Monday, March 16, 2020

16-Mar-20: Israeli Arab mother is arrested; allegedly posed as welfare worker while serving Hamas

Protestors demanding the suspect's release [Image Source]
A news report published yesterday ["Shin Bet says it nabbed Arab Israeli Hamas agent who posed as aid worker", Jacob Magid in Times of Israel, March 15, 2020] raises the case of an Israeli Arab woman in her early thirties now facing serious criminal and terrorism charges.

A resident of the Israeli town of Ar’ara and a mother of two young children, the woman was arrested last month. Ar'ara is a town in the Wadi Ara region of northern Israel, south of Umm al-Fahm and just north-west of the Green Line. Israelis know the area, inhabited mainly by Arabs, as "the Triangle". In 2018, Ar'ara's population was about 25,000.

The suspect's name and other details had remained confidential until yesterday (Sunday) and are now public. Described in parts of the Arab media (here for instance) as a "Palestinian holding Israeli citizenship", she is charged with offences connected with "scamming aid organizations she worked for as well as civilians who donated money to the needy population in Gaza" [Ynet].

Reports name the woman as Aya Khatib, 31. Ynet says she was arrested two months ago in "a special operation" and that she admitted under interogation to taking part in "terrorist activity against Israeli targets".

As reported by Times of Israel, the charges against her are based on the allegation that she was recruited by a pair of Hamas terrorists active in Hamas’ so-called “military” wing, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigade and that she used her position as a humanitarian worker to divert money and supplies intended for the needy in Gaza. Donors were  evidently told the funds were going to patients claimed to be suffering from cancer.

She is charged as well with providing field intelligence to the terrorists of Hamas including details about the movements of IDF forces during what the Shin Bet, which carried out the investigation leading to her apprehension, called "one of the fighting rounds with the Gaza Strip”.

This is said to be Aya Khatib
The Jerusalem Post names them as Muhammed Pilpel, 29 from Beit Lahiya, and Mahmoud Halua, 32, from Jabaliya. Other news reports give their names as Mohammed Filfel and Mahmoud Halawa.

Through the two Hamas men, according to Israel's Shin Bet, she is said to have transferred hundreds of thousands of shekels to the Hamas terrorists
“while scamming aid organizations and innocent civilians who donated funds with the aim of reaching patients and the needy”
in the Gaza Strip.

The Jerusalem Post report says an indictment is expected to be filed against Khatib in the Acre Magistrate’s Court in the next few days.

Acccording to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat news site ("the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities"):
On Sunday, the Haifa District Court extended Khatib’s detention period until next Wednesday, on charges of cooperation and intelligence with al-Qassam brigades. The Israeli Public Prosecution submitted Monday the prosecutor's statement to the court. Khatib's lawyer said she denies the charges attributed to her.
Khatib has complained about the conditions of her arrest before the court, which ordered that this matter be examined, her lawyer noted. The court also allowed her two children to meet her.
Khatib has been active on her Facebook page to collect donations for patients, particularly children from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, who are receiving treatments in Israeli hospitals. She also collected donations for male and female university students whose economic conditions prevented them from paying their university fees.
It's a news item worth keeping in mind the next time demands are made - as they are regularly and often - for Israel to free Palestinian Arab female prisoners.

Friday, March 13, 2020

13-Mar-20: It's been three years

Exactly a year ago, here on this blog, we posted a rueful summary of events that had taken place since the unsealing of US Federal charges against our child's killer on March 14, 2017, two years earlier.

You can view that post at "14-Mar-19: Two years after Federal charges are unsealed, Ahlam Tamimi remains free. How is this happening?"

While it describes important speeches by US justice officials, along with some meaningful decisions (that were years in coming), the bottom line is the justice process was - and certainly still is - stuck.

In an affront to elementary notions of how justice should work, Ahlam Tamimi remains today, as she has since October 18, 2011, free in Jordan.

There, with the open and active support of the government and its legal system, she lives a dream life. She's unrestricted in her movements and able with ease to publish her terror-advocacy views widely. She and her many supporters are undisguisedly, even triumphantly, openly contemptuous of the efforts made by the United States and her victims to see her brought to American justice. She faces terrorism charges in Washington.

The grotesque savagery of which she openly boasts and to which she confesses has had not the smallest negative impact on her celebrity. Without doubt, Tamimi is a famous and widely-admired Jordanian today because of the innocents she brutally killed - and not in spite of those killings. That so many of her victims are children, our daughter among them, appears to have enhanced her fame and standing.

Three years have now passed.

Here are some of the events of this past year as reflected in our blog postings:
  • "21-Mar-19: The Secretary of State is in Jerusalem": We made efforts to draw Secretary Pompeo into a discussion about the lack of material progress in bringing Tamimi into a US Federal court to face charges. We were rebuffed.
  • "21-Mar-19: The Sbarro Massacre mastermind worries she isn't getting enough sympathy": A US official, Jason Greenblatt, who has never responded to any of our attempts to communicate with him, saw fit (we don't wonder any more about public officials and their values) to personally address Tamimi via Twitter. This provoked her to respond via a lengthy op ed in the Arabic media. We fisked her piece which we called a mixture of "outright lies, self-aggrandizing exaggerations and a small handful of intriguing revelations". Here's how we ended it: "The real take-away here is her toxic influence. This dedicated murderer, now living free as a bird, not in hiding, not on the run, in the capital of an Arab kingdom reckoned to be a US ally, has standing, celebrity and access to the media. What Tamimi says in her explosive region of the world has the potent and quickly-out-of-control flammable impact of a lit match in a field of tinder-dry brush. And even though much of what she has to say is plainly distorted, dishonest and provocative, we have not yet seen even a single instance where her appearance in the Arabic-language media includes criticism or even any serious analysis of the woman, her narrative or her views. We wish this would disturb other people as much as it disturbs us."
  • "25-Mar-19: On justice and decency for American victims of terrorism: When US indignation leads to a troubling comparison" This is about extradition. We delved into a little-reported but enraging story that involves a Turkish terrorist who had just been freed from his German prison cell and then, despite US efforts to take him into custody in Germany and then extradite him to Washington, was promptly flown to Turkey where he of course disappeared. The part that interested us more than  the preamble was the fury expressed by the State Department of the US at what Germany did. The parallels with what Jordan is doing are strong. The Anti Defamation League in New York took up the matter and wrote what we think is an inspirational letter to the State Department.
  • "02-Apr-19: Setting facts, ethics, context aside, Aljazeera salutes a couple of murderers" We wish people paid more attention to what Aljazeera is and does. Its chairman Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani served as a minister in Qatar's government in the eighties and nineties and he is a member of Qater's ruling family, the House of Thani. Aljazeera has some 80 bureaux and more than 100,000 employees distributed around the world. And when they decided to go market a mass murderer like Tamimi, there is major impact.
  • "30-May-19: Paris, Amman, Washington: Extradition and what it can reveal about governments and terror" The legal basis on which Jordan claims it is free to ignore the US request to extradite Tamimi is highly problematic. We don't believe those claims get much respect among lawyers or experts in extradition. France's experience with Jordan's legal system underscores this and makes for disturbing reading.
  • "11-Jul-19: Keeping Ahlam Tamimi safe: A Jordanian case for double jeopardy?" If you're looking for arguments that bolster the Jordanian case, they're not here. It's puzzling to us that Jordan's claims are taken apart by the news industry so rarely (meaning never). A Jordanian journalist called Kuttab exemplifies how ineffectually the thwarted extradition effort is handled by the media.
  • "21-Jul-19: Jordan, peace and how little has actually changed" Jordan gets lots of good press and, on the whole, is greatly admired by many of the good and open-minded Jews we know. But our involvement with the Tamimi extradition makes us feel they're ignoring a great deal of the evidence. In this lengthy post, we include this: "When they want to, Jordan's official representatives can be quite talkative. A shame that on the subject of extraditing Ahlam Tamimi, they have not uttered a single official word as a government, leaving it to the media and their highest court to say the relatively little that has been offered to explain their indefensible policy. As for their official spokesperson in the United States, Ambassador Dina Kawar of Jordan's Washington embassy blocks us on Twitter. That of course doesn't change very much and certainly doesn't mean we will stop our efforts to be heard. But along with plenty of other evidence of Jordan being today very far from its moderate image, it contributes to the sense that they haven't really come a great distance since the days of [Jordanians] blowing up ancient synagogues on a massive scale and maliciously denying Jewish history."
  • "02-Aug-19: Arnold Roth speaks about what the media don't report - about what has and what has not been done to bring Ahlam Tamimi to justice (YouTube)": "Ahead of the August 9th commemoration of 18 years since the horrific Sbarro Pizzeria terrorist massacre in Jerusalem in which 15 people were murdered, eight of whom were children, this is an interview with the father of one of those children, Malki Roth, age 15." (We're grateful for the fine work done by The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), a Washington DC-based think tank and policy center headed by Sarah N. Stern who conducts this interview. 
  • "11-Aug-19: What money can do: The Sbarro terrorists and the children of Ramot": Not much politics in this, but some serious thoughts on how money and the way it's used tells us a lot about where people stand on terrorism.
  • "12-Aug-19: The pain of a child's murder: A burden of grief and injustice": Frimet Roth writes on the anniversary of the Sbarro massacre about how the pain of a child's murder is so inconceivable in our society that it is down-played. Swept under the carpet.
  • "25-Aug-19: A rising sense of something awful started settling in": An excerpt from an interview of Arnold Roth conducted by Varda Meyers Epstein and published by the ElderofZiyon blog.
  • "05-Sep-19: On thwarted justice and bearded women": A serious but rare article about our extradition efforts appeared in Israel's Haaretz newspaper, the paper edition. With a bizarre twist.
  • "18-Sep-19: With Jordan's King Abdullah II visiting the United States again, things worth knowing": The first thing is to know just how often, and with how much respect, the absolute ruler of Jordan is received by his Washington hosts. 
  • "29-Sep-19: As we prepare for the High Holy Day season": King Abdullah had breakast with a serious group of Jewish American leaders in New York. We have lots of questions. Most Americans don't because although this event, which has happened several times, got wide coverage in the Arabic media, it got almost none in the US. There are reasons for every aspect of what happened. But discovering what they are is a challenge.
  • "03-Oct-19: What lies behind a decade of "progress" at an influential Jordanian graduate school": Knowing what has gone on at the Jordan Media Institute has been instructive to us but then we're troubled by so many aspects of how Tamimi stays free and Jordan remains in large measure uncriticized and unchallenged. Reporters and editors in the West seem both oblivious and uninterested. Read this if only to know where CNN's Richard Quest fits in.
  • "08-Oct-19: Again: Jordan's inscrutable US relationship": Why do delegations of US politicians turn up every so often to make official visits to Jordan's king in his deluxe palace? This time it's principally about US Representative Jason Crow whose staff ignored us totally.
  • "19-Oct-19: House Speaker Pelosi led an official visit today to the chief protector of our child's killer": Again: Why do delegations of US politicians turn up every so often to make official visits to Jordan's king in his deluxe palace? This time it's principally about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; whose staff ignored us totally. Along with Ranking Member Mac Thornberry, House Armed Services Committee; Chairman Eliot Engel, House Foreign Affairs Committee; Chairman Bennie Thompson, Homeland Security Committee; Chairman Adam Schiff, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Congressman Ron Kind, House Ways and Means Committee; Congresswoman Susan Davis, House Armed Services Committee; Congressman Stephen Lynch, Chairman, House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security; Congresswoman Elaine Luria, House Armed Services Committee. They all ignored all our questions.
  • "03-Nov-19: In Washington, a step towards bringing the Sbarro bomber to justice": This is important. It starts with this opening: "We report here on an unexpected, modestly encouraging development in our efforts to bring to justice the fugitive Hamas savage who bombed a Jerusalem pizzeria because of the children inside it. Jewish children, as it happens. Exactly whom the bomber was targeting."
  • "12-Nov-19: On Jordan, the US and the children killed in a pizzeria": Worth reading if you want a taste of the diabolical evil being shielded via the thwarted Tamimi extradition. But here for the first time, we write about the US explicitly rejecting Jordan's view of the extradition treaty. It's a major step forward.
  • "13-Nov-19: Thank you, Mr Foreign Minister": An important article, if we say it ourselves. Almost totally ignored by the world's media (but not by the Arab world), Jordan now says openly and proudly (after dodging the issue for years) that it has no intention of respecting what the US calls a valid treaty. It will take the side of the Sbarro bomber, and it doesn't care who knows. Or objects.
  • "16-Dec-19: Like talking to the wall": Once more: Why do delegations of US politicians turn up every so often to make official visits to Jordan's king in his deluxe palace? This time it's principally about Chairman of the House Armed Forces Committtee, Representative Adam Smith. And yes, his staff - after appearing to be ready to dialogue - ignored us too.
  • "17-Nov-19: Jordan's king to be honored for profound commitment to peace and moderation" We remained as flabbergasted today as when this happened.
  • "15-Dec-19: The Sbarro bomber trashes the ruler who protects her from the FBI" No part of the Western media reported this public insulting of Jordan's king by the Sbarro bomber. Why is that? 
  • "31-Jan-20: Fox News break ranks with the mainstream media on Tamimi and Jordan" Starts with this: "For us, it's something of a milestone. On Wednesday, over on the heavily-trafficked Fox News website , there's an informative long-form piece that in large measure deals with our efforts to see Ahlam Tamimi, the Jordanian Islamist who masterminded the massacre at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria in 2001, finally brought before US justice. Written by Hollie McKay, the article is..." Please read.
Tamimi's freedom, celebrity and high public profile in the Arab world serve as a public and extraordinarily brazen encouragement to more acts of terrorism. The indefensible role of Jordan's leadership in clear violation of the country's treaty obligations to the United States magnifies the impact.

We know that there are people who, out of a sense of moral outrage and anger at the political manouveurings, want to help change this. To stay in touch with our efforts, please send your name and contact details (never to be shared with anyone else, and not used for any other purposes than keeping you informed of the Tamimi pursuit) to us via thisongoingwar@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @ThisOngoingWar

Our efforts to see Tamimi brought to US justice go on.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

11-Mar-20: A thwarted stabbing in Jerusalem's Old City

The thwarted stabber is removed from the scene of the attack
[Image Source: Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90
Barely mentioned elsewhere, an Israel National News report [here] says a Palestinian Arab resident of Jerusalem was thwarted yesterday (Tuesday around 1:40 in the afternoon) from carrying out a stabbing attack.

His target was the Border Guard officers stationed outside the Shalem police station near the bustling Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem's Old City and its Muslim Quarter.

The would-be knifer is said to have walked up to the police station's entrance and pulled out a concealed knife. The Israelis perceived this to be an unfriendly act and promptly - and efficiently to judge from the results - overpowered the attacker, promptly separating him from his weapon.

He's alive and well, neutralized (as the commonly-used security terminology describes it) but definitely not dead. And undergoing interrogation.

Damascus Gate, which has been the site of many violent Arab-on-Israel attacks in the past several years [click here to see our posts about some of them], was briefly closed. No injuries are reported.

11-Mar-20: From the closet: An exchange of views

Closet
Though today is Purim in Jerusalem (Shushan Purim, to be more precise) and there's plenty of merriment in the air, out on the street, throughout our neighborhood and here in the house, our minds tend to be on other things as well. Some of those aren't funny.

Someone we know only via Twitter and who has asked us to treat the exchange as anonymous sent us this message yesterday:
I want to inform you straight up, that despite I'm a hard-leftist I'm very supportive of the Israeli people. I'm also sympathetic of arab Palestinians who have go live their average lives forced to tolerate and put up with their daily, almost ritual antisemitism of their leadership from their leadership at the PA. Unfortunately, I cant be openly pro-Israeli as a leftist because I'll be attacked by the left.
I personally appreciate your work in exposing and covering the Arab-Israeli conflict and seeking justice for your daughter.
If you choose post this please react my name and profile picture. Just sending a message that there are leftists that do support israel and some of them are zionists, they're just in the closet.
We wrote back
Thank you. We don't see ourselves left or right. We're just against children being targeted for murder in the name of other's people's disputes, and we're very much in favour of justice. I guess we're not very different from you. We probably will post your words and will be very careful not to point back to you. Please stay in touch.
Our anonymous correspondent replied
I will keep in touch. Thanks.
Since we probably won't be posting again this Purim, here's a link to an article written and first published fifteen years ago by Arnold Roth that's relevant, we think, in both senses of the word "today": "26-Feb-18: Fifteen: A Purim meditation".

May we all be blessed with joy and opportunities to celebrate, not only today on Purim but throughout the year and often. And may the cursed virus that's turning so many lives upside down be defeated as comprehensively as Haman was.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

22-Feb-20: In Jerusalem, two thwarted Arab-on-Israeli stabbings

Screen capture [Source]
Earlier today (Sabbath morning) around 11, a knife-wielding Arab male ran towards Israel Border Police officers on duty near the Lions Gate of Jerusalem's Old City.

Israel National News says the officers
called to the terrorist, asking him to stop, but he turned towards them instead. The officers fired at the terrorist, neutralizing him. He later died of his wounds.
A passer-by, a woman of 42, suffered a leg injury which, according to i24News, resulted from the shooting, and was taken to Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment. Haaretz says she was inadvertently hurt when the attacker was shot "probably by a ricochet of the bullet fired at the him".

Times of Israel quotes Israel's Channel 13 TV news naming the attacker as Maher Ibrahim Za’atara, 33. of East Jerusalem’s Jabel Mukaber neighborhood.

Security camera video footage [here and in Yisrael Medad's tweet below incorporating material for Israel Police] shows him clearly waving his knife as he rushes towards the scene of the attack. Not so surprisingly, his family, according to the Haaretz report, "say they don't accept the Israeli police's account of the events".
Aljazeera's report on the thwarted stabbing ["Israeli forces kill Palestinian in Jerusalem after alleged attack"] quotes the official Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa saying "the man was shot several times and left on the ground bleeding near the Lions' Gate (also known as Bab al-Asbat) before Israeli paramedics arrived at the scene". Presumably the Israelis were supposed to do something else.

Image Source
A Palestinian Arab news source [here] has the thwarted attacker's picture and describes him as the father of three children. It also reports that "Israeli forces raided [the attacker's] home and detained his father and two of his brothers, Palestinian news agency WAFA reports."

Based on past experience, the orphans and widow of the attacker's family can now expect to have a well-funded life at the expense of the PA's program of financial incentives for terrorists and their heirs. The foreign taxpayers (mostly European) who keep providing misguided foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority are financing this, whether they want to or not.

Another terror attack was thwarted in Jerusalem yesterday (Friday).

By way of background, the promenade in Armon Hanatziv, a southern suburb of Jerusalem, offers one of the most impressive views of the city as a whole and in particular the Old City and the Temple Mount. That it attracts large numbers of visitors, both locals and tourists, every day is part of what also makes it a favored site for terror attacks by knife-wielding or vehicle-ramming assailants, intent on their moment of fame - and victims. In January 2017, an Arab resident of East Jerusalem aimed his truck at a group of IDF soldiers in the car park area of the promenade ["08-Jan-17: Where the World Council of Churches stands as Israelis are rammed to death"] and killed four of them.

Times of Israel says a woman attempted to stab passers-by at the popular promenade on Friday morning. Said to be a Palestinian Arab from East Jerusalem, she made several stabbing attempts with her knife while screaming Allahu Akbar (according to Ynet) before being wrestled to the ground by civilians. Police then took her into custody. One man was mildly injured by the assailant.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

06-Feb-20: A day of rising apprehension

The scene of the vehicle-ramming at First Station, Jerusalem,
Credit: United Hatzalah [Image Source]
Wednesday February 5, 2019
  • The terrorists of Hamas issued a call to Palestinian Arabs "for escalating confrontations with the occupation and its settlers and fighting their assaults against the land and holy sites, especially the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque" [Times of Israel].
  • Palestinian Media Watch publicized a brief video on TikTok – a social network popular among children - that encourages murdering Israelis by means of graphic animated recreations of actual terror attacks: four specific Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks that involved drive-by shootings, rammings and knifings. The appalling animation clip is here.
Thursday February 6, 2019
  • In a pre-dawn, Thursday morning vehicle ramming attack on Jerusalem's David Remez Street, adjacent to the popular First Station restaurant and entertainment compound, a terrorist slammed his car into a group of IDF Golani soldiers brought to Jerusalem for their swearing-in ceremony. (They were walking around just prior to their early-morning ceremony at the Kotel, the Western Wall in the nearby Old City.) Twelve are injured, one of them now in serious condition. Times of Israel says he is in serious but stable condition, unconscious and connected to a respirator in the intensive care unit. A search is underway for the attacker. The vehicle used in the 2 o'clock attack had Israeli license plates and was later found abandoned in the Palestinian Arab village of Beit Jala, adjacent to Bethlehem, a few minutes drive from the site of the ramming. "Clashes broke out in the village and the surrounding area as Israeli troops searched for the driver, who had fled the scene after hitting the soldiers. Palestinian media reported that Israeli troops seized security cameras around Bethlehem, apparently as part of the search effort" [Times of Israel].
  • Thursday noon: An Arab-on-Israeli shooting attack at the Lions' Gate in Jerusalem's Old City resulted in an Israeli being wounded. According to Ynet, he is a 38-year-old Border Guard policeman. The shooter was shot dead by other police in the vicinity. 
  • Thursday mid-afternoon, an Israeli man was wounded by gunfire in an evident drive-by shooting on a road near Dolev, an Israeli community in the Binyamin region. The shooter is still on the loose. Hamodia says the victim, an IDF soldier in his 20s, is lightly wounded and getting treatment at Sheba Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv. Hamodia says the shooting happened at the Post Intersection, named for the post office located nearby during the time of the British Mandate. It's today a busy intersection, near the Palestinian Arab villages of Ras Karkar and Kharbatha Bani Harith, and the Israeli communities of Neria and Na’aleh. Ras Karkar is now under IDF closure as forces search for the terrorists.
  • Thursday 5:00 pmThe IDF is positioning an extra battalion in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) to respond to the upsurge in Arab-on-Israel violence. Times of Israel says IDF battalions normally include several hundred soldiers.
The post-attack scene this afternoon in the Old City [Image Source]
Few doubt the Trump conflict-resolution proposals announced on January 28 are what has brought the Fatah and Hamas leadership of the Palestinian Arabs to encourage fresh and escalating violence. Times of Israel says
"In the week and a half since the plan’s release, the military has noted a significant increase in violence in the West Bank, with regular riots, rock-throwing and violent opposition to Israeli arrest raids...
We've been down this route enough times already to know that the Arab side act as if the threat to them of peace is more dangerous than war and fighting. The Palestinian Authority (PA) regime rejected the US proposals before they were even announced. Speaking a day before the plan was released, and before he had any way to know what it contained, PA prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said: "We reject it and we demand the international community not be a partner to it".

Writing in Fathom Journal this month, Alex Ryvchin of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry writes that

be sure, it is the Palestinians who have the most to gain from securing a deal. The Jewish people have their national home – a stable, successful, innovative, liberal-democratic state that despite facing incomparable threats and challenges, and despite having virtually no natural resources compared to its neighbours, has matured into an economic and military power in just 71 years. But the Palestinians remain stateless and stricken by all the consequences of such a condition... calling the plan a ‘hoax’ and a ‘fraud’ and summoning their people to a new ‘day of rage’...PA Prime Minister Shtayyeh delivered a strikingly candid explanation, perhaps unwittingly, for why the Palestinians, who claim to seek independence above all else, are rejecting a proposal to give them just that. ‘It is nothing but a plan to finish off the Palestinian cause,’ he said. Herein lies the answer to the vexing question of why a people that claims they want nothing more than a home of their own and an end to the conflict, have rejected five comprehensive offers of statehood and have now taken to rejecting new offers before they are even presentedThe conflict is not a territorial dispute to be settled by delineating borders and agreeing land swaps. It is a clash between the Jewish national movement which desperately craved a scrap of land to call their own so that they and their contributions to humanity should not vanish from this Earth, and the ‘Palestinian cause,’ which seeks no precise outcome beyond thwarting its rival, and holding out, digging in, struggling on, resisting. 
Few of the Israelis we know think these irreconcilable outlooks are going to be somehow resolved in the foreseeable future.

UPDATE 6:30 pm Thursday February 6, 2019: The alleged vehicle rammer was arrested this afternoon at Gush Etzion Junction, south of Jerusalem. He's said [Times of Israel] to be a male, 28, a resident of East Jerusalem's A-Tur neighbourhood and with no previous terror convictions.

UPDATE 9:00 pm Thursday February 6, 2019: The First Station ramming suspect is now identified as Sanad al-Tourman, who according to Israel's Channel 13 TV news operates a flower shop in a Jerusalem shopping mall. No further details for now.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

05-Feb-20: What do Palestinian Arabs think?

Abbas in better times [Image Source]
The opinions of Palestinian Arabs are, to a great extent, a puzzle.

By that, we don't mean what their elites say they think. Or what outside reporters guess are their opinions. It's not a free or open society. It doesn't have unrestricted media - quite the opposite. And it hasn't had elections for well over a decade.

So, as we keep saying in this blog, what Palestinian Arabs tell trusted fellow Palestinian Arabs who are professional opinion pollsters about the things they actually believe is a subject always worth revisiting. (The last time we did that was here: "04-Jun-19: What do Palestinian Arabs think?")

Our previous poll-centered posts have centered on the published data of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) headed by Dr. Khalil Shikaki. Click here to go to those previous posts - we started analyzing and reporting on  them in 2011. 

We're doing that again now based on PSR's most recent Public Opinion Poll, number 74, which was published [here] on December 26, 2019. 

The polling was done both in the Fatah/PLO-controlled West Bank and in the Hamas-occupied Gaza Strip in the period December 11 to 14. Total size of sample: 1,200 adults interviewed face to face in 120 randomly selected locations. Margin of error +/-3%.

‣ President Abbas?

Mahmoud Abbas became president of the Palestinian Authority in the January 2005 elections. That was a four-year term that has famously just 'celebrated' its fifteenth birthday. Hard to avoid the conclusion that elections are not so popular among the mostly-elderly, mostly-wealthy Palestinian Arab insiders who control the operation.

Abbas' power is broad. Beyond the PA role, he holds these additional titles in parallel:
The data show that the people he rules don't seem to like him much. 

As of this past December, 61% of the Palestinian Arab public wanted Abbas to resign, exactly the same percentage as three months earlier. This is split between the 52% of West Bank Arabs who hold that view (higher than the percentage 90 days earlier) and the no-less-than-73% of Gazans who want to see Abbas leave office immediately.

‣ A Two-State Solution?

How much support is there among Palestinian Arabs for the concept of a two-state solution? Just 42%. Now ponder this: Fully two-thirds of all Palestinian Arabs say it's the US "declaration of the legality of Israeli settlements according to international law" that blocks the two-state solution.

It evidently doesn't occur to them that their own pretty strong opposition is, let's say, part of the problem. Not for the first time, we get the sense that in Palestinian Arab society, the population don't see themselves as causing things to happen. Rather, they're a people to whom things are done by others.

‣ War or peace?

What's their "most preferred way out of the current status quo":
  • "Armed struggle": 39% (which is slightly up on the number of three months earlier)
  • "Reaching a peace agreement with Israel": 29%
  • "Waging a non-violent resistance" (what they mean by this is unspecified): 14%
  • "Keep the status quo": 15%. 
Identify "the most effective means of ending the Israeli occupation":
  • "Armed struggle": 47% (three points higher than three months ago)
  • "Popular resistance": 20%
  • "Negotiations": 26%
In view of how "the peace negotiations are suspended", which alternative directions (more than one is acceptable) do they support?: 
  • "Popular non-violent resistance": 60%
  • "A return to an armed intifada": 52%
  • "Dissolving the PA": 42%
  • "Abandoning the two-state solution and demanding the establishment of one state for Palestinians and Israelis": 28%
‣ Their society's most vital goals?
  • Option 1: "To end Israeli occupation in the areas occupied in 1967 and build a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital": 44%
  • Option 2: "To obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948 towns and villages": 33%
  • Option 3: "To build a pious or moral individual and a religious society, one that applies all Islamic teachings": 13%
  • Option 4: "To establish a democratic political system that respects freedoms and rights of Palestinians": 9%
‣ The most serious problem confronting Palestinian society today?
  • "The continuation of occupation and settlement activities": 28%
  • Poverty and unemployment: 26%
  • "The spread of corruption in public institutions": 26%
  • "The siege of the Gaza Strip": 17%
A final note. In polling to see how they view the future of Palestinian Arab society, the words "child" and "children" don't appear in either the questions or the responses. That's sad.

[This post, like a number of others before it, has been translated to Polish ("Co myślą palestyńscy Arabowie?") by courtesy of Malgorzata Koraszewska over on the Listy z naszego sadu website. Our sincere thanks to her, and great appreciation to readers of this blog in Poland.]

Friday, January 31, 2020

31-Jan-20: Fox News break ranks with the mainstream media on Tamimi and Jordan

For us, it's something of a milestone.

On Wednesday, over on the heavily-trafficked Fox News website , there's an informative long-form piece that in large measure deals with our efforts to see Ahlam Tamimi, the Jordanian Islamist who masterminded the massacre at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria in 2001, finally brought before US justice.

Written by Hollie McKay, the article is entitled "Most wanted female terrorist lives in freedom in Jordan despite extradition request for bombing that killed Americans".

Tamimi faces serious Federal charges in the United States for the central role she had in the mass-casualty attack. The FBI and the US Department of Justice have made serious efforts to take her into custody and reached what we think is the limit of their capabilities, absent the involvement of the political echelon of both the United States (by far the more important side) and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The mainstream media pay almost no attention to Tamimi, to Jordan's egregious (and frankly disgraceful) refusal to comply with its own 1995 treaty with the US, to our efforts, to the effect the Jordan/Tamimi scandal is having on the unchecked spread of Islamist and extremist pro-Palestinian Arab violence, and to how US politicians (with some important exceptions) treat the affair as untouchable and us as lepers.

Our thanks to Fox News and to Hollie McKay, whom we've never met, for focusing on what we are sure is an important story that exemplifies how justice in the plainest sense can be denied for shabby and unspoken political motives.

We're hoping other parts of the media will now step up and give it some more attention. And that the pressure for Jordan to extradite this unrepentant savage so that US justice can at last be delivered to her in accordance with the law.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

18-Jan-20: Red lines, defilement and more Arab-on-Israeli knifings

The Kiryat Arab victim in today's Israel National News report
If you rely on news reports alone, the ebb and flow of Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks can seem to happen without any obvious pattern or underlying motivation.

But sometimes, you wait a little and you learn that there are forces at work that wanted these to happen.

We're mostly in the dark about what's driving events here in the Jerusalem area today. But as always, there are clues. And yes, a Palestinian Arab child is involved. Again.

From Times of Israel, we know a man of 22 suffered moderate injuries this afternoon (Saturday - Shabbat) when he was stabbed in the shoulder by "a Palestinian youth" (a term that can have multiple meanings) in Kiryat Arba. The knifer was arrested while trying to escape the scene of the attack according to the IDF is in their hands for questioning. Haaretz says the stabber is an as-yet-unnamed seventeen year old. Keep that in mind the next time you see, and you surely will see, hostile news coverage complaining of how Israel takes so many children into custody.

The knifing victim is in Jerusalem's Shaarei Zedek Medical Center where they say he is in stable condition. Israel National News this evening says the Israeli is Moshe Greenblatt, who says from his hospital bed that "Thank G-d, I feel good... The knife broke and he didn't manage to stab any of the people around me."

Earlier today (Saturday - the Jewish Sabbath), a Palestinian Arab female said to be "in her fifties" was taken into custody by Border Police officers after threatening them with a knife at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. The Times of Israel report says she was subdued by officers and a civilian who happened to be at the scene and is also undergoing questioning.

Friday morning, right after the completion of their morning prayer service which were attended by an estimated 8,000 people, hundreds of Muslim Arab worshipers chanted about killing Jews outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Police dispersed the crowd. Times of Israel says no one was injured in the clashes with police.

TV footage from the march shows members of the unruly crowd shouting in Arabic “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning.”


Video clip from 124news.tv

It's a recurring theme - the chant recalls how in the seventh century Muslims massacred and expelled Jews from the town of Khaybar, located in today's Saudi Arabia. Their chants also included “With spirit and blood, we will salvage Al-Aqsa” and “Jews, the army of Al-Aqsa is returning.”

Hamas, on Friday, declared itself happy with the unrest. Times of Israel quotes one of its spokespeople saying the morning prayers “support our people in their campaign against the Zionist occupation and thwart its racist plans.”

This past Wednesday, Hamas publicly called for Palestinian Arabs to “mobilize” during Friday’s prayers against the “defilement” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs by “the Zionist occupation.” The terrorists sought to persuade Israeli authorities that “our sanctities are a red line that cannot be tolerated.”

Monday, December 16, 2019

16-Dec-19: Like talking to the wall

Congressman Adam Smith in  Amman (Source: Jordan Times)
About six weeks ago, we noticed a Jordanian news report about an official visit to the sumptuous palace of Jordan's ruler by a senior US Congressman, Representative Adam Smith.

A Democrat, Smith represents Washington state's 9th Congressional district. Before that he served in the Washington State Senate. He has been a member of the House Armed Services Committee since 1997 and is its current chairman.

The details of his formal visit to the royal palace appeared on the website of Jordan's embassy in Washington DC. They also appeared on the website of Jordan's Royal Hashemite Court and a little later in the government-controlled Jordan Times. If it goot US media coverage, we haven't seen it.

We noted and commented on the visit here.

Smith's was one of three Congressional Delegation visits to the royal place in Amman that we know of between the first week of October and the first week of November. There may have been others that we didn't spot. We're new to the business of tracking the activities of US Congress people when they're outside the US. The US media seem to pay them little to no attention.

So why is this an issue for us?

Arabic and English reward posters issued in 2018 by the US State Department
If you know much about this blog, you will probably be aware of how Jordan refuses to extradite the Islamist savage who bombed the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. And that this flies in the face of years of Jordan complying with the bilateral extradition treaty with the US that has been in effect since 1995 during the Clinton/Hussein era.

Our 15 year old daughter Malki was one of the many children inside that pizzeria who were blown to pieces.

Ahlam Tamimi, whom we consider a monster, has taken credit for years - on television, in the print media, on multiple social media platforms - for selecting the site (the large number of Jewish children inside at that hour was the key factor) and for personally bringing the bomb (a human, enrwapped in  explosives and ugly little nails) to the door of the pizzeria just before fleeing to save herself.

She calls it "my operation" and has never denied the charges. She has publicly and repeatedly confessed.

Our disappointment at the repeated failure to act of a long and bipartisan string of US politicians and officials to whom we have turned is exacerbated by our fury at the brazenness of the Jordanians whose bad faith in this matter is, as we see it, beyond all doubt.

It's highly unlikely that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will ever voluntarily extradite this woman. If the mainstream media paid attention - but they do not - more people would understand how much of a national hero she is for Jordanians. On the other hand, no one seriously doubts, given the history and the realpolitik, that the US can ensure Jordan hands her over to face trial in Washington. But it does not.

Meanwhile we're pained by how US/Jordan relations roll right along with most of the players choosing to ignore the grotesque elephant in the room. That Jordan's king is a frequent honored visitor in the US Congress and the White House, and that his palace in Amman is a remarkably popular destination for a stream of elected US officials are matters that embitter us.

On Friday November 8, 2019, Arnold Roth emailed this letter to Representative Adam Smith's staff:
Caitlyn Cole
Office Manager
District Office of Rep Adam Smith
101 Evergreen Building
15 S. Grady Way
Renton, WA 98057

Dear Ms Cole,
I am writing on a matter of justice in the personal and literal sense. 
In 2017, the Department of Justice unveiled terrorism charges against a Jordanian woman, Ahlam Tamimi. She is the confessed murderer of my daughter Malki. My child was 15 and a US citizen when her life ended in a Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria.
Jordan immediately rebuffed the US request to extradite her even though there has been a valid and active extradition treaty between the two countries since it was signed during the Clinton Administration's days. 
Jordan's highest court ruled, just days after the US charges were announced against Tamimi, that the treaty is invalid and unconstitutional. Not only that, but it has always been invalid and unconstitutional siince the day it was signed. 
An announcement made less than a week ago by the State Department [described at https://thisongoingwar.blogspot.com/2019/11/03-nov-19-in-washington-step-towards.html] makes plain that the US rejects Jordan's interpretation. 
In the meantime, Tamimi lives free in Jordan's capital, not in hiding, a celebrity whose constant acts of incitement to further Islamist terror atrocities are amplified by her frequent and essentially unfettered access to Jordan's media.
Mr Smith's visit to Jordan, reported today in the Jordanian media (see http://jordantimes.com/news/local/king-receives-us-house-representatives-delegation), comes on the heels of one by Speaker Pelosi in October and one by Rep Jason Crow a few weeks before that.
It prompts me to ask these questions:
  • Was Mr Smith briefed by the State Department or the US embassy in Amman prior to meeting the king and Jordan's foreign minister?
  • Did the briefing/s touch on US efforts to extradite Tamimi to Washington DC?
  • Did Mr Smith urge his hosts to ensure compliance by Jordan with its treaty obligations to the US?
  • Is Mr Smith willing to speak with me about this after he returns?
My questions are for the record, and I do plan to publicize them and whatever response your office shares with me.
Sincerely,
Arnold Roth
Separately but at about the same time, we reached out to a contact in the US State Department to find out about briefings given to Congress persons who come calling on Jordan's king in his palace. In effect, what we asked was whether Representative Smith was told ahead of sitting down with the king about Jordan's breach of its extradition treaty obligations with the US. And did he know of the years of US efforts to extradite Ahlam Tamimi to Washington.

The answer we got was cloudy and unhelpful. (We will publish it at the appropriate time. It was not confidential.)

Just after sending the letter, Arnold posted this tweet:
A mildly encouraging reply arrived by email later that day from Representative Smith's staff:
Fri, Nov 8, 8:35 PM
Hi Arnold,

Thank you for reaching out! I’m looping in Monica Matoush and Caleb Randall-Bodman from the HASC communications team who can help answer your questions. I’m also adding Chairman Smith’s Communications Director Justin Weiss for his awareness.

If there’s anything else I can assist with, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Warmly,
Caitlyn Cole
District Scheduler/Office Manager
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09)
And then another from Caleb Randall-Bodman from the same Smith team:
Nov 8, 2019, 9:12 PM
to Frimet, Arnold, Monica, Caitlyn, Justin
Thanks Caitlyn,
Arnold - thanks for your questions. The Chairman is actually still in transit back from the trip. We’ll make a point to touch base with him about your questions when he is back home, and we will be in touch in the coming days. 
Thanks,
Caleb 
We waited four days for a proper response. Then Arnold emailed this:
November 12, 2019
Dear Mr Randall-Bodman,
I appreciate your acknowledging my email to Rep Smith. 
As you may realize, my wife and I are campaigning to see delayed justice done in the case of our murdered daughter. The questions in my letter are framed as yes/no to encourage a timely response. 
We would appreciate knowing if an answer is on the way.
Sincerely
Arnold Roth
Silence.

Arnold waited two more days and then sent this:
Nov 14, 2019, 11:16 AM
to Caleb, Frimet, Monica, Caitlyn, Justin
Ladies and gentlemen,
If there is a reasonable justification for us to keep waiting for an answer to our straightforward questions, please let us know what it is. 
But if we don't hear it from you today, we plan to press forward on the assumption that we are once again being ignored.
The only reason we are dealing with Members of Congress is because our child's murderer, an FBI Most Wanted fugitive terrorist, is living a dream life instead of being extradited to Washington.
We can deal with excuses and political differences. Being ignored is unacceptable.
Arnold Roth
Later the same day, this arrived from Monica Matoush on behalf of Representative Smith:
Nov 14, 2019, 5:03 PM
to Caleb, Caitlyn, Justin, Connor, Arnold, Frimet
Good Morning Mr. Roth,

I apologize for the delay.  Chairman Smith returned to DC just yesterday and was immersed in meetings, hampering my ability to engage with him on this sensitive subject.

In speaking with staff who accompanied him on the trip they were not in room, so they are unable to advise if the subject of Ms. Tamimi’s extradition was part of the discussion.

We will make a point today to discuss with Chairman Smith whether he had any prior knowledge to the specifics you’ve mentioned below, what information, if any, our State Dept provided him and what will be his follow on actions, now that he is tracking the issue.

I will get back to you as I have something more.

Best,
Monica Matoush
HASC Comm Director
Arnold waited four days. Then emailed this:
Nov 14, 2019, 5:50 PM
to Monica, Caleb, Frimet, Caitlyn, Justin, Connor
Thank you. Please refer to my four questions. Just four. 
Then five days later, this:
Nov 19, 2019, 12:30 AM
to Monica, Caleb, Frimet, Caitlyn, Justin, Connor 
Eleven days after my first message to his office, it seems safe to assume at this point that no response is going to come from Rep Smith. 
Arnold Roth
Then after nearly three more weeks of no response, Arnold emailed this
Dec 9, 2019, 8:54 AM
to Monica, Caleb, Frimet, Caitlyn, Justin, Connor
Ladies and gentlemen,
A polite reminder to you that, as the parents of a US citizen who was a beautiful and caring 15 year old when she was killed in the bigotry-driven bombing of a pizzeria filled with children, we have tried to extract responses from a string of US political figures who have paid official visits to Jordan's king during the past six weeks. 
There are surprisingly many such Congressional representatives. What's harder for us to understand is that not a single one of them has responded when we have reached out to their offices to ask if they know about King Abdullah II's brazen disregard for his kingdom's treaty obligations to the United States. 
One of those, as you know, is the office and staff of Chairman Smith.
Our only leverage is the little we can achieve as ordinary parents, unaided by political alignment (of which we have none), reaching out to the media. But this does not mean we are powerless. If you take a look at our blog, you will see that we have managed to get the system to issue Federal charges and a $5M State Department reward offer and to have her added to the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list. 
We will keep doing all we can until we see Ahlam Tamimi extradited from Jordan to a Washington court-room, nothwithstanding the totally bilateral cold shoulder we keep encountering. And despite the nauseating protection the bomber gets from Jordan's royal leader.
I am baffled by your indifference to all this.
Sincerely,
Arnold Roth
Jerusalem
Nothing other than the sounds of being ignored. The following day, Arnold emailed this final note:
Arnold Roth
Tue, Dec 10, 8:26 PM (6 days ago)
to Monica, Caleb, Connor, Justin, Caitlyn 
None of you has responded.
As of now, we regard ourselves as free to publicize what has passed between us and your office.
Sincerely,
Arnold Roth
A week has passed and there has been zero from Representative Adam Smith's busy team.

This is far from the only instance of our reaching out to elected officials or government appointees asking for basic clarifications connected to the dream life being lived in the Arab world by our daughter's killer. And being rebuffed.

The list includes some significant names. During October and November 2019, in addition to Rep Adam Smith, it included:
  • Ranking Member Mac Thornberry, House Armed Services Committee [Source]
  • Chairman Eliot Engel, House Foreign Affairs Committee [Source]
  • Chairman Bennie Thompson, Homeland Security Committee [Source]
  • Chairman Adam Schiff, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence [Source]
  • Congressman Ron Kind, House Ways and Means Committee [Source]
  • Congresswoman Susan Davis, House Armed Services Committee [Source]
  • Congressman Stephen Lynch, Chairman, House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security [Source]
  • Congresswoman Elaine Luria, House Armed Services Committee [Source]
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi [Source]
  • Congressman Jason Crow [Source]
We documented some of how this works here: "14-Mar-19: Two years after Federal charges are unsealed, Ahlam Tamimi remains free. How is this happening?"

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

With few exceptions, mainstream editors and reporters in the news industry won't touch this battle we are waging as bereaved parents to see our child's killer stand trial in Washington on the US Federal charges she faces.

We plan to keep pressing on. We frankly don't understand how they view this. But for us, it's a matter of justice.

UPDATE January 12, 2020: They're back from the Congressional winter vacation and there has been not a single additional word from Rep Smith or his staff to us since the correspondence we published here. Nor from any of the other Congressional champions listed above.

UPDATE January 21, 2020: Turns out Congressman Smith is one of the signatories to letters of support given to the troubling hostile-to-Israel organization described in this extract:
More than 120 members of Congress privately issued letters of support to a controversial Islamic-American advocacy group known for its involvement in one of America's most prominent terrorism financing cases, according to a copy of these official communications obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an advocacy group with deep ties to the anti-Israel movement in America, touted its support among congressional leaders during its 2019 gala conference in November in Washington, D.C. Prominent opponents of the pro-Israel community, including anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), headlined the conference. A copy of CAIR's conference agenda, obtained by the Free Beacon and published here for the first time, includes well over 100 letters from Democratic and Republican members of Congress, all of whom expressed their support for the controversial organization. Democrats issued the majority of the letters, with only two coming from Republican members of Congress... ["More Than 120 Members of Congress Issue Letters of Support to Leading Anti-Israel Group", Washington Free Beacon, January 16, 2020]
Perhaps we are a step closer to understanding why he declines to respond to our questions about his Jordan visit.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

15-Dec-19: The Sbarro bomber trashes the ruler who protects her from the FBI

Tamimi, a wanted fugitive from US justice with a $5M reward on her head,
was interviewed in her home by Associated Press reporters two years ago
The Hamas terrorist who chose a Jerusalem pizzeria to bomb because of the many Jewish children inside whom she sought to kill - and succeeded - lives free today in Jordan. In an absolute monarchy, this can only be because Jordan's King Abdullah II wants it that way.

We suggest in this post why that shocking reality (a) is irrational from the king's standpoint, given what the bomber's values and goals are; and (b) involves much blurring and denying of facts and some disgraceful pretending.

The continuing freedom of the bomber, Ahlam Tamimi, is an almost-completely-unreported scandal. Though she’s officially regarded as an on-the-run fugitive by the US Department of Justice and is one of the FBI's 28 most wanted terrorists (there's an FBI website that lists them), she's not undercover, disguised or in hiding. She lives free-as-a-bird in the capital city of a country ruled by a close strategic ally of the United States.

Starting in January 2018, the US State Department began offering a reward of "up to $5 Million" for the capture and conviction of this Jordanian Islamist. But as we have come to understand, so long as she stays within Jordan's borders, she is safe from the US legal system.

That's not how the US officially looks at this. All its relevant agencies say she needs to be handed over to US law enforcement and taken to a Federal courthouse in Washington for trial.

So why doesn't that happen?

It's not because she's hard to find. Journalists tell us her home address in Jordan's capital is well known. Associated Press had no problem at all arranging a video interview which its people recorded in her living room a while back. Aljazeera has made her the focus of several adulatory, in-person, long-form interviews (here for instance) for its television and print media platforms. For five years starting in September 2012, she was the presenter of her own weekly made-in-Jordan television show, sponsored by Hamas and robustly advocating terrorism and the rights of imprisoned terrorists.

And it's certainly not because the authorities in Jordan are unaware of the seriousness of the charges against her. She has confessed repeatedly to killing Israelis and Jews and makes a point of explaining that she has no regrets at all. In front of the cameras, she has said she would "do it again today".

All well and good.

But the reason she doesn't have to cover her tracks or watch her back is because the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan explicitly protects her.

Tamimi found it expedient to praise Jordan's king when his courts blocked
her extradition to the US
She's a resistance hero in their lethally-dishonest lexicon. She managed to kill an extraordinary number of innocent Israelis and Jews, half of them children. Watch her make that clear in this video interview (starting about 1m30s into the clip). Among Jordanians at every level of their society, she enjoys incredible popularity.

The presenter of a popular TV show said it clearly a year ago on Jordan's most watched channel:
You, the people of the struggle, elevate the name of Jordan!” 
To be clear, "the people of the struggle" she's referring to are Ahlam Tamimi and her cousin Nizar Tamimi who is also her husband. He is aligned with Fatah; she is heart-and-soul for Hamas. Both are committed, unrepentant terrorists and convicted killers. And both walked free the same day in the catastrophic October 2011 Shalit Deal.

The life of our daughter Malki, just 15, was one of the many snuffed out by this hideous woman. That's the principal reason we are so sharply focused on her undeserved freedom and the almost entirely unreported details of how she stays free.

It's been a hugely frustrating process - but there has been significant progress. Since March 14, 2017, there have serious US criminal charges against her that if proven will likely mean she is locked away for the rest of her life.

The US has for decades had an extradition treaty with Jordan, and has called on Jordan to respect it in the Tamimi case as it has on every previous occasion when the US has invoked the treaty. Jordan refuses.

This has some puzzling aspects worth pondering:
  1. The United States which wants her arrested and extradited to Washington where she faces trial is blocked from getting what it wants. Yet the US is by far Jordan's largest provider of security and aid funds.
  2. Jordan's economy is "among the smallest in the Middle East, with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources, underlying the government's heavy reliance on foreign assistance" [CIA]. A 2018 survey says of Jordan that its "Debt is 95 per cent of GDP. Unemployment was 18.7 per cent during the last quarter; youth unemployment has reached 35 per cent" [Irish Times]. And not surprisingly, "Public dissatisfaction with the economy is a pressing concern for the monarchy." [Congressional Research Service, December 4, 2019]
  3. Since it provides the safety net that keeps the kingdom going, the US could easily exert pressure of the kind that would bring Jordan to comply with the 1995 Clinton-era Extradition Treaty. But it doesn’t
  4. And Jordan, massively dependent on American largess, could be expected to overcome its enthusiasm for killers of Jewish children and hand this one over. But it doesn’t.
  5. Jordan's highest court declared the 1995 treaty unconstitutional and unenforceable ["20-Mar-17: The Hashemite Kingdom's courts have spoken: The murdering FBI fugitive will not be handed over"] nearlly three years ago. That sudden and somewhat surprising ruling came less than a week after the US Federal terrorism charges against Tamimi were unveiled by the Department of Justice in Washington. The court held that the treaty ought to have been ratified by the Jordanian parliament as required by the kingdom's constitution but wasn't. 
  6. We argued in an opinion piece ["30-May-19: Paris, Amman, Washington: Extradition and what it can reveal about governments and terror"] that Jordan's approach to another of its extradition treaties - with France - shows how unlikely that Tamimi case decision is. There's much that's quite absurd aboout Jordan's legal argument including the reality that its parliament (meaning its king) could have arranged the ratification at any time since 1995 and could do it today too. But of course they won't. And of course no journalist is going to point this out.
  7. The United States after initially avoiding any direct comment on Jordan's obstinacy finally said last month - openly, leaving little room for doubt - that its treaty with Jordan is valid and that it rejects Jordan's claims to the contrary: see "03-Nov-19: In Washington, a step towards bringing the Sbarro bomber to justice". Nonetheless the US continues to tolerate Jordan's open breach. For all practical purposes, the US is doing nothing to press for Tamimi's extradition.
  8. Jordan, while avoiding any official comment on the matter, has acted as if there is no obligation for it to extradite and still does. The treaty was invalid from the day it was signed in mid-1995 said a panel of its most senior judges. But its diplomats (special mention to Ambassador Dina Kawar and her colleagues in the kingdom's Washington embassy) and politicians, all evidently aware of the rules of this sordid game, avoided all comment. The media co-operated, and still do, by keeping the egregiious and damaging breach out of the news. With one significant exception - an excellent news report written by Amir Tibon, Haaretz's Washington correspondent just a month ago ["U.S. Rejects Jordan's Refusal to Extradite Hamas Terrorist Wanted for Trial"]. We quoted it at length in this post of ours: "12-Nov-19: On Jordan, the US and the children killed in a pizzeria". 
  9. Perhaps because of the Haaretz piece, Jordan's official silence on how it safeguards Tamimi ended just a few days later. We described how in an open letter addressed to one of Jordan's longest-serving cabinet ministers, Ayman Safadi: "13-Nov-19: Thank you, Mr Foreign Minister". In it, we focus on an Arabic news report published on November 12, 2019 in a prominent Jordanian paper, under the headline "Safadi: We have received US requests to extradite Ahlam al-Tamimi. We confirm our commitment to the law that prevents it". The title says it all, leaving not much room for doubt about where Jordan stands.
The fugitive bomber, Ahlam Tamimi, has been cheerily public about her gratitude, along with her family, to Jordan's court and especially to King Abdullah II himself, for saving her from trial in Washington. His Majesty, after all, appoints all the judges, replaces prime ministers at will, controls the army, and decides whether to extradite or refuse. It's a kingdom with a very distinct center of power.

But something's just changed.

In the past week, Jordan's boastful Islamist has gone public in the Arabic-language media with  comments sharply critical of her king and protector. In an op ed on Arabi21, an online, pan-Arab news platform, and without naming him, she compares King Abdullah II unfavorably with his late father, King Hussein. The claim of her December 3, 2019 piece is that Jordan's government is not doing enough to secure the release of twenty-some Jordanians held in Israeli prisons. Jordan's official media mouth-piece calls them "detainees". (We're preparing some background notes now about the monsters among them and how it happens that they are imprisoned. Arab calls to free Arab prisoners from their Israeli cells, as Tamimi herself was, invariably skip the part about what they did to earn their lengthy prison terms.)

Writing under the provocative title "If Hussein were alive, the captives would be free", Tamimi says Jordan ought to force Israel to do a deal, trading an Israeli who is currently on trial in Amman for the captive Jordanians in Israel:
What Jordanians cannot understand is why Jordan hasn’t considered swapping the Zionist infiltrator [Konstantin Kotov] in its custody for 21 Jordanian prisoners in the custody of the Zionist entity... The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan must bear in mind the words of His Majesty the late King Hussein Bin Talal, "Man is the most precious thing we have" to take an historic stance for its citizens locked in the prisons of the Zionist occupation... [Machine-translated from Arabic]
A Tamimi tweet (translated below) from an account that Twitter has
so far refused to shut down
In simpler terms, she's saying Jordan's current king isn't pressing for Jordanian prisoners to be released but if he were alive today, his father would have. In a country with an exceptionally unfree media, this is startling.

And it's gotten traction. Among the Arabic publications that have re-published Tamimi's op ed: Abu Dhabi NewsAl Hayat News (Jordan), Palestine Online (PA), Akhbar Al Balad News (Jordan), Sabq News (Saudi Arabia), Al BidaaShehab News (Palestine), Rawafed News.

She has been critical of Abdullah in her personal Twitter account as well. (As an aside, each time we have referred Twitter management to Tamimi's Twitter accounts, they have shut them down - in 2017, for instance. As of this writing, they are refusing to shut down this latest one.)

Some of the Arabic tweets posted by Tamimi ten days ago (all machine-translated):
  • How frustrated Jordanian prisoners feel for their government's indifference to their fate [Tweet
  • The Jordanian government seems to believe the Zionist narrative that our prisoners live in five-star hotels [Tweet]
  • Had it not been for the government of Jordan, the Zionist Prison Service would not have secured our prisoners [Tweet] [Archived]
  • When the Jordanian government intensified its tricks, it organized a visit to a part of the Jordanian prisoners in 2008 while the rest were ignored [Tweet] [Archived]
  • The lives of Jordanian prisoners in the occupation prisons is a suspended death [Tweet][Archived]
  • The permanent question is what did the Jordanian prisoners benefit from the Wadi Araba agreement? [referring to the still-current 1994 Jordan/Israel peace treaty] [Tweet[Archived]
The State Department's Rewards for Justice unit
currently offers a $5M bounty for Tamimi's capture and conviction
How confident of her position Tamimi must be if she can launch a public attack on the monarch who, more than anyone else, is the reason she is free today and living under his protective rule. She evidently knows things about public opinion in Jordan that don't get well reported in the West.

Then again, she might not fully realize that if King Hussein, who made the 1995 treaty with Clinton, were alive today (he died in 1999), Tamimi would today be in chains somewhere inside the US penal system? Thanks to his son and the law courts that serve him, she's outrageously free enough to publish op eds, to appear on pan-Arab TV networks and to be the poster child for Islamist bigotry, terrorism and the redemptive power of murdering Jewish children.

A larger puzzle is why do Jordan's king and his many backers and apologists in US politics [see "09-Nov-19: Another delegation from US Congress at Jordan's royal court. Did extradition come up?"] continue to make this possible? Why is Tamimi still free, still toxic, still living her dream?