Sunday, October 04, 2020

04-Oct-20: The Sbarro bomber's husband has been forced to leave Jordan: A snapshot of developments

Nizar Tamimi giving an interview in his Amman home
This past Thursday, reports emanating initially from Tamimi clan sources and then later via the Arabic media in Jordan said the husband of Ahlam Tamimi, the admitted bomber of the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria in 2001, has suddenly been expelled from Jordan. 

He appears to be taking up residence in Qatar. But note that the government of Jordan has said precisely not one word. There's room to be cautious in interpreting what's happened.

Where things appear to stand

Middle East Eye reported Friday (October 2, 2020) that 

Jordanian authorities on Thursday declared the liberated Palestinian prisoner Nizar Al-Tamimi persona non grata and asked him to leave the country, according to sources who spoke to Arabi21 news site. Nizar al-Tamimi is the husband of Ahlam al-Tamimi, who served time in Israeli prisons. Ahlam, who holds Jordanian citizenship, is wanted in the United States. Washington had previously requested her extradition, but Amman refused due to the absence of a law allowing the extradition of Jordanian citizens abroad. Her husband only has Palestinian citizenship, and is not on any wanted list by any country. A Jordanian source told Arabi21 that Nizar al-Tamimi had been renewing his residence permit every three months, but this time Jordanian authorities refused to extend his stay, and asked him to leave the country, even though his wife is a Jordanian national. The source said that Nizar left on Thursday to Doha [Qatar] despite attempts to mediate and solve the issue without having him deported. The source confirmed that “the decision to deport Nizar al-Tamimi is linked to his wife's involvement in a suicide attack against Israelis during the Second Palestinian Intifada, which prompted the US authorities to pursue her ever since”. The source also considered that “deporting Nizar al-Tamimi would cause major problems for the family, especially since his wife's departure from Jordan might threaten her safety and expose her to arrest”. The Trump administration indicated a few months ago its intention to cut off aid to Jordan as a way to pressure the kingdom’s authorities to hand over Ahlam to Washington, Arabi21 reported. In 2013, the US Department of Justice put Ahlam al-Tamimi on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list, and charged her with "conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against US nationals outside the United States". 

Nizar Tamimi, at the time a member of the Fatah terror organization and a resident of the Palestinian Arab village of Nabi Saleh ["17-Mar-13 A Little Village in the Hills and the Monsters it Spawns"] was charged in 1993 with his involvement in the murder of an Israeli student of Jewish religion, Chaim Mizrachi ["The murder of a West Bank student highlights the plight of the Jewish religious communities confronting Palestinian rule", Sarah Helm, The Independent UK, November 7, 1993]. The young Mizrachi had made the fatal mistake of buying eggs from a Palestinian Arab farmer. It's an appalling story. 

Tamimi was subsequently convicted for his part in the cruel and gruesome homicide and sentenced to life imprisonment. Two other Tamimi cousins were convicted at the same time. 

The extremely unlovely Tamimi clan

Nizar Tamimi's uncle, the prominent agitator Bassem Tamimi who was Nizar's mother's brother was initially thought, according to reports we have seen, to have been involved. (Worth noting that there is a huge degree of consanguinity - marrying within the clan - among Nabi Saleh's many Tamimis. Almost every resident of the village was born with that name, and Tamimis routinely marry Tamimis.) 

Then after Bassem Tamimi suffered head injuries while in Israeli police custody, those homicide charges seem to have been dropped with no public explanation. They are almost never mentioned in media reports about Bassem Tamimi's quite public life. 

Bassem Tamim is also a cousin of Ahlam Tamimi, Nizar's wife. And he is the father of Ahed Tamimi, the previously very-high-profile young woman, often referred to as Shirley Temper in news reports ["24-Dec-17: Nabi Saleh, the media and a Tamimi child's journey"] for her availability to perform on demand when the press cameras were rolling. 

Nizar Tamimi walked free in the extortionate deal Israel did with the terrorists of Hamas in 2011 to secure the freedom of a young hostage, Gilad Shalit. So did his cousin Ahlam Tamimi, and so did 1,025 other convicted terrorists. The two Tamimis were married in Jordan less than a year later ["22-Jun-12: A wedding and what came before it"]. Bassem Tamimi and his family traveled to Jordan to take part in the celebrations.

This past week

The London-based Arabic Al Araby news site (October 3, 2020) - which is the source for most of what Middle East Eye published above - under the headline "Ahlam Al-Tamimi appeals to the Jordanian monarch to allow her husband to return to Amman", reports from Amman, Jordan's capital, that Ahlam Tamimi has just sent a message to Jordan's ruler, King Abdullah II. She asks him to allow her husband Nizar Al-Tamimi to return to Jordan and go on residing there.

She addresses the king as "the father of all Jordanians", lavishly praising him as one who extends "hospitality for everyone who sought asylum in this country and who took refuge in it, bearing all the economic, political and social consequences... Jordan has been a pioneer in embracing me and giving a safe haven for me and my husband after we were released from the occupation prisons". 

She describes the nearly eight years she has lived in Jordan after being released by Israel in the Gilad Shalit Deal as "the most beautiful days of my life". 

Then referring to the events of the past week, she declares that "we were surprised by the request that my husband leave [Jordan] quickly" causing them "the pain of separation".

Offering some background, the report says the Palestinian Prisoners and Executives Affairs Authority issued a statement on Thursday October 1, 2020, saying Jordan had refused to renew the residency of Nizar Al-Tamimi, husband of Ahlam Al-Tamimi, demanding that he leave Jordan. It says the Jordanian government and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs had failed to issue any comment on the matter. It mentions how "Jordan rejected the request of the American authorities to hand over the freed captive Ahlam Al-Tamimi, and the Court of Cassation at that time, the highest judicial body in Jordan, approved a decision issued by the Amman Court of Appeal, ruling not to hand Ahlam Tamimi over to US authorities."

Note: nothing from any official Jordanian source. 

Al Araby connects the expulsion of Nizar Tamimi to the statements made by newly-installed US ambassador to Jordan, Henry Wooster, who stated in May 2020, before he had been confirmed by Congress to the long vacant position of ambassador to Amman, that the United States, in the paper's words, "might suspend foreign aid to Jordan if Ahlam al-Tamimi were not handed over". 

Then it shifts into full-blown conspiracy mode:

The Tamimi case has become one of the pressure points used by Tel Aviv [sic] and Zionist lobbies [sic] pressing in the United States towards forcing Jordan not to object to Israel's plan to annex about a third of the West Bank to it and to implement the American dictation plan to liquidate the Palestinian issue known as the "Deal of the Century"...

Nizar Tamimi (r) with his mother's brother Bassem Tamimi
in October 2011 shortly after his release from an Israeli
prison cell as part of the Shalit Deal
 
Quds Press International News Agency (October 3, 2020) [archived] publishes a "special statement" given to it by Ahlam Tamimi that day. The expulsion of her husband from the Hashemite Kingdom came "suddenly and without prior coordination" and "at a very sensitive time... in light of increasing American demands to extradite me to there... The deportation of my husband Nizar was met with much joy and pleasure in the Zionist newspapers." 

The husband's deportation is, she fears, "a prelude to handing her over to the American authorities." This is very wrong since, as she puts it, "it is my right for my husband to live with me on Jordanian lands with dignity just like all other Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians." 

Good luck with that.

Why now? 

Quds quotes her saying "it seems the Jordanian side is betting I will join my husband in Qatar but this is not at all possible since there is an Interpol request distributed at airports around the world for my extradition to Washington." 

The world's most sought female fugitive ["31-Jan-20: Fox News break ranks with the mainstream media on Tamimi and Jordan"] now thinks staying in Jordan is the safest option for her since "the highest Jordanian court (the Court of Appeal) made the decision not to extradite me to Washington - a strong and destined position and therefore my exit would be like someone who places himself in the lion’s mouth, exposing myself to the American danger, and therefore I will not leave Jordan ever... 

Getting her husband back, according to Tamimi "is a right guaranteed by the constitution". 

Quds quotes the husband saying that last week "the [Jordanian] security authorities asked me to leave Jordan immediately and that their decision is final and irrevocable and would not be withdrawn under any circumstances."

Nizar and Ahlam Tamimi in their Amman apartment
Shehab News Agency
(October 3, 2020) [archived] writes under the headline "MP Al-Shanti: Ahlam Al-Tamimi is an icon of the Palestinian woman revolting against the occupation", that a Gazan Palestinian Arab "parliamentarian" has denounced "the arbitrary measures" directed against the female "fighter against the Zionist occupation", calling them illegal "by all laws".

Jamila Al-Shanti, a key figure in Hamas and (according to this Wikipedia source - but there may have been another woman who had that role) the widow of arch-terrorist Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, the political head of Hamas until eliminated in 2004 by Israeli fire, says "Zionist American terrorism targets the released prisoners through assassination, re-arrest or deportation. Ahlam spent ten years in detention before her release in 2011 under the Wafaa Al-Ahrar prisoner exchange deal", a reference to the Shalit Deal.

She calls Ahlam Tamimi "a candle for the world’s women who aspire to freedom, an icon in the heart of every Palestinian and Arab woman fighter defending her right - Ahlam knows the path of resistance and will continue."

Next moves

But rhetoric doesn't have much impact on fast-moving developments and the reality is that Ahlam Tamimi's options have suddenly gotten a good deal narrower. 

It's obviously an ongoing and complicated story which, given our interest in seeing her sent to Washington to face trial there for spearheading the Sbarro pizzeria massacre, we will be following closely. And to those trying to learn something from all the moving parts and surprise twists: we follow the Arabic media fairly closely and have not yet seen a single article there which mentions the people Ahlam Tamimi killed. This is actually stunning, not in a good way. 

It's the real story here.

[UPDATE Sunday October 11, 2020: There have been many developments worth reporting in the past 72 hours. We've been flat out dealing with them behind the scenes. However we do hope to update readers of this blog in the coming 24 hours.]

Thursday, October 01, 2020

01-Oct-20: Remembering the launch of a war twenty years ago

Arnold Roth was interviewed last night on the English-language TV channel operated by i24NEWS. 

Presenter Calev Ben David had a string of guests in the station's Jerusalem studio; their shows are normally produced in Jaffa. The occasion was the 20th anniversary of the terror war launched by the Palestinian Arabs.

The ten minute segment served as a brief, but welcome, opportunity to touch on what's been learned: the struggle for peace, the Shalit Deal, Ahlam Tamimi, the duplicity of Hashemite Jordan and the work of the Malki Foundation.


[We're preparing some more commentary to come]


Monday, September 21, 2020

21-Sep-20: Ten minutes and 40 seconds of drive-time attention on Israeli radio

It's no secret that Israel's media - newspapers, mainstream radio and television - have given close to zero attention to the hunt for the Sbarro massacre architect Ahlam Tamimi and to our efforts to bring her to justice in the US.

Some weeks ago, through the friendly intervention of a respected figure who believes in our cause, the morning radio program of Kalman Liebskind and Asaf Liberman, one of the most-listened-to talk streams in Israel's culture today, invited Arnold Roth to join them for an on-air conversation.

We haven't translated this to English yet, for which we apologize. The program is mainstream Israeli, meaning it's of course in Hebrew. It went to air on June 24, 2020 on KAN Reshet Bet כאן רשת ב, the country's main talk-radio station.


21-Sep-20: Things the world's most wanted female terrorist would like us to know

Video capture from the Facebook clip
Ten days ago, in an online webinar broadcast globally by Facebook to wherever there are Arabic-speaking fans of this kind of thing, a celebration took place. 

This one marked nineteen years to the day of the horrors of 9/11. 

Ahlam Tamimi, a fanatical Islamist, the killer of our daughter Malka Chana Roth, and a woman who was released from her Israeli prison cell after serving just eight years of a sixteen-consecutive-terms-of-life-imprisonment sentence, was its main drawcard. 

That's her in the screen shot above.

Tamimi's speech reminded those of us watching from afar of just how much improbable freedom this boastful Jordanian bomber of a Jerusalem pizzeria in 2001 and a murderer of children has managed to acquire over the years since her return to the place of her birth and education (Jordan). It's where much of her immediate and extended family lives.

Tamimi's speech underscored how it is that she became the world's most wanted female fugitive. If your Arabic allows it, watch the full video here (embedded in a Facebook account called "National Prisoners") thanks to the mindless generosity of Facebook. 

In case it "disappears" (such things have been known to happen), the video page is archived here

We asked some capable and helpful Arabic-speaking friends to translate the overall sense of it. The notes that follow are based on what they said.

Taking a historical view, Tamimi refers to the steady decline in the status of Palestinian Arab prisoners in the wake of the 1994 Oslo Accords. Meaning she's reaching back to 1994 when she was about the same age as Malki, our daughter, was she was killed in the explosion Tamimi executed seven years later in the center of Jerusalem. 

That's a problem in her eyes, the loss of standing and attention. In an earlier period, the fact of prisoners being released from their Israeli prison cells would have triggered meaningful festivities, she says. Today all that happens is a few family members come and greet the prisoner at the nearest Israeli checkpoint. No ceremonies, no community involvement. (For what it's worth, we see plenty of evidence via the Arabic-language social media that in many cases at least, they do make a big deal.)

Another indicator of how serious this new reality is: families are no longer as happy as they once were to see their daughters married off to released prisoners. And let's clarify that when she says 'prisoners', what she means is terrorists

Tamimi sees this decline in ardor and prestige as influencing the media as well. If the public no longer care as much about the prisoner issue, she asserts, the media see less need to give it coverage. 

As an instance, she cites the death of a prisoner behind Israeli bars a few days earlier. Death came, she says, via a heart attack, ending the life of the imprisoned hero just a few months before his expected release. 

She refers in a similar way to the infection of dozens of prisoners with the Corona virus. Both, she says, illustrate how the public showing little interest led to the media failing to cover them. (Again, from where we sit, there is very considerable media coverage in the Arab world for both the deaths of "prisoners" inside Israeli prisons - never the result of anything ordinary, always stemming from Israeli malevolence -  and the cruel ravages of COVID-19 which is also a direct result of Zionism in their telling.)

Though she doesn't name names, the heart attack case is probably Daoud Tala'at al-Khatib, a security prisoner with roots in Bethlehem whose death in Ofer Prison on Jerusalem's northern edge was reported in Middle East Eye on September 3, 2020. 

The story told there is that Khatib had been 

"sentenced to 18 years in prison for his involvement in anti-occupation activities as a member of the Fatah movement. The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' and Former Prisoners' Affairs said fellow inmates at Ofer protested after learning of Khatib’s death, banging on doors and chanting. Israeli prison officers then reportedly raided the cells and put 10 prisoners in solitary confinement. Khatib’s death has reignited calls for Israeli prison services to be held accountable for its medical neglect of jailed Palestinians."

They go further over at Palestine News Network where Khatib is reliably reported to have been "martyred in Ofer prison as a result of a heart attack", while Electronic Intifada attributes his death to "an apparent stroke as the cause of death, but that has not been officially confirmed". 

None of the Arab reports give much context. But we found a Lebanese account revealing [here] that the terrorist had a history of cardiac problems. Following an earlier heart attack in 2017, he underwent open heart surgery which, since he was a prisoner, would have been done as a no-cost gift from Israel's excellent medical system. How likely is it that he would have gotten care of this quality in the free market of the world he came from?

The house organ of the Palestinian Authority, WAFA, says an autopsy showed he died of "severe heart failure resulting from cardiomyopathy and coronary artery disease". It's hard to see problems like these stemming from anything the Israeli prison system could have inflicted. But we're working from limited information and the overblown nature of the Arab narrative tends to make things more confused and unclear than they would otherwise be. 

Palestine News Network, paying some small attention to how he got imprisoned in the first place, calls him "a member of the General Intelligence Service, where he was arrested on charges of resisting the occupation". We're familiar with that kind of double-talk. Times of Israel, unimpressed by the vague generalities, says he had been "a member of the armed wing of the Palestinian Fatah faction". 2002, when he was arrested, was a period in which murderous terror attacks by Fatah were a daily occurrence. (We're trying to find references from open sources that might nail down how this 'prisoner' was sentenced to a term that would normally indicate someone was killed.) 

So back to Ahlam Tamimi. 

Her next complaint: the status enjoyed by prisoners in Palestinian Arab society has to be strengthened and popular concern for them implanted in the collective consciousness. But this isn't happening enough. If it were, the prisoners/terrorists would get the respect they deserve in the media as well.

Signing the Abraham Agreement - September 15, 2020
She then moves on to the more acute - and highly current - problem of Arab normalization with Israel, the process exemplified by Israel's recent understandings with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. She sees this too as bringing lower the overall interest in the well-being of prisoners/terrorists. 

And so does the Palestinian Authority negotiating with Israel. (Note that while her terrorism career began with her joining the nominally-secular Fatah faction of the PLO in 2000, she soon left it and was recruited into the Islamism-oriented Hamas; the two are perpetually at odds, often violently so.) She makes no mention of the Abbas regime's obsessive protecting and funding of its satanic scheme to give financial incentives to acts of terrorism - often called Pay To Slay. But then she's not making Fatah's case here; she identifies with its main competitor, Hamas.

Tamimi then addresses the usefulness of the social media. She says she feels a need to breath new life into the issue of prisoners/terrorists. The advantages of the social media include that they are not subject to what the translators term "certain agendas that afflict the rest of the media". The social media, as distinct from the conventional press, television and radio, are characterized by low cost, fast publishing and a high degree of interactivity. In the world for which she speaks, these are valuable advantages.

It's important, suggests Tamimi, who was awarded a masters degree in journalism in 2019, to cultivate good relations with social media influencers. This, she says, is how you win over younger people. She names several Arab social media activists whose followers number in the millions and who could produce short video clips about prisoners/terrorists. 

She also urges reaching out to footballers and celebrities from such other fields as fashion models, religion, politics. How this fits with her adherence to Islamist conservatism is left unanswered.

Tamimi the pan-Arab celebrity formally cuts a ribbon
As far as we can tell from the account we received, Tamimi made no mention of her own deep personal involvement in, and leverage of, such social media as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

We have been involved in efforts, so far all of them successful, to have her accounts on those platforms shut down. Her whack-a-mole persistence in relaunching under new names immediately after being silenced speaks to a real need by Tamimi for being heard and for influencing. It's a factor that we have seen no journalist address - but it clearly bears on how the US ought to understand Jordan's shabby safeguarding of this energetic promoter of murder-by-terror.

In fact, it's hard to not see this horrifying woman as a passionate, almost uniquely toxic, influencer. How many reporters, broadcasters, bloggers, commentators do you know who have double-digit murders in their CV?! And who are safeguarded by an entire government, Jordan's, despite the country's near-total dependence on US aid and support? 

There's a far deeper and more compelling story here than most people have ever realized.  

And this important side: It's breathtaking to watch her use - and be permitted to use to keep using for years - Facebook (and the other social media platforms where she is active) to encourage others to follow in her path. To make the world a safer and more welcoming place, in blunter terms, for her brand of terrorists - those who go looking for little children in busy pizzerias.

We'll just repeat that point for the many who pay no attention or fail to see what it all means: the social media giants, pre-eminent among them Facebook with its fabulously rich resources and bold slogans about keeping the social media world safe through algorithms and vigilance, are indispensable to the modus operandi of bona fide thugs like this hideous, blood-drenched woman. 

How is this not a front page story on the world's most important news sites?

Tamimi appeared in a different setting just yesterday. We came across it while writing this post. She's  mentioned in a Palestinian Arab op ed on the Al Watan Voice website [here] that waxes poetic about the sacrifices, the devotion, the sheer decency of Palestinian Arab prisoners (i.e. convicted terrorists). 

The writer, called Hassan Al-Asi, delves into the "self-sacrificing" backgrounds of a number of cold-blooded terrorists before briefly devoting himself briefly to Tamimi:
The freed prisoner Ahlam Al-Tamimi, whose father also fell ill with Alzheimer's Disease [having just written that another 'prisoner' had the same fate] and did not recognize her, always cries if you listen to her telling her story. She says that she did not feel free after her [2011] release because freedom, in her sense, is the memories with her father and mother. She said that during her discussion of the Master's thesis [evidently a reference to a degree in journalism she received last summer from a private university in Jordan], her father remembered her for two seconds and called her by a name of endearment that he used to call her when she was young. The sacrifice of the prisoners is one of the greatest and noblest sacrifices. They are the ones who sacrifice their freedom for the sake of the freedom of their people...
Tamimi has never expressed a half-syllable of remorse for the lives she set out to destroy. If she has any regret, she has said in front of cameras and for the record, it is regret that she did not manage to murder more innocent Jews. At least not yet. 

If you follow our efforts and our writings, it will be no surprise that we have no sympathy at all for this satanic figure. The life of comfort, influence, privilege and celebrity she lives - and has lived since October 2011 - is a travesty. The hand of Jordan's ruling family in safeguarding her while keeping the arms of American justice away from her is a disgrace we wish were more widely understood. 

But our interest is explicitly not for vengeance. We have no interest in seeing her die as our Malki did, blown to pieces, alone, in grotesque pain, 15 years old. 

What we hope to see is Tamimi arrested, taken in chains across the Atlantic, put on trial and for the justice system to run its course: for her to end her life in a bed - inside a US Federal prison, an old woman looking back on a wasted, frustrated life.

We're not open to hearing her advice about social media. Or almost anything else. There is nothing she can teach that we want to learn. 

As for weeping with her as she sheds tears for a father and a mother who lived full and long lives, we're glad for her that she enjoyed their involvement in her life (the father danced at her wedding in 2012). But a tragedy it's not. Tragedy is what she inflicted, smiling, gloating, triumphant, on us personally and on six other families. 

It's going way too far when this mass-murderer who set out to destroy the lives of as many children as possible - and succeeded - brazenly invites pity, empathy, participation in the deep sadness of seeing a father in his eighties, a man whose entire working career was spent working as part of the Jordanian military, fade away into dementia. 

Ahlam Tamimi out to get justice, not sympathy. Those who see it the opposite way, no matter how elevated their status in life, ought to look long and hard into a mirror and understand the moral depths to which they have descended.

UPDATE Sunday September 27, 2020: We have emailed and tweeted to multiple addresses at Facebook on a daily basis since posting this and have not gotten a single acknowledgement. We have turned to the Department of Justice with a request that they act in accordance with the criminal provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B which renders unlawful the providing of material support or resources to a foreign (non-American) terrorist organization. But the fact is the video of Tamimi appealing for more and deeper support for terrorists in the service of Palestinian Arab jihad, like herself, remains up, streaming and accessible to the world. 

A good way to show your outrage would be to sign our petition - the details are at 19-Jul-20: Extradite Tamimi: A call for your support or simply go to www.change.org/ExtraditeTamimi and sign there (without "chipping in" any payments to the change.org people).

UPDATE Friday October 2, 2020: It appears that Facebook has now quietly, not responding to us in any way, removed the video. 

UPDATE Sunday October 11, 2020: It's an honor to be able to once again thank Malgorzata Koraszewska who has very kindly produced and published a Polish-language version ("Rzeczy, o których chce nas poinformować najbardziej na świecie poszukiwana terrorystka") of this post. Our sincere thanks to her, and great appreciation to readers of this blog in Poland. And one more thing: Facebook is once again hosting the video clip of Tamimi urging her fans to give more support to terror and terrorists. We have taken this matter up with Facebook - who have given no sign of acknowledging that they have heard from our lawyers or us, or that they know there is a problem - and the law enforcement authorities in the United States. Stay tuned.]

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

18-Aug-20: An Arab-on-Israeli knifing in Jerusalem's Old City and a dead assailant

Screen cap from the Israel Police video report [here]
The general sense of fury being projected by a wounded and failed Palestinian Authority leadership in the wake of Israel's suddenly open 'normalized' relationship with the United Arab Emirates received its depressingly predictable expression last night.

Here in Jerusalem, near Lion's Gate (שער האריות) in the Old City at around 8:40 pm Monday night, shortly before Muslim evening prayers and close to the Bab Huta entrance (one of several) to the Temple Mount, an attacker wearing a protective face mask launched an explosive knifing attack. His victim was a 19 year old armed Israeli security officer who came out of it with moderate injuries but alive and recovering.

The attacker was almost immediately shot by security personnel and died of his injuries. Palestinian Arab news reports like this one predictably say the young Arrab was 'executed'.

The security camera video [here] makes plain the usual procedure: young Arab male, walking along one of the Old City paths, lunges without warning towards a security forces member standing guard to protect the peace, whips a knife out of his clothing. Thrusts a hand holding the weapon towards the upper body of the Israel, causing what undoubtedly would be the first of several lethal wounds if no one stops him. But he is stopped by the shots of another alert Israel Border Guard officer and falls to the ground.

Arabic-language news reports (like this one from the official Palestinian Press Agency, archived here) say (translated from the Arabic original) "the Israeli occupation forces executed a Palestinian youth"that "the martyr... is from the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem" and "he is 30 years old".

The murderous assault comes against the background of what a Times of Israel report calls "a general lull in terror activity in the capital, which had not seen a stabbing attack in nearly three months".

The teenage border guard, presumably in the midst of his compulsory national service, was taken to hospital (Yediot Aharonot says Shaarei Zedek; Times of Israel reports Hadassah Mount Scopus Medical Center) for emergency treatment. Initial first aid was given at the site by Magen David Adom medics. The hospital reports that he sustained stab wounds to the chest and is "stable and fully conscious”.

Haaretz quotes Israel Police announcing that the Temple Mount gates were closed immediately after the knifing. Social media reports (like this) say that in the Shuafat neighborhood of north Jerusalem there were clashes in the hours that followed between Israel Police and locals.

Monday, August 10, 2020

10-Aug-20: Malki Roth's parents are interviewed on i24NEWS



Calev Ben David live-interviewed the parents of Malka Chana Roth, one of the many victims of the Hamas bombing attack on the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, nineteen years ago today (August 9).

Frimet and Arnold Roth who live in Jerusalem with their family are spearheading efforts to have the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan extradite the Sbarro massacre mastermind, a Jordanian woman called Ahlam Tamimi. The United States unsealed a criminal complaint (in effect, an indiictment) against Tamimi on March 14, 2017. Jordan almost immediately engineered a legal decision by its highest court to the effect that the 1995 Extradition Treaty between Jordan and the United States was of no legal effect and consequently Jordan was under no obligation to  arrest her and hand her to the US authorities. Tamimi is a celebrity in Jordan today. [YouTube]

Calev Ben David is currently co-anchor of i24NEWS' daily news program "The Rundown" and a political-diplomatic analyst for the channel.

i24NEWS is an Israeli international 24-hour news and current affairs television channel located in Jaffa Port, Tel Aviv, Israel. It broadcasts in French, English and Arabic. The channel's owner is Patrick Drahi and the CEO is Frank Melloul... The channel went live on 17 July 2013 [and] began broadcasting in the US on 13 February 2017. The English channel is broadcast from New York between 6 and 10 p.m. Eastern Time and at other times broadcasts from Israel. [Wikipedia]

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

28-Jul-20: How do Jordanians view the efforts to bring the Sbarro bomber to justice?

Triumphant Hamas terrorist Ahlam Tamimi in a May 2020 video clip published
(in Arabic) by Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, Turkey's national 
public broadcaster [Image Source]
It doesn't matter which Arab publication carried the article below. Or the identity or credentials of the person who wrote it. Or that person's religious, ideological or political alignment.

Those are among the lesser aspects that ought to be on people's minds as they consider its contents.

We have read tens of such articles emanating mostly from Jordan but also from other parts of the Arab world since May 2020. (Some of them are here: "14-May-20: In Jordan, they stand with confessed bomber Tamimi. And they're worried...")

That's when the Arab world awoke to the reality that the US government has Jordan-centric sanctions on its mind and is serious about them. (See "05-May-20: From Congress, concern about how Jordanians deal with the fugitive terrorist in their midst")

Some years ago, we started scanning online Arabic-language news media daily with the help of online translation tools like Bing and Google Translate. In all that time, we have not uncovered even a single published article dealing with the cold-blooded 2001 bombing of a Jerusalem pizzeria because of the children inside that criticizes the bomber.

And if we're wrong and such articles exist, please send us a link or a copy. Trust us, we will be glad to give it all the prominence it deserves.

Ahlam Tamimi is the central figure in the pizzeria bombing horror. A Jordanian student who was 21 when she selected the crowded fast food shop as her target for her Hamas superiors, she personally planted the bomb - a human being with an explosives-laden guitar case on his back that included a large quantity of nails for their flesh-ripping feature - at the central Jerusalem site, a pizzeria of the US-based Sbarro chain.

Today Tamimi is a fugitive from US justice. There's a $5 million State Department reward for her capture and conviction on US Federal charges. In January 2020, Fox News called her the most wanted female fugitive in the world.

Tamimi, a member of an ultra-violent, publicity-craving clan of the same name ["17-Mar-13: A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns"], has emerged as an Arab icon, a genuine pan-Arab celebrity who for nearly five years was the presenter of her own weekly TV show devoted to showcasing her views about terror (she's strongly in favor) and the need to stand in support of terror directed at Israelis. Her show, "Breezes of the Free", was beamed by satellite to homes throughout the world - wherever Arabic-speaking audiences could be found, which is everywhere.

The article below appeared about a month ago. Published in Arabic (and the trannslation into English is ours and far from perfect), it's not special and not so different from numerous others. In fact, it's very much like most of them and that's what's so chilling. Our comments are interspersed in the text.

What is behind American pressure on Jordan?
اقرأ المزيد من اليوم الثامن | Taj Al-Din Abdel-Haq
Al-Youm 8 | Friday 26 June 2020

If it is proven that American threats to impose sanctions on Jordan, against the background of demanding the extradition of the Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin, Ahlam Al-Tamimi, accused of a bombing in Jerusalem in 2001 that caused the deaths of two Americans, turn out to be true, we will be facing a precedent in American-Jordanian relations we have not witnessed before.
Our comment: From the outset let it be clear. While the focus here is a woman who confesses publicly and repeatedly to bombing a restaurant filled with children, and who faces the likelihood of a lifetime sentence if she is ever put on trial in Washington DC, the author of this op ed is concerned with what this says about the view the United States has of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The fugitive killer and what she did raises not a single word of criticism in what follows. There is a victim in this narrative according to the pundit who write this. That victim is Jordan
Any stage of such threats, even during American preparations for the second Gulf War in 1990, and then during the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 when Jordan adopted a position contrary to that of many countries in the region, especially those traditionally allied to the US.
Our comment: The mention of Iraq and the Gulf War ought to have triggered a comment about how Iraq's late dictator Saddam Hussein Altakriti was viewed by Jordanians. Here's a taste: "If the topic of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq comes up in Jordan, Jordanians will usually describe the late leader as a "dahiyyeh" (victim). In the collective mind of the Jordanian street, Hussein was both omnipotent and tragically sympathetic—the model for Arab development and governmental beneficence, while also the tragic hero of a Western plot..." ["Saddam Hussein's "Rosy" Legacy in Jordan", The National Interest, August 2014] And years before that, this: "Jordan has carefully nurtured a reputation as the most consistently pro-Western Arab state. Thus, it came as a shock to many to find most Jordanians taking the side of President Saddam Hussein in the gulf crisis, and Western leaders are disturbed by King Hussein's reluctance to join forces against the Iraqi ruler." ["Jordan and the Gulf Crisis", Foreign Affairs, Winter 1990/1991 
The American demand from Jordan this time is greater than its capacity. It is impossible to comply with it, even if that means paying the price of the annual economic and military aid that Jordan receives from the United States directly or from countries that see the relationship between Washington and Amman as a factor that encourages the providing of other aid and grants. We mention here such countries as Japan, South Korea, some European countries that link their international aid to indirect US blessing.
Our comment: US economic and military aid to Jordan is quite a tale. A June 2020 Congressional Research Service monograph [here] says "The United States has provided economic and military aid to Jordan since 1951 and 1957, respectively. Total bilateral U.S. aid (overseen by the Departments of State and Defense) to Jordan through FY2018 amounted to approximately $22 billion... [and] has nearly quadrupled in historical terms over the last 15 years." Based on 2020 data, Jordan is the world's third-largest recipient of US aid. The US is Jordan's largest provider of aid - by far.
From the political point of view, America's request of Jordan is a car bomb request.
Our comment: What he calls a 'car bomb' is a formal request that Jordan hands over a terrorist as required under a strategically-important treaty signed into effect by Jordan's King Hussein, the father of the present king, and the Clinton Administration in 1995. Watch now as a bilateral, mutual obligation that has been in force for the past 25 years and that, according to the State Department, is still certainly in force is deformed into what he absurdly calls a 'car bomb'. 
The first element of that bombing is that it affects a Jordanian citizen. Jordanian law does not allow - as is the case with the laws of many countries of the world - extradition to another country not to mention that there is no extradition agreement between Washington and Amman.
Our comment: Does not allow extradition? Really? Jordan, according to its own data, has signed mutually binding extradition agreements with multiple Arab states as well as (among others) with Australia, Ukraine, FranceAzerbaijan and Kazakhstan as well as the United States. As for "there is no extradition agreement between Washington and Amman", that's both untrue and misleading. First and most importantly, the US State Department's authoritative Treaties in Force [online here] lists the treaty with Jordan as current and in effect. It's described on page 244 where this text appears: "Extradition treaty. Signed at Washington March 28, 1995. Entered into force July 29, 1995."] The only semi-positive thing that can be said about the invented claim that there's no US/Jordan extradition treaty is that it's consistent with something Jordan's foreign minister Ayman H. Safadi said for the record last year: "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." Easy to say, especially to a home-town crowd who want to hear it, but why does no reporter or analyst challenge the Jordanian official on this invention? It's one of many puzzles in the Tamimi Extradition saga.
Even if we accept America's characterization and consider Ahlam al-Tamimi a criminal, the United States is addressing crimes that occurred on non-American soil. In the “Tamimi” case involving a bombing in Jerusalem, it [?] issued a court ruling and she was deported to Jordan in a prisoner exchange deal with Israel.
Our comment: Tamimi being a criminal is hardly an American characterization. The woman herself openly, repeatedly, proudly confesses to the crime, as she did to an Israeli court in 2003, with a broad smile on her face. But if the writer - who plainly knows little about the laws of the United States and of Jordan - sees himself as a legal expert, someone should explain to him how that works. Under US law, the US can and must pursue a terrorist where the act of terror was executed outside the territory of the US and where a US national was killed: See 18 U.S. Code § 2332a. Making big bold statements with no factual basis certainly works in some places, and - in the form of speeches and op ed articles - they are very much part of the current Arab discourse about the Tamimi extradition. What puzzles us is - where are the many Western journalists who report from Amman? And what frightens them?   
The most dangerous thing is that the American request contains a threat to Jordanian national unity. Extraditing Al-Tamimi may be used to detonate internal disputes in Jordan, threatening its spirit of citizenship and the country's stability, re-invigorating a dormant fitna, to divide the social component on the basis of origins and principles, which is a kind of sedition that Jordan greatly strives to eradicate...
Our comment: No mention of justice, of moral repugnance, of the stain of Jordan harboring, shielding, celebrating a woman famous only because of the children she blew up. The real danger says our expert, "the most dangerous thing", is the threat to "Jordan's national unity". That's shameful. Jordan claims to be a leading player in the war against terrorism. Its ruler makes speeches about this routinely. For instance (from among many): "King Abdullah II of Jordan said Sunday that Jordan will continue the fight against terrorism... In a meeting of the national policies council, the king said Jordan will fight the outlaws without any mercy and with all resolves and strengths.. The king stressed on the need to fight radical ideology and extremism, paying tribute to the efforts of the security forces." ["Jordan's king vows to continue fighting against terrorism", August 12, 2018, Xinhuanet] So either Tamimi, who confesses gleefully to mounting a bomb attack on a pizzeria and the children inside, is not a terrorist. Or else Jordan, when it talks about fighting terrorism, is working from a definition that makes no sense. Either way, neither its king nor the writer of the self-pitying column on which we're commenting should be believed. 
American economic sanctions do not make life easy for a country that suffers from a lack of resources, debt burden, living crises, and unemployment that it has no capacity to face and to deal with their effects.

Pressure of this kind is not an abstract economic crisis but a political crisis as well. The stressful living conditions in Jordan are a thunderbolt triggering various political and social crises. Most probably, this is the [Trojan] “horse” of the expected American pressure on Jordan, in order to force it to surrender Ahlam Al-Tamimi - making it nothing more than an excuse to achieve other goals.
Our comment: Calling on a treaty partner and beneficiary of lavish foreign aid to live up to its legal obligations might not be palatable or easy, especially when the terrorist at the heart of the request has wide Jordanian support and adoration. That doesn't make the request a Trojan horse or an attempt to bring Jordan to its knees.
Had this excuse been true, Washington could have originally objected to the prisoner exchange agreement between Jordan and Israel, according to which the Jordanian prisoner was freed and released. This would have been easier and more secure, especially since the United States has a presence [embassy?] in Tel Aviv that allows it to object to any agreements that might affect American interests.
Our comment: A prisoner exchange agreement between Israel and Jordan? He presumably means the Hamas deal with Israel for the freedom of Gilad Shalit, a hostage held illegally and in breach of the laws of war by Hamas for more than five years. Should the Americans have objected to that agreement on the basis that it affects American interests? Yes. For what it's worth, the US ambassador to Israel told us personally years after the fact that his office did object before the Shalit Deal was done, and had Tamimi in mind when they did. 
If we exclude this pretext from the reckoning, the Jordanian position regarding the American project known as the Deal of the Century about which Jordan was clear and serious in rejecting, and even threatening to confront it, remains before us.
Our comment: Does the treaty obligation to hand over Tamimi to US law enforcement have anything to do with the Arab obsession with a deal of the century? Did that deal even exist when Jordan's highest court ruled that the 1995 treaty with the US was unenforceable and had been invalid and unenforceable since the day it was signed? No and no. 
The US realizes Jordan has a central role in any political settlement it seeks to impose in the region. In addition to the special historical dimensions that linked Jordan to the Palestinian issue, the geographical dimension that links the Jordanian entity to the occupied Palestinian lands, and the demographic dimension represented by Jordan hosting millions of internally displaced and Palestinian refugees, there is a political reality that cannot be overcome and the imposition of a political settlement on it.
Our comment: It's unhelpful to see a discussion about justice get subverted by claims about "political reality". But if they're going to do that, let the Jordanians be open on the matter. Every rational person knows handing Tamimi over to American justice is a thorny political issue for them. They don't see her as a terrorist; she's one of their national icons. All the nonsense talk about Jordan never extraditing simply exposes some of Jordan's most important officials as dishonorable liars. If their view of political expediency is the reason they endanger their relations - and the indispensable aid they get from generous US taxpayers - with the US, then let that be the basis of the discussion. The issues would be a lot clearer to everyone. And so would the obvious solution. 
Any settlement imposed on Jordan by the US is actually closer to political suicide. It may end up destabilizing the Jordanian entity from the ground up because economic or political pressure - aimed at forcing it to accept the draft Deal of the Century, or silence Israel’s plans to annex the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements, and accept Jerusalem as the capital Israel - will necessarily eliminate all elements of the Jordanian role in any settlement.
Our comment: If it's political suicide for Jordan to arrest and extradite the confessed terrorist Ahlam Tamimi, isn't that a good reason for the US Congress and Administration to critically review the basis of American financial and military support of the Jordanian government? We think it does. Let Americans decide if they want to be the backstop for the Jordanian passion for terror and loathsome bigotry.
In addition, it will empty Hashemite jurisdiction over Islamic and Christian holy sites in the Holy City from any real content. Jordan today, in the face of unprecedented pressures threatening its existence, is working to resist the threats to its central role in the region.
Our comment: Unbelievably, it may be true that Jordan's "central role in the region" and its "jurisdiction" over holy sites in Jerusalem are threatened by the notion that its government is obliged to hand the terrorist over for trial. We're glad the statement is out there for non-Jordanians to think about. In fact, we hope someone does a better job of turning this piece of his into English and getting it some real exposure - not because it's a special article but quite the opposite - because there are so many like it in the Arabic-language media. This may also be a good moment to mention how the "moderate" Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is rated by the most authoritative experts in the field as deeply antisemitic. In a country in which the number of Jewish residents making their home is and always has been zero, its population was rated as 81% antisemitic. (Among Jordanians aged 50 and up, the number was 88%. Among all Jordanian males, it was 86%.) For comparison, the average across the Middle East and North African (“MENA”) region was a shocking 74 percent. (For comparison: Eastern Europe 34%; Western Europe 24%; Sub-Saharan Africa 23%; Asia 22%; The Americas 19%) Jordan's antisemitism rating - are any reporters paying attention? - makes it one the world's top ten most antisemitic countries. This counts for something.
Although the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has faced many serious challenges in the past, this time it faces a challenge by a great power that, in the eyes of many, was the umbrella that protected Jordan, preserved its role, and secured its stability in front of the various challenges it faced or those that passed through the region.
Our comment: This self-pitying Arabic op ed, bewailing ahead of time the fate of Jordan (which despite the dramatic assessment remains intact and undamaged so far at least) at the hands of its "umbrella", is morally pathetic - and also deeply revealing. Lacking even a single word of reflection on what it means for an entire society - from the royal palace of its majestic ruler to its lowliest field worker - to be in thrall to a woman who radiates pride and happiness at the thought of the children she murdered, this article is sadly consistent with every other op ed we have seen about the thwarted Tamimi extradition in the Arabic-language media. Jordan has no moral compass worth speaking of, and the same ought to be said for those who stand with it and against the extradition of Tamimi.
And finally (this is us again, Frimet and Arnold Roth):

We're saying these things because we want to see justice done, And because we know it will only be done when the American authorities raise their voices. There's no intent on our part to channel criticism at the Jordanians for any reason other than the appalling way they stand in solidarity with a mass murdering savage and against their most important ally.

There's no politics in the usual sense involved. And frankly, we think people who stand firmly on the side of the Arabs or the Muslims or the Jordanians or the Palestinians ought to see how demeaning it is to their cause and how damaging to their own value systems that they regard Ahlam Tamimi, the most wanted female terrorist in the world, as their hero.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

26-Jul-20: Speaking of justice, obstacles and Jordan (thanks, Avi Abelow)

In campaigning to move a recalcitrant kingdom and the superpower on whom it is utterly dependent, we have realized for years we need to be moving the needle on the public opinion display as well as generating media attention and the involvement of politicians.

So at this point in the effort, we need to be talking more to people. But as it happens, the airlines are down and, even if they weren't, traveling is fraught with risks and challenges.

Thank heavens for video conferencing.



Arnold Roth was an invited guest on Avi Abelow's Pulse of Israel program two weeks ago:
The Pulse of Israel is a project of the 12Tribe Films Foundation. It features high-quality short videos with VIP personalities that entertain, inspire, and educate about Israel. The heart of all of the shows is a solid dedication to the truth. This is not the place for political correctness. The Pulse of Israel aims to cut through the noise and influence public opinion by amplifying the truth vis-a-vis current events in the State of Israel and the world. We encourage you to share, comment, engage, and support the work we do.
Our appreciation to Mr Abelow and his team for the opportunity - and the courtesy and hospitality - to describe some of the issues that come with trying to see justice done in the wake of our child's murder. And despite the deplorable obstructionism of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

We're of course always interested in invitations to speak to organizations and communities. That's exactly what's needed as we move forward with this important pursuit of long-delayed justice.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

21-Jul-20: Hope via realpolitik and how did the line between good and evil get so blurred? [AUDIO]

Over at the The Land of Israel Network where they focus on "broadcasting the truth and beauty of the land of Israel and the Jewish people", Eve Harow has her own program, Rejuvenation.

Eve is an Israeli radio personality of some distinction as well as a public speaker and - when tourists are more plentiful than in today's challenged times - a much-in-demand licensed tour guide.

On July 20, 2020, Eve's "Rejuvenation" program hosted Arnold Roth under the title "Morality and Money". The money part relates to recent steps taken by the US legislature to 'encourage' a racalcitrant Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to finally, long after the US started requesting this, extradite the world's most wanted female fugitive, Ahlam Tamimi, to Washington.

Given the values exhibited by the Jordanians who, from the peak of their regimented and monarchical society to the most common of its people, embrace Tamimi as a hero, it's hard to know how the word "morality" got a mention.

These notes come from Eve's hosting page:
Arnold and Frimet Roth are at a critical juncture in their 19 year battle for justice. The terrorist who planned the murders of their daughter Malki and 14 others while wounding 130 at Jerusalem’s Sbarro’s pizza shop in August 2001, might now be extradited to the US from Jordan where she’s hailed as a hero. Arnold joins Eve to speak of hope via realpolitik, the disappointments and betrayals, pay for slay, the ongoing grief and the journey detailed here – thisongoingwar.blogspot.com How has the line between good and evil become so blurred? Can we help to redraw it?
Click below for the audio of the interview.


Thanks for the opportunity, Eve. 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

19-Jul-20: Extradite Tamimi: A call for your support

Source: New York Times
For followers of this blog who have already signed the petition we recently initiated ["22-Jun-20: We need your voice, we need your signature: Please sign our petition"], thank you!

More than 4,200 of you have already signed and in this way given support to our efforts to see long-delayed justice done.

This past week, we were gratified by an announcement that some of the leading US Jewish organizations answered our call and have declared their support for our campaign. The announcement, in the form of a media release, is online here.

Like us, those organizations are calling for the United States, which is by far Jordan's most significant ally, to press the Jordanians to change their stand. Jordan still harbors Ahlam Tamimi, pointedly ignoring all questions and demands about their unjustifiable stance.

The announcement received media coverage in the New York Times, Times of Israel, Breitbart and numerous other news platforms. It has gotten zero coverage to date in the Arab world. But we think that will soon change.

If you have signed, and are willing and able to get others to do the same, you might care to poinnt them to the video clip below: 


On a painful note, we know some of the people signing our petition were asked to "chip in". That's the term the people at change.org (the market-leading provider of petition services we chose to host ours) use to describe donations.

We want to explain that none of those donations come to us. We certainly did not request them. We have gotten no information about who donated. And of course none of the donation money has come to us - but to be absolutely clear: we do not need it and we do not want it. We assume it's how change.org makes its money. According to a venture capital source, change.org ("the world’s largest social change platform with over 150 million users in 196 countries") has raised some $72 million from high profile, extrenely-deep-pocketed backers. In 2016, when it made major changes to its business model (according to this report), the business laid off 100 workers representing 30% of their overall workforce.

So how do we know people are being solicited in this way. Several of them made contact with us to ask if the money reached us. That's the only way we know. 

But we have learned - too late - that change.org does this and attracts considerable criticism for it. See for instance "Change.org accused of profiting from donations intended for charities" (Civil Society News UK, June 2020) and "The Business Behind Change.org's Activist Petitions" (Forbes Magazine, November 2012) among numerous other articles we failed to notice before starting our petition on their platform. 

The change.org people have failed to answer any of our numerous emails until now. It's troubling. If you are solicited by change.org, please ignore their requests. And if you did chip in at the time you signed, please let us know so that we can take this up with the authorities.

If you have suggestions to share with us about the Extradite Tamimi campaign, please be in touch by email: thisongoingwar@gmail.com

Thursday, July 16, 2020

16-Jul-20: Arnold Roth and Elder of Ziyon discuss the pursuit of our child's killer

Some weeks ago (sorry for being slow about uploading this), the esteemed Elder of Ziyon interviewed Arnold Roth for EOZ TV.

The discussion covered the state of the extradition process by which Ahlam Tamimi, the Jordanian bomber who spearheaded the Sbarro pizzeria massacre in 2001, is the focus of efforts by the US Justice Department to have her brought to trial in Washington DC.



This is a good moment to remind readers that Arnold Roth is ready, willing, able and anxious to speak anywhere via Zoom. We're just dependent on invitations.

Our goal is to create awareness and deep concern about how a boastful murderer of children - including our daughter Malki - remains free as a bird in the capital city of a country that has a US embassy, US military training its forces, receives more US foreign aid than almost every other country in the world and is massively dependent on that aid continuing. Also massively dependent on that military engagement and on the close relations it enjoys with the United States.

The kid gloves treatment enjoyed by the Hashemite Kingdom is a story that needs to be told. And that's before we get into the deep immorality of its king risking a great deal in order to keep a loathsome Islamist bomber with dead Jewish children on her mind even today safe from US justice.

Friday, July 10, 2020

09-Jul-20: Jordanian laborer admitted to work in Israel sought to be a martyr; convicted today as a terrorist

Jordanian laborer Taher Halef, convicted today in Israel on murder and
terrorism charges arising from a 2018 attack [Image Source: Times of Israel]
In today's news -
A Jordanian man previously employed in Eilat was convicted Thursday on terrorism charges over a 2018 assault on two Israeli men in the Red Sea coastal city. The Beersheba District Court found Taher Halef guilty on two counts of attempted murder and for a “terrorist conspiracy.”
The conviction was handed down as part of a plea deal, as part of which Halef admitted to the crime and will be sentenced to 19 years in prison. According to the plea arrangement, Halef acknowledged that he used his entry permit to carry out a terror attack in Israel and die as a “martyr”... Halef began working in Israel days before the attack, after receiving a daily work permit from the Population and Immigration Authority. He succeeded in passing the screening process despite being flagged as a potential terrorist by the Jordanian manpower agency that first interviewed him. According to state prosecutors, Halef had been planning to attack Israelis for over a decade. They said he received help from cousins in Jordan on previous occasions when he sought to carry out attacks. [Times of Israel, July 9, 2020]
A year and a half ago, we posted here in our blog ["01-Dec-18: Suspected Eilat terror attack: Jordanian wielding hammer seriously injures two Israeli dock-workers"] that while Palestinian Arabs with Israeli work permits were generally barred from entering Eilat, the Israeli government started in June 2014 to issue permits for up to 1,500 Jordanian citizens to work in Eilat hotels. This Jordanian, as we noted then and as reported today too, came into the program with years of lusting for Jewish blood already behind him.

A Xinhua news agency report in December 2018 said the Jordanian was charged with attempted murder of two Israelis in addition to offenses under the Anti-Terror Law,

We noted back in December 2018 that there was no Jordan media coverage of the attack or the arrest or the terrorism backgroud of the suspect. We have checked just now. Almayadeen, naming him as Taher Khalaf, quotes Israeli reports tonight that the attacker was convicted. Other Arab reports give his name as Thaer Al-Louzi.

The Arab48 news site, based in Israel and addressing Arabic-speaking markets, offers some glimpses we haven't seen elsewhere.
  • The indictment says Khalaf identified as a Palestinian; that he was "raised in a national home and saw the importance of carrying out jihadist actions". He was "affected by the scenes he saw on TV during the Israeli aggression on Gaza at the end of 2008".
  • Planning to somehow get a gun and to mount a shooting attack at the Jordanian-Israeli border, Khalaf purchased 200 bullets from a market in Amman, Jordan's capital and hid them with his cousin who knew about the plan. 
  • In November 2018, the accused returned to Aqaba, Jordan, soon after starting to work in nearby Eilat. There he met with his cousins, telling them of his plan to execute an "operation against Jews" and asking that they videotap him making a statement to his family from a hotel room in Aqaba. We assume this was a form of suicide note.
  • The next morning, Khalaf entered Israel along with the other Jordanian laborers leaving Aqaba. arriving in Eilat some minutes later, he saw Israeli divers and "decided to kill them" using a hammer. 
  • Another Jordanian laborer tried to stop the attack. Khalaf continued - we assume that other Jordanian was one of those injured.
A Jordan news report refers to this photo as a view
of "Occupied Eilat" [Image Source]
This 2018 Jordanian Arab news article reports the Israeli program for creating jobs for Jordanian day laborers, referring caustically throughout the story to Eilat as being part of "the Occupation". It explains the reason for Jordanians taking work there this way:
It is worth noting that the workers in the occupied Eilat justify their work there due to the lack of job opportunities for them in their homeland, which compels them to work to improve the level of income, while they face severe criticism from the trade union resistance committees, because the matter is rejected by the people.
But bustling, modern, world-class holiday resort Eilat didn't exist before the State of Israel was established in 1948. It has certainly never been under the control of Jordan. Or of any Palestinian Arab authority, entity or rule.

While it's early in the news cycle, we can see no other mention in any of the Jordan news channels we monitor. We will keep tracking.