episode's last minute, they play a sample of Shir Lismoach (Malki’s Song), written by Malki and (in this particular arrangement - and there are many) is performed by members of the Ezra Zionist Youth Movement in Jerusalem. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

14-Sep-22: Seeking justice: A conversation with Jason Greenblatt (AUDIO)

Jordan's King Abdullah II (center) sits with White House adviser Jared Kushner
(4th from left) and US special envoy Jason Greenblatt (3rd from left) in Amman
on May 29, 2019 
[Image Source: Royal Palace/Handout via Reuters]
There's a podcast audio below we hope you will find the time to listen to. But first...

If you follow this blog, you will know how careful we are to explain how, throughout the years of battling with unresponsive officials to get our child's Jordanian killer - the FBI Most Wanted fugitive terrorist Ahlam Tamimi - brought to trial in Washington, we are frustrated and disappointed equally by both sides of American politics, the Democrats and the Republicans.

We have been open here, as well as in published speeches and opinion articles, that nothing of what we experienced in the years of the Trump presidency gave us a reason to change those views. 

One good illustration among too many: "19-Nov-20: Putting justice back on the agenda" about our utter-waste-of-time efforts with former Secretary of State Pompeo. 

A July 2022 backgrounder in Jewish Insider, written in connection with a newly-released Jason Greenblatt book, throws some light on the significant role he had in the Trump administration:

Opining about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a cottage industry in Washington, D.C. There are analysts galore, academics, former peace negotiators, think tankers — many appearing as talking heads on TV and writing sharp op-eds on how to resolve the intractable conflict.
And then there was Jason Greenblatt, fresh from the Trump Organization’s legal team and with no political experience recruited by former President Donald Trump to help bring peace to the Middle East. Now, the ultimate outsider, who served for almost three years as Trump’s Middle East peace envoy, has gotten the last word over Beltway experts in the form of a new memoir, which hits bookstores today.
Unlike other Trump memoirs packed with lurid details about a sometimes chaotic administration, In the Path of Abraham: How Donald Trump Made Peace in the Middle East — and How to Stop Joe Biden from Unmaking It describes a level-headed policy process and skips juicy anecdotes for a reasoned explanation of Trump’s decisions...

Against that background, Arnold Roth accepted Jason Greenblatt's recent invitation to discuss the Tamimi/Jordan issues with him for his podcast on the Newsweek platform

The Diplomat, hosted by Jason Greenblatt, is inspired by his work in foreign affairs with the intent of fostering candid conversations on a wide set of global and domestic issues. The Diplomat will veer away from personality-driven political disputes and instead bring nuance and depth to hot topics. Using his diplomatic skills, Greenblatt aims to get at the root of the issues and attempt to find common ground where it exists, rather than sow further division.

Their conversation went to air on September 7, 2022 via Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Twitter. Click below to hear the 33-minute audio: 


Here's how the conversation is described over on the podcast's home page:
His Daughter Was Murdered in Jerusalem. Now, He's Seeking Justice (featuring Arnold Roth) | Jason speaks with Arnold Roth about his daughter, Malki Chana Roth  who, at age 15, was murdered in an act of terrorism in the heart of Jerusalem. Fourteen others died in the attack, but one of the masterminds of the Sbarro Massacre still walks free in Jordan. | Connect with Arnold Roth: https://twitter.com/arnoldroth | Connect with The Malki Foundation: https://twitter.com/MalkiFoundation

Three quotes from Arnold Roth's part of the discussion to highlight:

  • "If weak leaders like King Abdullah in Jordan are allowed to be the tail that wags the dog, much as the South Vietnamese were in the mid 1970's as they dragged America deeper and deeper into the quagmire... they are constantly saying "catch me because I am going to fall"... 
  • "I actually have nothing to say to the Jordanians... I have been ignored by every conceivable level of Jordanian official to the point where not a single one has ever engaged, not a single one has ever said a thing to me. It doesn't matter to me. Jordan is not an actor in any of this. It's entirely the United States. Jordan cannot survive a day after the point at which the United States says "We want her on the four o'clock flight this afternoon and we will not take any questions." That would be the end of all of this. It would produce an immediate result...
  • "Jordan has much more antisemitism than gravity and physics would serve to justify... Why is that an issue? Because I don't know a single thing that [Jordan's] king has done to ameliorate, to in any way modify, the enthusiastic embrace of antisemitism of his people. And this I don't understand... [Jordan's] king does not deserve in my view the kind of deference he gets from the American political system."
Again, we hope you will give it some attention. It's a good podcast.

Monday, September 12, 2022

12-Sep-22: What, officially, does Jordan hear from the US embassy about the Tamimi extradition?

Source: Yesterday's Jordan Times
There are reports in the Jordanian media today about a Congressional Delegation ("a CoDel") visit to the royal palace in Amman yesterday.

The only Congressional name that appears in any of the numerous news items we saw is that of Senator Michael Rounds, a Republican and the junior senator from South Dakota. He sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He was accompanied by the American ambassador, Henry Wooster. Other American-looking visitors (possibly staffers) are seen in the accompanying news video but the Jordanian reports don't name any of them. 

The visit was clearly appreciated by the hosts. That's evident from seeing which Jordanians participated. King Abdullah II; his son Crown Prince Hussein; Jordan's Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Ayman Safadi; and the director of the king's office, Jafar Hassan. There may have been others.

As we have said in previous posts, official American delegations to Jordan's sumptuous Al Husseiniya Palace raise thorny, even disturbing, questions about how the United States views the Hashemite Kingdom's years-long breach of the 1995 Extradition Treaty between the two countries


The 1995 treaty we mentioned is the one invoked by the US Department of Justice when it filed a criminal complaint on July 15, 2013 against the Jordanian woman charged with bringing a powerful and very deadly bomb - an exploding human being, a human bomb - to a central Jerusalem pizzeria thronged with a lunch-hour crowd of families and children. The children. as we learned later from the mouth of the monster who made the decision, were the target.

Our daughter Malki, 15, was one of the children murdered there that day. 

No official account reports what happened after the charges were signed off by Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. But from several sources, our understanding is that DOJ promptly (we think in mid-2013) notified its Jordanian counterparts of the court order. And then delivered a request that the fugitive bomber be extradited under the treaty as other Jordanian fugitives had been extradited by the Jordanians before her when so requested by the Americans.

This tine, and more than once, Jordan rejected the request. 

Let's now fast forward almost four years. The criminal complaint against the Jordanian woman, a Hamas agent named Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, was eventually made public on March 14, 2017. It had been kept secret under seal until then. 

Did the US make energetic efforts to get Tamimi extradited under the treaty through all those years? There's no way to know for sure. But the answer is almost certainly yes.

Then, just six days after the unsealing and the formal announcement [see Individual Charged in Connection With 2001 Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem That Resulted in Death of Americans] of the terrorism charges against Tamimi, Jordan's highest court sprang into action. In a stunning and brief ruling, it said Jordan had no obligation to hand her to the Americans because the then-22-year-old bilateral agreement suffered from flaws. 

On closer examination, it was clear they meant flaws created by Jordan, flaws that only Jordan could fix if -- and it's a large if -- they were indeed real
The Al-Husseiniya Palace in Amman 

But no one was giving their ruling closer examination. And no news report at the time cast any doubt at all on the soundness of the Jordanian judges' argument. That's a shame because to us it's clearly built on deception and inaccuracies. (We choose not to use blunter words.)

Tamimi herself, by then an icon in her homeland, was triumphantly hugged to Jordan's breast. 

Some excerpts from an Associated Press article under the by-lines of Karin Laub (AP's then Jordan bureau chief) and Mohammed Daraghmeh:
A Hamas activist on the FBI’s list of “most wanted terrorists” said she is relieved Jordan’s highest court has blocked her extradition to the U.S., where she faces charges in a suicide bombing that killed 15 people, including two Americans, at a crowded Jerusalem pizzeria.
Ahlam al-Tamimi, 37, who chose the target of the 2001 attack and guided the bomber there, told The Associated Press that she “lived in fear” for her life until this week’s high court ruling, in part because she had received threats, including from U.S. citizens, on social media. She said she can’t leave her native Jordan for fear of arrest if she travels abroad.
Al-Tamimi has been unapologetic about her role in one of the deadliest of scores of Hamas suicide bombings during the second Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule. She said Palestinians have a right to resist by any means, including with such attacks, against what she portrayed as a brutal military occupation.
“We are an oppressed people defending ourselves,” al-Tamimi said in an interview this week in her home in the Jordanian capital, Amman. “We want Israel to leave our land so we can live in quiet.”
Asked about her role in the killing of civilians, including children, she said: “I don’t target children, but when the bomb goes off, it goes everywhere.”
The blast at the Sbarro restaurant in downtown Jerusalem went off on the afternoon of Aug. 9, 2001. The assailant detonated explosives hidden in a guitar case packed with nails. Fifteen people were killed, including seven between the ages of two and 16, and scores of people were wounded.
Al-Tamimi was arrested by Israel several weeks after the bombing and sentenced to 16 life terms. She was released in a 2011 Israel-Hamas prisoner swap.
Since then, she has been a familiar media presence, including at one point hosting a talk show on a Beirut-based Hamas-run TV station about Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.
She has also spoken repeatedly about the attack, saying she was pleased with the high death toll.
On Monday, Jordan’s high court ruled that al-Tamimi cannot be extradited from Jordan to the United States because the two countries don’t have an extradition treaty.
[Source: "Jordan planner of 2001 blast relieved US extradition blocked", AP, March 23, 2017 - originally posted here and now archived]
There's much more to be said about whether the Jordan/US treaty is valid including very significant information we (Frimet and Arnold Roth) obtained when we sued the US government under the Freedom of Information Act. Note: sued. Simply applying under the FOIA law got us nowhere.

The US, at least for the record, has consistently said the 1995 treaty is as valid today as it was when new, and remains binding on the parties and in full effect. The treaty is listed in the State Department official online Treaties in Force compendium

In the course of many consultations and discussions we have had with officials of the US government and legal experts, not one of them has contradicted that or brought it into question.

On the other hand, getting US officials to state the obvious has proven incredibly frustrating. To say it plainly, if the treaty is valid, then the failure by Jordan to comply with its treaty obligation in the Tamimi case is a breach. And if it's a breach, why is no one saying so? The simple answer, friends and neighbors, and there is one, is that it's all about politics. 

Meanwhile, Tamimi lives free as a bird in Jordan as the Department of Justice prosecutors in Washington and the FBI agents charged with delivering her to US law enforcement cool their heels. 


* * *

Henry T. Wooster, a career diplomat, was nominated in November 2019 to become the US ambassador to Jordan, a position that had remained unfilled since Alice Wells departed in March 2017. (A Foreign Policy article at the time said that soon after taking office, "President Donald Trump pushed out the US ambassador to Jordan after complaints from the country’s king, even though there was no evidence the diplomat had misrepresented Washington’s policies.")

The nomination was made by the Trump White House.

US ambassadors need to be confirmed before their appointments are official. The confirmation process involves public hearings in the US Senate. 

Our focus now shifts to what Mr Wooster said when going through that process in a video conference session of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on May 13, 2020 presided over by Hon. John Barrasso, (Republican, Wyoming). The candidate, according to the chairperson's introduction in the official protocol, is:
a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor. Mr. Wooster is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Maghreb and—or Egypt in the Bureau of Northeastern Affairs. He has previously worked as the Deputy Chief of Mission and then Charge´s d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Jordan. Mr. Wooster has also served as Deputy Chief of Mission in the U.S. Embassy in France.

The years Mr Wooster previously served in America's Jordan embassy evidently warmed him to the charms of the kingdom. He underscored this in answering a question about the possible impact on Jordanian feelings if the US were to cut back its financial support refugees:

Well, Senator, no one knows this better than the Jordanians—no one is a better friend to Jordan than the United States is. And we can say that with integrity. And I can look you in the virtual eye and say it. And that is true by orders of magnitude. It is not simply a debating distinction. It is true if you look at the record. And the record shows, again and again and again, and with orders of magnitude, there is no friend that is better to the Hashemite Kingdom than the United States. So, we do not want these people to be beleaguered, and we do not want them left out in the dark. I mean, these are allies and strategic partners, and we are going to stand by them. We are going to make sure that they are not left with a deal that is bad for Jordan, too.

Diplomats as effusive as Mr Wooster aren't all that common.

But let's compare that now with what happened in the non-face-to-face part of the confirmation hearing when questions for the record are submitted ahead of time by the Senators and the candidate responds after taking some time to prepare a written answer. This doesn't always happen - but it happened in the Wooster confirmation.

In the protocol, the exchange that follows is headed "RESPONSES TO ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FOR THE RECORD SUBMITTED TO HENRY T. WOOSTER BY SENATOR TED CRUZ". 

Question. Please describe the extent to which Jordan’s refusal to extradite Tamimi has affected U.S.-Jordanian relations?

Answer. We continue to ask that the Government of Jordan arrest Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi and agree to extradite her to the United States. The Government of Jordan has been unwilling to accede to our request due to the Court of Cassation’s ruling that our bilateral extradition treaty is not valid. We continue to dispute the court’s claim, as we exchanged instruments of ratification that brought the treaty into force on July 29, 1995 and the treaty has not been terminated. We continue to raise this issue at the highest levels in order to reach a satisfactory solution.

Question. What options and leverage does the United States have to secure Tamimi, including potentially withholding assistance to the Government of Jordan?

Answer. The United States has multiple options and different types of leverage to secure Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi’s extradition. We will continue to engage Jordanian officials at all levels not only on this issue, but also on the extradition treaty more broadly. U.S. generosity to Jordan in Foreign Military Financing as well as economic support and other assistance is carefully calibrated to protect and advance the range of U.S. interests in Jordan and in the region.

Question. Can you commit to using those options and leverage to secure Tamimi’s extradition?

Answer. If confirmed, I would explore all options to bring Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi to justice, secure her extradition, and address the broader issues associated with the extradition treaty.

It's the kind of forthright response a well-prepared ambassador ought to give. But we're left wondering how closely His Excellency Henry T. Wooster, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (as he has been since August 27, 2020), hews to the approach he outlined to the Senate.

* * *

As of today, Tamimi is still free and still making public appearances replete with messages encouraging terror. 

As for Jordan, its senior officials (with the notable exception of Foreign Minister Safadi) have maintained a policy by which they carefully avoid making public statements about the treaty even as they hold tight to the kingdom's celebrity terrorist. The principal principle seems to be: just don't get into spats with the Americans

The United States through three administrations (Obama, Trump, Biden) takes a reciprocal approach and is sticking to it. And justice be damned. 

The exception to the game-plan is Safadi. We have published two blog posts reporting how, on two occasions a year apart, he has asserted publicly in Arabic to domestic audiences that refusing to hand over the mass-murderer as required by the treaty is actually evidence Jordan respects the law: see "13-Nov-19: Thank you, Mr Foreign Minister" and "16-Nov-20: Justice, the Tamimi extradition and what Jordan tells Arabic media but not the world".

(We haven't yet written about the numerous occasions on which Jordan's king, speaking off the record in what are often closed-door meetings in the US, offers a range of near-plausible explanations for his Tamimi strategy.)

2001 The site of the Sbarro massacre (Peter Dejong, AP)
If Mr Wooster were the kind of person who answers letters, we would want to pose some questions to him based on what he placed on the record. For instance,

  1. Has he or his staff in the Amman embassy explored all options to bring Tamimi to justice? Is there a plan to start exploring this at some point in the foreseeable future? 
  2. Can he outline for us what "all options" might look like?
  3. Those "broader issues associated with the extradition treaty" - can we get a preview of what they are? 
  4. Can we count on them getting public exposure even as the FBI Most Wanted fugitive terrorist is hosted by Jordan? 
  5. In continuing to dispute the Jordanian court’s claim about the validity and applicability of the treaty, and raising the issue "at the highest levels in order to reach a satisfactory solution", is there progress? It's been years, Your Excellency. Can we get some teeny tiny indication of how the process is going? 
  6. And where the sticking points are?
  7. Would the Ambassador like to know a little about our murdered daughter Malki? About her beautiful life and about the really fine non-sectarian, apolitical and tremendously constructive work done in her memory via the Malki Foundation?
From experience, we fear each of our questions would get the same answer.

Thursday, September 01, 2022

01-Sep-22: "If there's a problem with the treaty, it's technical and Jordan which created it can fix it any time it wants." [VIDEO]

Image extracted from the Jordan page of State Department's authoritative online
compendium 
Treaties in Force, current edition
This post is about a recent webinar hosted by EMET in which Sarah Stern who heads that fine organization discussed with Arnold Roth how our search for just is going.

* * *

Since 1995, a treaty made between Jordan and the US has served as the legal basis on which multiple Jordanian fugitives have been extradited and prosecuted in the United States under US law for terrorism offences.

All of that changed when Jordan claimed, via a March 20, 2017 declaration of its highest appellate court ["21-Mar-17: Tamimi extradition: When it's claimed that something is illegal in Jordan..."], that the treaty is invalid. 

The US State Department, aware of the Jordanian claim, states that the treaty is valid and effective. Nonetheless Jordan persists in standing by what it's judges said and refuses to extradite the fugitive Sbarro bomber, Ahlam Ahmad Aref Al-Tamimi, to Washington where criminal prosecutors are waiting to try her. 

Jordan was formally asked to do this when US federal charges against Tamimi were made public for the first time on March 20, 2017. In fact, we understand it had been asked long before - years before - in off-the-record meetings. Tamimi was indicted on July 15, 2013. Though no US official has said so publicly, our understanding is that serious efforts were made from that date onwards - even though the charges were sealed, meaning confidential and unreported - to get Jordan's co-operation in handing Tamimi over to US law enforcement officials. These US efforts failed. 

To underscore this: six days after those 2013 charges against the Jordanian terrorist were finally announced to the world, Jordan in effect said "no sir, we don't have to." 

Without making any public statement at the time, Jordan let it beknown that it refused ["20-Mar-17: The Hashemite Kingdom's courts have spoken: The murdering FBI fugitive will not be handed over"]. And it has continued to refuse, ensuring Tamimi can live unharmed, unfettered, undeterred as a free Jordanian citizen under the protection of the Hashemite Kingdom.

So Tamimi faces trial in the US and, if convicted, imprisonment. Obviously none of this will happen if she stays shielded by US ally Jordan.

The charges Tamimi faces are laid out in this Department of Justice media announcement: "Individual Charged in Connection With 2001 Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem That Resulted in Death of Americans".

Arnold Roth was recently the guest of Sarah Stern, the dynamic head of Endowment for Middle East Truth, in a video interview. The August 10, 2022 event was part of its Weekly EMET Webinars series. A collection of previous EMET webinar videos is hosted on YouTube.

Arnold's responses, as he wrote in a Tweet, focused less on bombs, more on the painful ongoing failures in Washington and among US Jewish organizational leadership.  


Founded in 2005, The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) is a Washington, D.C. based think tank and policy center with an unabashedly pro-America and pro-Israel stance. EMET, which means truth in Hebrew, prides itself on challenging the falsehoods and misrepresentations that abound in US Middle East policy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

17-Aug-22: Blood money: The Sbarro terrorists and how it's working out for them

Source: PMW (Click to enlarge)
The central role played by money in enticing, inciting, incentivizing and rewarding Palestinian Arabs to kill and be killed doesn't get seen as the weighty and consequential factor it so clearly is.

Maurice Hirsch writing last week for Palestinian Media Watch, has compiled and published a valuable table of data that makes the point concrete.

In his August 9, 2022 post, "Blood money: The PA has already paid $1,421,940 to the terrorists who blew up the Sbarro pizza shop murdering 15 and injuring 130", he says

As a reward for carrying out the attack [on Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria for the Hamas terror organization], the Palestinian Authority pays a total of US$8,937 (27,800 shekels) each month to the 5 imprisoned terrorists and the families of the 3 dead terrorists who were involved in the attack. The current total paid to the terrorists is $1,421,940. The monthly payment to each terrorist will continue to rise the longer the terrorists are in prison.

It's clearly a reward. And like all rewards, particularly in the blighted, failed, chronically insolvent regimes suffering under the boots of Hamas and Fatah/PLO, cash is also a powerful incentive

Three of the Sbarro plotters remain, as of this writing, inside Israeli prison cells. The remainder are either dead or living free. For the dead, their families receive pensions as compensation. 

For those still alive, the monthly Palestinian Authority payments relieve them of further economic woes. It's an extraordinary situation for the two rival regimes that are utterly dependent on the generosity of other governments to enable them to do what governments are supposed to do.

Mahmoud Abbas presides over the Palestinian Authority
And for millions of Palestinian Arabs, cheated by the kleptocrats who run their lives, the PA Rewards for Terror ("Pay2Slay") scheme is a bright shiny billboard, reminding them that murder pays. And that if you want to take care of those who depend economically on what you bring home, all is not lost. There's hope. 

In an analysis we published almost four years ago to the day of the cash rewards handed to the Sbarro plotters by the chronically-insolvent Palestinian Authority led by the despicable Mahmoud Abbas, we wrote here ["24-Aug-18: What aid funds handed to the Abbas regime ($1 million and growing) have done for savages who kill Jews"] that 

If there's outrage among Palestinian Arabs in whose name taxpayer-provided funds are donated so that killers can be rewarded, there's no sign of it at all. Quite the opposite...

And we went on to quote the still-accurate-today observations of Eli Lake in a July 1, 2016 article for Bloomberg ["The Palestinian Incentive Program for Killing Jews"]:

"[T]he prisoners and the families of the prisoners themselves are actually paid a higher wage than what most Palestinians earn for nonviolent work... [P]ayments to terrorists' families are exceedingly popular these days. Ziad Asali, the president and founder of the American Task Force on Palestine, told me that in recent years the media and politicians have elevated these payments to something "sacred in Palestinian politics." Asali said the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, and others are too weak to stop it. "This is where we find ourselves now. The vast majority understand there has to be an end to violence; it's not serving the Palestinians in any way," Asali said. "But I think nobody really has the stature and clout to confront these issues publicly."

In the table below (alphabetical by surname), we have incorporated Adv. Hirsch's updated 2022 payments data with our own background and status report from 2018 on the men and women who murdered the innocents in the pizzeria that day. 

TERRORIST    

BACKGROUND

STATUS

PMW 2022

Jamal Abu al-Hija



Headed Hamas’ military wing in the Samaria city of Jenin. In addition to his role in the Sbarro attack, he had direct involvement in the bombing of a full commuter bus traveling from Haifa to Tzefat at Meron Junction (9 killed, 38 injured, September 4, 2002). After being arrested and tried, he was sentenced to 9 life terms of life imprisonment plus 20 years. 

For now, continues to reside in an Israeli prison cell.

Every month, the PA pays terroristJamal Abu Al-Hija 8,300 shekels ($2,668). Having now completed 20 years in prison, this month Abu Al-Hija’s will rise to 8,300 shekels from 7,300 shekels.

Qeis Adwan



Emerging as a popular leader in the student union of the notorious An Najah National University in Nablus (they honored the Sbarro bombers by erecting an on-campus replica of the destroyed pizzeria the month after the massacre), he became a senior manager in the Hamas terror hierarchy. Described by the New York Times as an "inventive bomb maker", he is said to have taken responsibility for the murdering of no fewer than 77 Israelis. He played a managerial role in several of the most savage Hamas atrocities including the Sbarro massacre, the bombing of the Nahariya railway station (3 killed, 94 injured, September 9, 2001), the Passover bombing of Netanya's Park Hotel (29 killed, 64 injured, March 27, 2002), and the bombing of the Arab-run Matza restaurant in Haifa (16 killed, 40 injured, March 31, 2002).

Permanently terminated by Israeli security forces in the northern Samaria city of Tubas on April 5, 2002

Every month the PA pays the family of the dead terrorist Qeis Adwan 1,400 shekels ($450) per month.

Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri 



The human bomb planted by Hamas in general and by Ahlam Tamimi in particular outside the Sbarro location. We described the circus-like spectacle of the very public funeral given to his remains here: "5-May-14: The making of a martyr: it takes more than a village". An extract from what we wrote: "Back in August 2001, starting just a day or two after the Sbarro massacre, al-Masri's father was 'marketed' to both the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corp as a lover of peace and as a worthy interview subject. We know this because both the [Australian] ABC and the [British] BBC approached us, astoundingly asking that we take part in double-headed interviews: on one side, the freshly-bereaved father [Arnold Roth] of a child blown up just a few days earlier by a human bomb; on the other, the parent of the human bomb himself. We declined both invitations with considerable puzzlement and anger. We soon had cause (as we wrote here) to wonder what kind of soul-less reporter thinks that sort of proposal is moral and professional. Are you reading this, Tim Palmer?"  Worth mentioning that reports of payments being made to al-Masri's parents have never been in serious doubt since his father, Shuhail Ahmed Al-Masri, comprehensively blurted out the facts in a television interview with NBC [archived here]. It's likely that the regular payments to the voluble, proud and honored al-Masri parents from Arab Bank were separate from and in addition to the Martyrs' Fund payment they presumably still get until today from the Palestinian Authority. 

Permanently terminated when he pressed the detonator on his chest inside the pizzeria and the guitar case filled with nails and explosives did its horrible work.

Every month the PA pays the family of the terrorist suicide bomber, Izz Al-Din Al-Masri1,400 shekels ($450) per month.

Abdullah Jamal Barghouti



Manufactured the explosives-packed guitar case that al-Masri, the human bomb, carried into the pizzeria. We describe Barghouti and his egregious barbarism in this post: "1-Jul-13: 66 acts of murder make him a hero in parts of the Arab world. What does this tell us about parts of the Arab world?" He's "the self-confessed murderer of 66 people including 9 in the July 2002 bombing at the Frank Sinatra Cafeteria of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; 11 in the March 2002 bombing of Jerusalem's Cafe Moment; 10 in the December 2001 triple-bomb outrage on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall; and 15 (most of them children, including our 15 year old daughter Malki) in the August 2001 massacre at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria in August 2001." His most famous quote: "I feel bad because the number is only 66. This is the answer you want to hear? Yes, I feel bad because I want more." [Quoted on a CBS site]. At his trial, evidence was produced to show that Barghouti's high-profile relative (nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize with the enthusiastic backing of Desmond Tutu, a South African church figure) Marwan Barghouti - a prominent Palestinian Arab political figure now himself serving several life sentences for murder - paid Abdullah Barghouti $500 build the bomb. This came on top of the $117,000 he received for his troubles from Hamas, according to evidence given to the court. 

Currently serving a sentence of 67 terms of life imprisonment.

Every month, the PA pays terrorist Abdallah Barghouti 7,300 shekels ($2,347

Bilal Yaqub Barghouti



Recruiter and member of the Hamas cell and, according to Haaretz: “The senior Hamas activist behind the Sbarro restaurant bombing in Jerusalem, Bilal Barghouti, told interrogators that Marwan [Barghouti - the Nobel candidate] hid him for a few days while Israel was hunting for him and gave him a weapon when he left.” Convicted January 16, 2003 – sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment (see judgement), his only words to the court at the conclusion of his trial on terrorism charges, and this is a direct quote, were: "Thank God. I regret that I did not kill even more people than I did kill".

Still incarcerated in an Israeli prison cell 

Every month, the PA pays terrorist Bilal Barghouti 8,000 shekels (USD 2,572). Having completed 20 years in prison, in April 2022, the PA raised the monthly salary it pays Barghouti to 8,300 shekels from 7,300 shekels.

 

Muhammad Wael Daghlas



Active member of the Sbarro attack team, taking a role in its planning and execution. Arrested April 9, 2001 and convicted on terror charges on January 16, 2003. Sentenced like Ahlam Tamimi and Bilal Barghouti to 16 life terms.

Released, like Ahlam Tamimi, in the 2001 Shalit Deal and now alive, unrepentant and completely free. Initially deported in the Shalit Deal to Turkey, reports say he currently resides in Qatar.

Every month the PA pays a certain amount to the terrorists Muhammad Daghlas and Ahlam Tamimi. While they were arrested and convicted for their part in the attack, these two terrorists were released in 2011, as part of the deal to secure the freedom of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held captive by Hamas. While the PA Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners, No. 19 of 2004 and regulations promulgated pursuant to the law, guarantee these terrorists a monthly salary, Palestinian Media Watch does not have information regarding the current amounts of these payments.

Ayman Adnan Muhammad Halawah



Also known as Iman Halaweh - a Hamas explosives expert. Took a lead role in the Sbarro assault, and was involved in other terror attacks on Israeli civilians including the March 28, 2001 attack on a group of boys waiting in the parking lot of the Neve Yamin gas station near Qalqilyah for a ride to their yeshiva in Kedumim (two were killed, one was critically wounded, another had moderate injuries) and the mass-casualty human bomb attack on the Tel Aviv beach Dolphinarium (June 1, 2001).

Never arrested. Passed away from violent causes on October 22, 2001 - one source [Dawn] suggests Israeli forces were involved.

Every month the PA pays the family of the dead terrorist Ayman Halawah 1,400 shekels ($450) per month.

Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi



Since we have written literally hundreds of posts about this vicious embodiment of female savagery, we will be brief now. Born in Jordan in 1980; moved to Nabi Saleh, north of Jerusalem,  in about 1998 to live there with fellow members of the notorious Tamimi clan. Then to Ramallah, while attending a nearby university, working as a part-time reporter and becoming the first woman terrorist in the ranks of the Hamas Islamists. Masterminded the bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria after selecting it for the large number of Jewish children it attracted. Arrested September 14, 2001; convicted by an Israeli court on September 23, 2003. A 2006 report quotes Tamimi saying from her Israeli jail cell: "I'm not sorry for what I did. We'll become free from the occupation and then I will be free from prison." Sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment. Released October 2011 in the catastrophic Shalit Deal.

Freed in the Shalit Deal and "exiled" to where her parents and most of her siblings live: Amman, Jordan. She is there today, living with a husband, Nizar Tamimi, who is also an unrepentant murdering terrorist, in his case for Fatah, and their child. The husband also receives monthly payments from the Abbas regime. Ahlam Tamimi was added to the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list in March 2017; there is a $5 million prize for information leading to her arrest and conviction. She is not in hiding and for most of her years in Jordan she has been working in the service of Hamas, making a weekly TV program for them along with other special promotional appearsances. We are deeply into a campaign to have the US put real pressure on Jordan to extradite Tamimi under the 1995 Jordan/US Extradition Treaty. So far, Jordan has refused on grounds that we, and many of the experts we have considered, consider bogus and an embarrassment to Jordan's relations with the West.

Every month the PA pays a certain amount to the terrorists Muhammad Daghlas and Ahlam Tamimi. While they were arrested and convicted for their part in the attack, these two terrorists were released in 2011, as part of the deal to secure the freedom of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held captive by Hamas. While the PA Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners, No. 19 of 2004 and regulations promulgated pursuant to the law, guarantee these terrorists a monthly salary, Palestinian Media Watch does not have information regarding the current amounts of these payments.

Nizar Tamimi



Finally, the case of  Ahlam Tamimi’s cousin and since 2012 also her husband. Both husband and wife are unrepentant terrorist-murderers. Both walked free in the catastrophic Shalit Deal. And both are beneficiaries of the Palestinian Authority's disgraceful, foreign-funded Rewards for Terror scheme. They may be the only double-income terrorist family to qualify under the blood-soaked incentive scheme. Nizar Tamimi was convicted of the 1993 murder of Chaim Mizrachi, along with two other close Tamimi relatives. (Another member of the clan, Bassem Tamimi, father of media starlet Ahed Tamimi and uncle of Nizar, was also charged but released under strange circumstances.) Nizar Tamimi was sentenced to life in prison but released October 2011 in the Shalit Deal. 

Nizar Tamimi now lives in Jordan with his wife Ahlam Tamimi and their family. How much has he earned from the Fatah/PA/PLO scheme so far? At least $92,057 from the time of his arrest until he walked free in the Shalit Deal. This is not included in the total on the PMW poster. What, if anything, did Nizar Tamimi earn from the PA in the nearly seven years after he walked free? The PMW experts say he would probably got a one-time release grant of $6,000 on top of the stipend he had been receiving during his 18 years behind bars. He would be entitled, as a released prisoner who served 15 to 20 years, to a privileged position and commensurate salary in the PA with the seniority of Colonel or higher. Calculating what this means in practice is complicated by the fact that he and his wife live in Jordan.

Not updated


The Tamimi couple - Ahlam and Nizar, cousins and spouses - may be the only beneficiaries of the Palestinian Authority Rewards for Terror incentive scheme ("Pay2Play") to make up a dual-income family unit.