Sunday, July 25, 2021

25-Jul-21: What we said in the media about King Abdullah's visit

Last week in the White House
Jordan's King Abdullah II is now back on Jordanian soil after more than three weeks of official travels in the United States. Only the last part - about a week in and around Washington - has gotten media coverage in the US. 

If, as we think is the case, his intentions and those of his handlers were to avoid getting cornered on the Tamimi issue, it has pretty much turned out to be a stunning success. 

He was not interviewed at all as far as we can tell, though we see he is advertised to be appearing later today on the weekly CNN talk show hosted by Fareed Zakaria. (This was very likely recorded before he left Washington.) 

He also succeeded in making not a single public comment about Jordan harboring for the past near-decade the self-confessed bomber of Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria. Did he make statements about this behind closed doors? We may never know but as of the time of writing, the answer appears to be no.

We worked hard at trying to be heard. The US media have never made that easy and we are grateful to all the talented and willing professionals, colleagues and friends who advised us and gave a helping hand. 

The results, meaning what got published, are in the table below. (It's an embedded PDF - if you have problems accessing it, please be in touch with us at thisongoingwar@gmail.com) 

The actual results are another matter. We will be updating on them shortly.


Friday, July 23, 2021

23-Jul-21: Telling Meghan McCain about our search for justice

Just a few days before the arrival of Jordan's King Abdullah II to a week of being wined and dined and lavishly honored by Washington's most powerful, most connected and most important decision makers, Frimet and Arnold Roth had the opportunity to be heard on one of America's most watched TV programs.

"The View" co-host Meghan McCain invited the parents of Malki Roth, murdered in the terrorist attack on a Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria, to explain to her ABC Emmy-Award-winning daytime talk show audience how they are trying to get the United States to press its strategic ally Jordan to hand the killer over to US justice.

It's been a busy week with more media access than we have had in all the years of trying to create awareness of the painful ongoing injustice.

We hope to post additional media appearances here by Frimet and Arnold Roth in the coming days.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

21-Jul-21: After Jordan's king visited the State Department yesterday

From a State Department tweet of yesterday's meeting

Here's an observation the mainstream media probably won't share with their consumers about the very long royal visit to the US currently being undertaken by Jordan's king, queen and crown prince. [For some of the background, "21-Jul-21: In welcoming Jordan's king to Washington, we wanted him to be reminded of the ongoing Tamimi extradition scandal"]

His Majesty King Abdullah II spent some of yesterday in the company of senior figures in the State Department including the Secretary of State and, since we see him in the photos, the current US ambassador to Jordan, Henry Wooster. It was a working visit, with an official agenda and many participants. 

What did they discuss? 

Oddly, at a time when almost everything leaks and gets discussed in the world's public forums - which means on the Internet - it's hard to say

Our principal focus, as everyone coming to this blog knows, is with Jordan's harboring of the bomber who blew up the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem twenty years ago. Jordan has a treaty with the US, and the US has issued criminal proceedings against the bomber who has repeatedly confessed in public that she did it. Fifteen innocents were murdered in the explosion, two of them US nationals, and one of those was our daughter Malki.

Since the day those US charges against Ahlam Ahmad Al-Tamimi were announced in March 2017 right up until today, there has been a deliberate fog of ambiguity and opacity over US efforts to get Jordan to hand her over for trial as required by the 1995 Extradition Treaty. 

The result has been that the boastful killer's spectacular career and freedom have continued practically without pause. She's free today, not living in hiding, not silenced by Jordan's notoriously manipulative government and not on the margins of Jordanian society.

Quite the opposite.

At the end of yesterday's well-publicized meeting between the Jordanian delegation and the State Department people, there was a press briefing, presided over by State's spokesperson, Ned Price

As important as the Tamimi case is, and as much as we have tried to create media and pubic awareness of the open deception by two governments over what is and is not being done to bring Tamimi to her long overdue appointment with a federal court, here is the only official public comment made by the American side. It comes from the official transcript of the State Department Press Briefing (July 20, 2021)
NED PRICE, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON
JULY 20, 2021
QUESTION: Can I ask you very quickly about Jordan, the meeting with the king this morning and the Secretary? I just want to know if the Tamimi extradition issue came up. As you’re aware, last year the then-ambassador nominee but now the ambassador told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that withholding aid or aid could be used as leverage to secure her extradition to the States to face murder charges.
MR PRICE: Well, I expect we’ll have a readout of the Secretary’s meeting with His Majesty the King later today. When it comes to Ms. al-Tamimi, she is on the FBI’s most wanted list for her role in the 2001 Hamas attack in Jerusalem. We continue to seek her extradition. We’ll continue to work to ensure that she faces justice.
QUESTION: Yeah. Well, did it come up?
MR PRICE: I’m not in a position to speak to the meeting, but we’ll have a readout —
QUESTION: Well, are you – I mean, are you – has this administration yet raised it with – raised the matter with Jordanian authorities, the King or not? Or is this something that would have just come up for the first time today?
MR PRICE: This issue has been raised with our Jordanian partners.
What did the Jordanians say when it was raised? How did the US respond to King Abdullah's response? Does he know about the Tamimi case? Does he know about the 1995 Extradition Treaty proudly signed by his father?

Imagine getting answers like this from your doctor, your lawyer, your spouse, your child, your work colleague. We all have some sense of when we're being treated like idiots. This was one of those moments for us.

The people at Fox News where we were interviewed for two different programs earlier this week turned to State for some comment, too. This is what they got.
A State Department spokesperson told Fox News Friday the department won't preview any diplomatic discussions with the Jordan delegation and won't discuss private correspondence with the Roths. But the State Department said it's committed to bringing Al-Tamimi to the United States for prosecution. 
"Al-Tamimi is on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list for her role in a 2001 Hamas terrorist attack in Jerusalem," the State Department told Fox News. "The United States continues to seek her extradition and will continue to work to ensure she faces justice."  

You could understand that the day to day of government decision making is not something that gets discussed very much out on the open. And nor should it.

But the Jordan/Tamimi/extradition case is different. Tamimi was charged on March 14, 2017. Those charges were signed off by a federal judge nearly four years before that, in the summer of 2013, eight full years ago

Jordan's highest court, the Court of Cassation, ruled six days later that - whether she's guilty or not guilty as charged - Jordan will not hand her over to the justice system of the United States as the treaty requires because the treaty is not valid.

The treaty is valid. What's not valid is the claim by Jordan that there is a legal impediment, just one, a very technical one easily fixed. The US says, though in the quietest of voices, that the treaty is valid. Has the US ever raised its voice? Has it threatened? Has it done anything at all to fix this standoff with a kingdom whose existence is underwritten by massive US financial aid and by American military resources?

No one on the US side, not under Obama, not under Trump and till now at least not under Biden, is willing to speak clearly on this. The Jordanians have avoided all comment to people outside their kingdom though Jordanian domestic audiences have been told in Arabic ["13-Nov-19: Thank you, Mr Foreign Minister"] by their deputy prime minister and (his other role) foreign minister that Jordan does not have to hand the bomber over to the Americans. Jordan respects and abides by the law, Mr Ayman H. Safadi said, and the law does not allow it.

He is in the photo above and is in Washington with his king today. How valuable it would be if some enterprising speaking-truth-to-power reporter grabbed the opportunity to ask him to state Jordan's Tamimi policy to an American audience.

Being given the silent treatment isn't a new experience for us in this long pursuit of justice after the murder of our beloved Malki. But our message now to anyone who cares to listen is that it doesn't serve any good purpose and it needs to be stopped. American vagueness on the matter of getting justice done and bringing a committed terrorist to trial for the killing-by-terror of US nationals has serious consequences. 

We have almost no power in standing up to the cruel suppression of our voices by elected and unelected public officials. The only power we do have is to move public opinion and as much as we can, and with the help of others, we will. 

Because what's being done by government figures in this scandal is an ongoing disgrace.

21-Jul-21: In welcoming Jordan's king to Washington, we wanted him to be reminded of the ongoing Tamimi extradition scandal

From the Wall Street Journal website - details in the post
On Monday morning of this week, Jordan's ruler King Abdullah II, began the Washington chapter of his strikingly long current state visit to the US. 

According to the Jordanian media and his own official government press office, it's a journey that began at the start of the month with his departure from the royal palace in Jordan to the Sun Valley Economic Forum [You can see it reported here: "Jordan’s King Abdullah begins journey to US ahead of Sun Valley’s Economic Forum", Arab News, July 2, 2021]. 

And not just there. Reports of King Abdullah heading to the States so he could play an active role in the Idaho forum as he has done in the past were repeated widely in Jordan's Arabic media

Once the forum got underway, the authoritative Jordan Times which is close to the royal palace even disclosed that His Majesty 

"held a number of meetings with the chief executives of major US and international companies in the sectors of communications, information technology, tourism, transportation and insurance, according to a Royal Court statement. The meetings covered investment incentives in Jordan, its strategic location and free trade agreements with several countries, and the potential of tapping into the Kingdom’s qualified human resources."

Meetings? Investment? Chief executives? 

No details and no photos have been published of any of these anywhere as far as we can tell. And we do look. Perhaps it's all due to technical reasons.

But hold on a moment. 

One of the other details the Arab media have failed to share with their consumers is a real show-stopper: this year's Sun Valley Economic Forum in fact did not happen

You read that right. The fact is the forum that the king attended and where he held all those meetings was cancelled - at least according to the organizers who probably know. In fact, the whole forum was discontinued some time ago. There's no sign the Arab media know this. Or that they told their readers and viewers. 

But this post is not about the Arab media or the king's spinmeisters.

What it actually is about is the fact that, coinciding with King Abdullah's arrival in the US capital, we wrote an op ed. And we are proud that it was published in the same morning's Wall Street Journal Opinion section. It appears there under the heading "Jordan Harbors Our Daughter’s Killer | Biden should demand the extradition of Ahlam Tamimi.

It also appeared online which means for a change that our views got some very welcome American attention.

In case you're not aware - and very unlike the journalism in certain Middle East countries - the WSJ's editors have a reputation for being firm and tough on opinion writers. But also thorough and careful, often asking for documentary proof of what's claimed, for detail of the background and for drastic brevity.

That's not a complaint. It simply explains that they work hard there to produce a readable high-quality product. We feel honored to have the privilege of addressing their global readership.

As happens often, our op-ed started out longer than the version that was published. We're obviously more relaxed here on our own blog about the number of words it takes us to communicate our message. So here below is a fuller version of the op ed that the Wall Street Journal published.

Biden can show dignity and decency by pressuring Jordan’s Abdullah

Tell the king to extradite our daughter’s murderer.

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Jordan’s King Abdullah II will visit the White House on Monday. We are urging President Biden to ask the visitor why our daughter’s murderer is safeguarded by his kingdom. And to press for her extradition to Washington.

Ahlam Tamimi is an FBI Most Wanted Terrorist charged with participating in a 2001 bombing that killed 15 people, including our daughter Malki, 15, and a second U.S. national. Tamimi, an unabashed advocate for terrorist attacks on Israelis, is living free in Jordan despite the kingdom’s extradition treaty with the United States.

Malki and her best friend Michal, 16, were en route to a planning meet for their youth group’s summer camp when they stopped for lunch at a Sbarro pizzeria in central Jerusalem. They were happily texting at the counter when a Hamas bomber, dressed like a tourist but with an explosive-and-shrapnel-filled guitar case slung over his shoulder, entered. Tamimi, the first female admitted to the terrorist ranks of Hamas, selected the site for the large number of children it attracted. She fled the scene minutes before he exploded.

Tamimi, arrested some weeks later, confessed in court to all the charges and in 2003 was sentenced to 16 life terms. But in 2011, she was among 1,027 convicted terrorists exchanged by Israel for an IDF soldier held hostage for five years by Hamas. We watched, stunned, as Tamimi arrived in Jordan, greeted with wildly celebratory receptions at Amman’s airport, in a court-house of Jordan’s legal system, at the kingdom’s most important university and in Jordan’s trade union headquarters. There followed a torrent of exultant media interviews. Tamimi emphasized her utter lack of regret.

Jordan notably restricts its media and closely monitors speech but has allowed social media and television to amplify her fame. For five years she hosted a made-in-Jordan global TV show promoting terror. She has made frequent appearances at public events and on Jordanian commercial TV. The students of the Arab world’s premier graduate school of journalism named her their “success model”. Just last month, she became a weekly columnist for a prominent pan-Arab news-site.

Weeks after Israel released her, we asked the Department of Justice in Washington to prosecute her. We pointed to two elements: a federal law that criminalizes acts of terror outside U.S. territory that result in American deaths, and Jordan’s extradition treaty with the U.S. A year later, in 2013, terror charges were issued but only made public in 2017 via a Justice Department announcement.

Jordan’s government moved quickly. Six days after the unsealing of those charges, and without a single public word from any Jordanian leader, the kingdom’s highest court ruled the 1995 Jordan/US extradition treaty invalid. The U.S. rejects that ruling and still considers it a Treaty in Force.

In a 2020 FOIA lawsuit, we obtained documentary evidence that undermines Jordan’s argument and its basis for shielding Tamimi. Now we want President Biden to explain to America’s Jordanian ally that the U.S. will not abide a treaty partner violating its obligations.

Widely seen as moderate and reasonable, King Abdullah II has never commented publicly on Tamimi’s freedom, fame or depravity. We find this appalling.

It’s said the prospect of Tamimi in chains being put on a Washington-bound flight worries the king because this could upset his country’s fraught political balance – and her Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Does that mean Jordan, massively dependent on US aid and support in multiple ways, can walk away from its bilateral obligations scot-free? Do the mass-murderer’s followers have that kind of sway?

We don’t presume to remind President Biden of the leverage in his hands. But the fact is Congress imposed powerful sanctions in 2019 and again in 2020, clearly aimed at Jordan and its treaty default - and which the Trump administration failed to enforce. We know that milder sanctions have been suggested but also never implemented.

No less disturbing to us than Jordan’s recalcitrance is the de facto acceptance it appears to have gotten from the two most recent administrations. In all the years of our pursuing justice, no one has said anything explicit to us or, publicly at least, to the Jordanians about Tamimi. Our questions have been deflected and not always elegantly. We only too familiar with getting the silent treatment.

We hope President Biden — a grieving parent himself — can reverse that pattern. He has pledged to write “an American story of decency and dignity.” Is any dignity greater than the one that comes from doing justice? Where’s decency when an ally demeans an established treaty to appease popular bigotry of the most murderous kind?

Allies shouldn’t have to be arm-twisted into compliance with bilateral obligations. Tamimi, who has never denied her role in orchestrating the massacre that stole our child’s life, should be tried in Washington on the pending charges.

Any other outcome, any further delay, empowers and encourages the dark and dangerous forces at work in this complex region.

--- 

Frimet and Arnold Roth live in Jerusalem. With friends they established a non-sectarian charity, The Malki Foundation, in 2001 to support families raising a child with extreme special needs.
The royal visit to Washington continues with a string of high-level meetings today in the Congress after the warm personal reception extended by President Biden, by Secretary of State Blinken, by Vice President Harris and by the strangely quiescent White House Press Corps which could have asked - but strikingly did not - some important questions during question time on Monday. 

The editors at Mediaite, noticing this, gave them a backhanded acknowledgment in the Tuesday edition of their widely-watched Media Winners & Losers page:

MEDIA LOSER:

White House Press Corps

The White House press corps had multiple opportunities on Monday to ask President Joe Biden if he would raise the issue of a terrorist wanted by the United States that Jordan is harboring.

Ahead of Jordanian King Abdullah II’s meeting on Monday at the White House, the press failed to ask Biden, following his remarks about the current state of the economy, about Ahlam Tamimi, who was behind the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem that killed 15 civilians, including two Americans, and injured approximately 122 others, including four Americans.

Tamimi was serving 16 life sentences in Israel when she was released as part of a deal Israel made with Hamas in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Now living in Jordan, Tamimi is treated like a celebrity.

The White House press corps failed to even ask White House press secretary Jen Psaki ahead of the meeting whether Biden would press the king to extradite Tamimi, whose indictment by the United States was unsealed in 2017.

No one even shouted a question following-up about Tamimi.

Again, it's important for the press to hold those with power to account.
Thanks, ladies and gentlemen of Mediaite. We certainly agree.

Friday, July 09, 2021

09-Jul-21: The desecration of law, of morality, of fundamental decency: An open letter to a king

Issued in March 2017, the Department of Justice wanted posters
in English and Arabic have never appeared – other than
online – in any public place in Jordan.
A version of the following article written by Frimet and Arnold Roth was published as a Featured Post on the Times of Israel's op-ed platform a week ago under the title King Abdullah, when will Jordan hand our child’s murderer over to US justice? 

It's intended as an open letter addressed to the Jordanian monarch. 

*  *  *

Nothing in life prepared us, Your Majesty, for the murder of our daughter Malki.

Just 15 years old, she was a delightful child with a vivacious personality, a skilled musician with a passion for helping children with disabilities. Losing her and fighting to see her killer — a woman harbored by Jordan since 2011— brought to justice are the defining challenges of our lives.

Shakespeare is the source for an insight to which we assume you can relate: "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown" he has a character, a monarch like you, say in Henry IV Part I.  And while we have no special desire to add to your unease, we do feel justified in addressing you on a serious matter, one that comes with heaviness and consequence - though it's summer. 

For you personally, Your Majesty, as we have noticed, summer means vacation time and traveling to the US. You have done it almost every year as long as we have been following your public statements and your travels. 

You're there now, having arrived a week ago and you will stay there until July 22. Along the way, you are going to be a guest in President Biden's Oval Office on July 19. And you have a long list of meetings where you will be addressing numerous committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

For us, the past two decades of summers, as much as we would want them to be different, have ceased to be a time of recreation and switching off. Losing a dearly loved child's life to a vicious act of explosive hatred can do that to people.

But it's emphatically not sympathy we seek in addressing these words to you, sir. We are addressing you via this open letter in order to urge you to take the necessary steps so that our child's killer finally faces US justice. These are actions that you and you alone can take.

*  *  *

After completing 10th grade, Malki spent part of her summer vacation volunteering at a camp for children with severe disabilities. She returned home beaming from the pleasure of making a difference in the lives of others. A few days later, she and her closest friend stood together at the counter of a bustling Sbarro pizzeria — two sweet girls chatting and texting. Nobody took notice when a young musician, a guitar case slung across his back, entered and stood beside them

He wasn’t a musician. 

And it wasn’t a guitar. 

When he squeezed the button on his chest, the shuddering blast reverberated throughout Jerusalem. The satanic terrorists of Hamas, adroit at exploiting the twisted mentality of young religious zealots, put him to this hideous work. 

A young Jordanian woman, a journalism student of 21, guided him to the scene. She later boasted of having scouted Jerusalem for child-rich targets and realized Sbarro was ideal. Her name is Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi. She appears to have hesitation in calling the massacre “my operation”.

Tamimi fled the scene after depositing her human bomb and was in a taxi on her way back to Ramallah when the car radio broke the news of the atrocity. Tamimi was elated. We know this because she said so. On video. Grinning.

Among the 15 dead, including eight children and 130 wounded, Tamimi obliterated the lives of three female American nationals. 
  • One was a young Jewish tourist from New Jersey, her parents’ only child, recently married and pregnant for the first time. 
  • The second was our Malki. 
  • Then there was Chana, a young mother grabbing lunch with her toddler daughter. The little girl was uninjured, but Chana, grievously wounded, remains in a vegetative state today — 20 years later — not counted in the death toll. Imagine explaining to her family how that works.
It is the murder of the Americans that caused the US to bring criminal charges against Tamimi and seek to put her on trial ["14-Mar-17: Sbarro massacre mastermind is now formally charged and her extradition is requested."] And it is your government that stands in the way.

*  *  *

Photographed at a friend's birthday celebration on August 8, 2001,
this is the last photo to have been taken of our Malki.
She was murdered the next day.
Since 2011, Tamimi has lived free in Amman. As you and your advisers know, she is a celebrity to Jordanians, an icon of resistance and vengeance. Jordan’s best and brightest journalism students at a graduate school for media studies under royal auspices actually declared her their “success model”. The main details are here: “By their role models shall ye know them,” [The Times of Israel, December 10, 2014].

The horror she executed that day earned her a prestigious role hosting a weekly TV show broadcast globally from Jordan for five years. And — there’s no way to miss this point — your government, which notoriously exercises tight control over broadcast media (“hampered by restrictive laws and government pressure” according to Freedom House’s latest assessment), let her do it.

How did Tamimi get back home to Jordan?

In 2003, after making a full confession, she was convicted by an Israeli court and sentenced to 16 consecutive terms of life imprisonment. Eight years later, under the leadership of an Israeli prime minister whose international reputation was made by authoring a best seller about why deals must never be done with terrorists, Israel did a deal with the terrorists Hamas. It freed Tamimi in the extortionate transaction. She was one of 1,027 convicted Arab terrorists, most of them killers, exchanged for a sole Israeli hostage. 

Jordan, as we are certain you remember, welcomed Tamimi as a returning hero.

On March 14, 2017, the US Department of Justice unsealed terrorism charges and designated Tamimi an FBI Most Wanted Terrorist. The US prosecutors had kept the charges secret for four years as efforts were made by private diplomacy to convince your government to turn her over. The announcement brought us hope that long-thwarted justice was about to be done.

Our hope was misplaced.

Just six days later, Jordan’s Court of Cassation, the appointment and dismissal of whose judges require your approval, declared the extradition treaty, bearing the personal, signed endorsements of your revered late father King Hussein and President Bill Clinton, unenforceable. The court ruled it lacked parliamentary approval — a purported defect that obviously could have, but never has, been corrected.

(Just a week ago we wrote in another place of discoveries we made earlier this year when we sued the government of the United States under its Freedom of Information Act. We have another article explaining this. But it is not quite ready for publication. In the meantime, in case you want to know what we found - and we see it as stunningly important - see "Will Joe Biden Grant My Daughter Justice?" on the Sub-Stack site of the former New York Times columnist and distinguished writer and public intellectual Bari Weiss.)

In the years that followed, we fought to create awareness of (forgive our blunt language - we're enraged) Tamimi’s obscene freedom and of the appalling support Jordanians give her. 

We have gotten pushback we never expected, warning that your kingdom, a key US strategic ally and third largest recipient of US aid, would fall and chaos ensue, if this lightning rod for terrorist sentiment is extradited to Washington.

Shockingly, your multiple ceremonious visits to Washington as guest of the Obama and Trump administrations produced not a single official utterance about the ongoing travesty of justice.

How to explain this desecration of law, of morality, of fundamental decency? Is your rule truly that precarious? Is Jordanian society so infused with hatred of Jews that, with the connivance of the international media, you have no choice but to let it go on? 

What meaning does leadership have if, as monarch, you are hostage to the most bigoted elements of Jordanian society? What future does Jordan have if its leadership nurtures the dysfunctional mindset by which handing an admitted murderer of Americans to American justice is the real outrage?

It remains in your hands, King Abdullah. You can end this. Turn your current visit to the United States and to Washington as the moment when you declare Jordan is going to do whatever necessary to immediately effectuate the 1995 treaty; to honor the US request to extradite Tamimi; to see justice finally done.

Unforgivably overdue by years, this would be a step towards healing a festering wound in the strategic relations between Jordan and the US and, no less important, eating away at Jordanian society itself.



Frimet and Arnold Roth jointly wrote the above, as well as their blog, This Ongoing War, that since 2006 has documented their efforts to see justice done in the matter of their daughter’s murder.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

16-Jun-21: What do the Palestinian Arabs think now?

Image Source: Red Cross
There's unique value to Palestinian Arab polls of Palestinian Arab public opinion. 

They often come with internal contradictions and unanswered ambiguities. But at least they don't suffer from, or impose on their readers, the wishful thinking and projection that make some outside analyses, especially from far-away reporters and columnists with axes to grind, misleading and worse.

We have reported here for years about the results of periodic polling done by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), headed by a respected professional, Dr. Khalil Shikaki. We know Shikaki only by his work and reputation; there is no personal connection between us.

Before getting into the details and the data, it's worth repeating what we wrote in one of our previous posts about Palestinian Arab opinion polls ["04-Apr-18: Here's (one view of) what the Palestinian Arabs want"]:
Palestinian Arab polls of Palestinian Arab opinion can be valuable tools for understanding what they think at any given time. And no less importantly, how accurate the assessments of what they want for the future are. And to be blunt about this, they're invariably more valuable by far than media guesses about what the Palestinian Arabs think and want. Claims are made freely and often about Palestinian Arab aspirations. Very often, though, the data tell a story that's at total variance from what's being claimed about them. That's why we have chosen from time to time to publicize here the results of opinion polls conducted by relatively respected organizations within Palestinian Arab society.
PSR Public Opinion Poll Number 80 was released yesterday. It reports on polling conducted on a sample of 1,200 adults interviewed face to face in 120 randomly selected locations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between June 9 and 12, 2021. The margin of error is plus/minus 3%.

The press release summarizing its findings starts with uncommonly strong language, speaking of "a paradigm shift in public attitudes against the PA and its leadership and in favor of Hamas and armed struggle". 

In these current fraught times, you would think this would get significant headline treatment. But the PSR polls almost never do. Here are some of the key findings.

Political leadership

  • PSR found widespread public discontent with how President Mahmoud Abbas, now 85 years old, leads them. Abbas was elected on January 9, 2005 to serve as President of the Palestinian National Authority (usually called the PA) until January 15, 2009. More than sixteen years after taking charge, he gives no indication that he's ready to relinquish control. Quite the opposite.
  • Abbas announced on January 15, 2021 that elections would take place for the no-longer-functional Palestinian Legislative Council on May 22, 2021. These were going to be followed by presidential elections on July 31, 2021. Based on reports we saw, there were few observers who believed they were actually going to happen.
  • And on April 30, 2021 ["Palestinian leader delays parliamentary and presidential elections, blaming Israel" via Reuters] the skeptics were proven right. It was all Israel's fault, naturally - because everything bad in their world is the fault of the Jews..
  • Now notice that, as the poll shows, two-thirds of Palestinian Arabs reject Abbas’ decision to postpone the elections. To us, this is a big deal. While the Western media are busy swallowing Abbas' chronic blame-all-problems-on-the Zionists, Abbas' subjects understand the games that are being played and don't like them. 
  • The same proportion, two-thirds, say the reason the elections were postponed is not because of Zionist dirty doings but rather (which is obviously the case) that Abbas "was afraid of their outcome, not because Israel has prevented the holding of elections in East Jerusalem." His placing the blame on Israel is the subject of an April 27, 2021 Associated Press report ["Egyptian officials: Palestinians plan to call off elections"] in which the obvious is pointed out: that the Israeli role is nothing more than "a pretext for Abbas to cancel a parliamentary election that his Fatah movement is expected to lose badly. Fatah has split into three rival lists, paving the way for Hamas to emerge as the biggest party in parliament."
  • The latest PSR data bear this out. A clear majority prefer Hamas leadership over Fatah under Abbas. More concretely, if presidential elections were held today on a head-to-head basis between two candidates, Mahmoud Abbas would get 27% and lose massively to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh who gets 59%. Three months ago, a PSR poll predicted Haniyeh at 46% and Abbas at 47%. This is not what Abbas wants to hear.
  • Nor is this: In a hypothetical two-horse race between Haniyeh and convicted and imprisoned-for-life terrorist Marwan Barghouti who personally paid for the guitar bomb that murdered our daughter (among a long list of additional crimes for which he is in prison), Barghouti would win 51% to 42%. But note, which PSR does not, that in a previous poll three years ago, the malodorous Mr Barghouti did considerably better than this month. 
  • Abbas does worse in the West Bank than he does in Gaza. In Gaza, Abbas would get 30% of votes (44% three months ago); Haniyeh gets 60% (56% three months ago). In the West Bank which Fatah/PA/Abbas nominally control, Abbas gets just 25% (52% three months ago) and Haniyeh gets 59% (38% three months ago).
  • What's more, there is "widespread public discontent with the performance of the PA government and leadership as well as Fatah during the [recentconfrontations and the war."
  • Overall, support for Hamas electorally and in general has increased dramatically at the expense of Fatah: "A majority of the Palestinians think that Hamas is more deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people" than Fatah under Abbas’ leadership.
  • Asked about the ability of the current PA government headed by Prime Minister (since April 2019) Mohammad Shtayyeh, to improve economic conditions, 62% expect failure.

Palestinian Arab Gazans with no work - 2017 [Image Source]
Peace

  • What are Palestinian Arab society's preferred courses for getting out of what their report calls the current status quo. 27% of them say “reaching a peace agreement with Israel” (down from 36% three months ago) - not much of an answer without some explanation of how this gets done but it's the answer the pollsters chose to offer. But then a major larger group amounting to 39% say waging “an armed struggle against the Israeli occupation” (sharply up from 26% three months ago). 11% prefer waging "non-violent resistance”. 18% say the status quo isn't actually that bad and prefer to keep it.
  • Asked about the desirability of re-engaging with the United States now that Trump has gone and the Democrats under Biden are in charge, 54% don't want it to happen. 
  • The US and Europe speak often and enthusiastically about a two-state solution. But support for the concept (which was not defined in the poll for reasons not explained in the PSR report) was a mere 39%., almost identical to what it was three months ago. A whopping 58% of Palestinian Arabs say they oppose it.
War
  • Support for a return to armed confrontation and intifada rose sharply to 60%. Support for a resumption of negotiations with Israel and the belief that negotiation are the best way to end "occupation" fell.
  • Which side "won" the May 2021 battle between Hamas forces in Gaza and the IDF? The Palestinian Arab public has a breathtakingly clear view on this: "An overwhelming majority... (77%) believes that Hamas has come out a winner in its last war with Israel while only 1% think Israel came out a winner."
  • 72% think those 4,300+ Hamas rockets were launched at Israeli towns and homes "in defense of Jerusalem and al Aqsa Mosque". 
  • Of the various groups "most willing to defend Jerusalem and its holy places", Hamas gets a 29%, rating and Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah/PA a dismissive 3%.
  • 60% of those polled believe the participation (presumably the civil disobedience, riots, armed and unarmed attacks on Israelis) of "the Palestinian citizens of Israel in the recent confrontation was driven, first and foremost, by their desire to defend the holy sites." 
  • 94% "are proud of the performance of the Gaza Strip during the May confrontation with Israel while 6% say they are not."
  • Asked whether they have a positive view of life ("positive evaluation of conditions"), only 8% of people in the Gaza Strip say yes. In the West Bank, it's a whopping 24%.
  • 26% of all Palestinian Arabs "want to emigrate due to political, security, and economic conditions". Breakdown: in the Gaza Strip it's 42% (slightly up on three months ago when it was 40%). In the West Bank, it's 15% (sharply down on 23% of three months ago). 
  • Based on viewing habits of the past three months, by far the most watched TV channel for Palestinian Arabs is Aljazeera TV (Arabic of course) with 36% of respondents. Next came Al-Aqsa TV with a mere 13% and six others with far smaller audiences.
Corruption in Palestinian Arab institutions
  • Is there corruption in PA institutions? 84% say yes.
  • Is there corruption in Hamas institutions? 57% say yes.
  • Can you criticize PA institutions without fear? 46% of West Bankers say yes. 
  • Can you criticize Hamas institutions without fear? 50% of Gazans say yes.
Rewards for Terror
  • This being a Palestinian Arab survey of Palestinian Arab views, no one should be surprised that the poll avoids asking whether the Palestinian Authority's notorious incentive payments program for imprisoned or dead terrorists ("Pay to Slay" or less colorfully Rewards for Terror) ought to continue. Of course (we say) they want it to continue. 
  • Instead, based on the responses, the PSR poll question is apparently this: Should those payments "to the families of martyrs and prisoners [be] based on need assessment and number of family members rather than on the act committed by the martyr or the number of years in jail"
  • Payments according to how sickening the act of terror was and how long the prison sentence, assuming the terrorists were caught, tried and convicted, is how it works today. Adjusting it to take account of the terrorist family's actual needs is the far-fetched proposal offered by the poll question. 
  • The result is absolutely (and disturbingly) clear: 70% are opposed to the suggested change. They're happy with how things are today - more dead and injured Israelis means more cash from the chronically insolvent PA budget and they see nothing wrong with that.  Abbas and his cronies, unable to build or run their own education system, their own decent health-care system, their own industrial infrastructure to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for a society with a staggering unemployment rate of 38% among the crucial youth cohort aged between 18 and 29 (2019 data) - instead simply spend the foreign cash the PA gets from foolish government officials in Europe and elsewhere. It's an easy decision.
  • A significant footnote: The 2019 unemployment rate (official Palestinian Authority figures) among that same youth cohort in Gaza stood at an unbelievable 63%. It's a piece of information to keep in mind when we see coverage of masses of Gazans being herded to protest rallies and wildly violent "protests" in the vicinity of the border with Israel.  
There's much to ponder in these findings, perhaps the most significant part of it being that Palestinian Arab leadership is neither building a credible alternative to peace with Israel nor doing anything to moderate their society's passion for war, confrontation and self-delusion.

It's a depressing picture for anyone who gives a damn.

Click here for the full list.

[For Polish-speaking readers, a version translated into the Polish language is online at the Listy z naszego sadu site - dziękuję ci bardzo, Małgorzata.]

Monday, June 07, 2021

07-Jun-21: Kill some Jews, earn your family a new home

Image Sourc: Times of Israel
We're thinking back to the string of Arab-on-Israeli knifing attacks that embittered so many lives in this part of the world five/six years ago.

One of those, known as the Lions Gate stabbings was a murderous attack on Aaron and Odell Benita (also reported as Bennett) and their two small children in strollers. They were on their way to the Kotel - the Western Wall - to pray. 

We wrote about the awful events more or less in real time for our blog: "03-Oct-15: Arab violence escalates in Jerusalem: Multiple stabbings in Old City tonight". 

In its coverage, the New York Times ["Survivor of Jerusalem Stabbing Recounts Attack on Her Family"] quoted the young mother and wife describing how she was:
running down an alley in the Old City of Jerusalem with a knife stuck in the base of her neck, desperately seeking help. And most vividly, she described the cruel and mocking reactions she said she met from shopkeepers and passers-by. “I screamed, I begged for aid,” Mrs. Bennett, 22, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish mother of two, said in an interview on Tuesday from her hospital bed, where she was recovering from multiple stab wounds. “They stood chatting and laughing — they spat at me,” she said of the Palestinians in the alley. One man continued drinking cola out of a can, she said; others shook her off when she tried to hold onto them to lift herself off the ground. “I was looking for one glimmer of mercy in their eyes,” she said in a weak voice.
Horrifying. Almost beyond belief. There was no mercy to be found there that day.

The assailant was a kid of nineteen who was shot dead in the act by fast-moving - though not fast enough - Israeli security personnel. That knifer ands his family have gotten an obscene amount of sympathy, attention and money in the years that have passed. 

The two Israeli men who were killed Saturday evening in a terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City were named by police as Nehemia Lavi, 41, and Aharon Banita, 22. The two died of their wounds shortly after being stabbed in Jerusalem’s Old City by a Palestinian terrorist. Banita’s wife was in serious condition and their two-year-old baby was lightly wounded. She was taken to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem and was undergoing surgery. The toddler was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment where he remained in stable condition. Lavi, a Jerusalem resident, leaves behind a wife and seven children. A rabbi at the Old City’s Ateret Cohanim yeshiva who lived nearby, he had rushed to the scene when he heard screaming in the street. [Times of Israel, October 3, 2015]

* * *

There's news today of what happened after those tragic, savage events: 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday ordered that the family of a Palestinian terrorist who murdered two Israelis be paid more than $40,000 and be given new housing, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

Ramallah Governor Laila Ghannam, an Abbas appointee, met with the family of Muhannad Halabi and gave them some 30,000 Jordanian Dinars  ($42,000), reportedly to help them cover housing costs since their home was destroyed by the IDF following the killings, Kan said.

Ghannam also told the family that Abbas had instructed his security services to help them find permanent housing. Home demolitions are a controversial policy that the IDF says helps deter future terror attacks.

The payments are the first high-profile payments to terrorist families since the Biden administration took office, despite claims that the Palestinians were willing to rethink the controversial policy as part of an effort to improve relations with Washington.

Halabi killed two Israelis, Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Banita, and injured Banita’s wife, Adele, and their 2-year-old son in a stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem on October 3, 2015.

[Source: "Palestinian Authority pays $42,000 to family of terrorist who killed 2 Israelis", Times of Israel, June 7, 2021]

Knifing victims Lavi and Banita of blessed memory [Image Source]
Palestinian Media Watch, in a bulletin issued today, adds this dimension. 

The murderer’s sister claims that a sum of 130,000 Jordanian dinars (about US$183,359) was donated at some point to the murderer’s family. This munificent gift put them in a position to acquire a replacement home. 

But this being the Palestinian Authority, after various 'deductions' (evidently to benefit other worthy "martyrs") had been applied to the cash, what they received was a mere 100,000 dinars - not enough to complete the purchase. 

The vendors - the Arab owners selling the home but not yet paid - to the Muhannad Halabi's bereaved family sued to enforce the contract of sale, putting the Halabi people into a squeeze. 

At that point, renowned philanthropist and generous-hearted arch-terrorist Mahmoud Abbas, president-for-life of the Palestinian Authority, stepped up and provided the bridge funding in the form of a gift of 30,000 dinars. That allowed the murderer's family to complete the purchase and for the incentive to fresh acts of murder to be publicized to a willing audience of Palestinian Arabs who gobble up just this sort of sociopathic gesture. 

(The source for the narrative quoted by PMW is material broadcast on the ”Gaza” YouTube channel on May 29, 2021.)

* * *

This isn't the first time the despotic Palestinian Authority has honored the memory of that same cherished murdering knifer. Nearly six years ago, we wrote here ["28-Oct-15: The Pal Arab passion for knife attacks isn't just for social media: they sincerely mean to kill"] that

As the Jerusalem Post reports, the Palestinian Authority controlled by Mahmoud Abbas has just decided to honor Muhannad Halabi [the thug whose family has just been awarded the astronomical sum we reported above] by naming a street after him. Halabi is the 19-year-old murderer of two Jews killed close to the Old City's Lion's Gate on October 3, 2015 in a stabbing and shooting "operation" that took the lives of Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Benita and seriously injured Benita’s wife, Adele, and their two-year-old son.

The assailant was shot dead by police at the scene. Palestinian Media Watch reported several days ago that the Palestinian Bar Association has already grotesquely bestowed an honorary law degree on the deceased stabber/shooter/attacker. Now the municipality of Surda/Abu Qash, in the suburbs of Ramallah, will name a street for him "to emphasize the national role played by Palestinian municipalities."

It's also not the first time "Ramallah Governor Laila Ghannam", who handed the Pay to Slay prize to the killer's family, has played a key role in the nurturing of fresh, young killers in Palestinian Arab society. 

We wrote about her eight years ago ["14-Jun-13: When the murderers go free, what does it really do to you?"]


The despicable Abdullah Barghouti, convicted on 67 separate counts of murder, was honoured first by means of an official “solidarity” visit to his family’s home. The PA Minister of Prisoners' Affairs, Issa Karake, led the honour parade, accompanied the District Governor of Ramallah, Laila Ghannam. Then the PA’s tightly controlled official television channel arrived and recorded a video homage to Barghouti, including interviews with proud family members.
Here's how this disgraceful terror-embracing public official is profiled on a European Union website:
Dr. Laila Ghannam (ليلى غنام) has been the governor of Ramallah and al-Bireh since 2014. From 2008 until 2014 she was member of Fatah’s leadership committee for the governorate. Ghannam was previously a lecturer at al-Quds University (Abu Dis) and chairwoman of the Wattan Center for Women between 2005 and 2007.
About the despicable Kuwaiti mass-murderer Barghouti who remains imprisoned for now and who made the exploding guitar case that destroyed the Sbarro pizzeria where our child was murdered in August 2001, see "21-Jun-13: In dark corners, remorseless killer of 66 innocents is called 'administrative detainee' and 'captive'" and "01-Jul-13: 66 acts of murder make him a hero in parts of the Arab world. What does this tell us about parts of the Arab world?"


* * *

Don't let anyone tell you differently: money is a key enabler in the Palestinian Arab descent into the horrors exemplified by what Abbas. Ghannam and the now-deceased knifer Halabi did. 

The Mahmoud Abbas regime can't function without massive doses of aid. Abbas can't function, his Pay to Slay scheme can't function, Ghannam's municipality can't function, the parents of Halabi can't function. That flow of foreign gifts - cash in the billions of dollars each year - is what allows the scandalous failed PA regime to keep the lights on.

Who pays? We're preparing a blog post that reviews the cast of givers (there's some data here) but of one thing we can be certain and so should you: If you pay taxes in a European Union country, in the United States, in the United Kingdom, you are certainly part of the problem even if you don't realize it yet. 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

13-May-21: In one voice, Jordan's lawmakers say Israel's ambassador has to go

The Jordanian parliament in Amman [Image Source]
​Jordan and Israel have been at an uneasy kind of peace for some twenty-six years.
On 26 October 1994, Jordan and Israel signed the peace treaty in a ceremony held in the Arava valley of Israel, north of Eilat and near the Jordanian border. Prime Minister Rabin and Prime Minister Abdelsalam al-Majali signed the treaty and the President of Israel Ezer Weizman shook hands with King Hussein. Clinton observed, accompanied by US Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Thousands of colorful balloons released into the sky ended the event... Egypt welcomed the agreement while Syria ignored it. The Lebanese militia group Hezbollah resisted the treaty and 20 minutes prior to the ceremony launched mortar and rocket attacks against northern Galilee towns. Israeli residents, who were forced to evacuate the towns for the safety of shelters, took with them transistor radios and mobile TVs in order not to miss the historical moment of signing a second peace treaty with an Arab state... [Wikipedia]
1994: King Hussein and
Yitzhak Rabin [Source]
It hasn't been a smooth ride

And today, according to a Jordanian news report [here in Arabic] it took one of its frequent turns downwards:
Attia: The memorandum to expel the Zionist ambassador obtains unanimous consent of all representatives | May 13, 2021 | Representative Khalil Attiyah said that a parliamentary memorandum expressing the parliament’s standing behind King Abdullah II in his support for the Palestinian cause and affirming the Hashemite guardianship over Jerusalem, and also calling for the expulsion of the Zionist ambassador from the kingdom and the withdrawal of the Jordanian ambassador from the entity, obtained the consensus of all members of the House of Representatives. Representatives without exception, and everyone who received a copy of it took the initiative to sign it... Attiyah confirmed that what was published of the names was at the beginning of the adoption of the memorandum, and all members of the parliament initiated the request to include their names on the memorandum, pointing out that the memorandum will be handed over to the General Secretariat in the House of Representatives next Sunday to be dealt with in accordance with the constitutional frameworks. [Archive]
It's not without precedent. 

In fact, this is the fourth such maneuver by Jordan's lawmakers in the past eight years.
It's a reminder that, like so much else in the volatile and voluble Middle East, noisy and unanimous declarations by members of the legislative branch don't always mean that much. And also that lawmakers and laws don't mean all that much in the monarchies of our neighborhood.

UPDATE May 17, 2021: Reports today say the memorandum has now been upgraded to an actual motion. But not a law.

By AFP - Agence France Presse
May 17, 2021
Jordanian lawmakers on Monday unanimously carried a motion urging the government to expel Israel's ambassador to Amman in protest against Israeli "crimes" against Palestinians. Speaker of Parliament Abdul Monem Odat announced the move live on television after a parliamentary session devoted to "the situation in Palestine and the crimes committed against them in Jerusalem and Gaza".

During a six-hour long session, "the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador" was among the key recommendations carried, Odat said. Lawmakers also demanded the recall of Jordan's ambassador from Tel Aviv.

"We have sent a memorandum to the government to that effect and it is now with the prime minister," he added.

Prime Minister Bishr Khasawneh, who was present in parliament, said the government will examine all the options "and will rise to the challenge".

Independent MP Khalil Attiyeh told AFP that all parliament's 130 deputies had signed the memorandum... 

Jordan, which is bound by a peace treaty with neighbouring Israel agreed in 1994, has for days seen protests in solidarity with the Palestinians.

Demonstrators have demanded the Israeli ambassador's expulsion.

Around half of Jordan's 10 million-strong population is of Palestinian origin, including some 2.2 million refugees registered with the United Nations.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

06-May-21: So will the injustice continue to be ignored?

From the Jerusalem Post paper edition, April 30, 2021

A story by Yonah Bob, a veteran journalist at the Jerusalem Post, published this past week pulls together some of the numerous strands of our efforts to bring Ahlam Tamimi to justice.

She's the Jordanian woman who freely admits to planting the bomb that destroyed the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria. 

Our daughter Malki was one of the many children whose lives ended there that day.

In a piece entitled "Will Ahlam Tamimi be extradited from Jordan for the murder of Malki Roth?" and published in the paper's online edition (as well as in this past Friday's paper edition), Bob recounts the basic facts of the August 9, 2001 massacre orchestrated by Ahlam Tamimi, as well as the terrorism trial that followed at whose conclusion she was

sentenced to 16 full life terms in jail, but was released in 2011, as part of the Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange.

The narrative jumps forward to March 14, 2017 when the US government let it be known, while unsealing long-secret terrorism charges against Tamimi under US law ["14-Mar-17: Sbarro massacre mastermind is now formally charged and her extradition is requested"], that it had

issued a request for Tamimi’s extradition. The reason? Roth was not only Israeli, but American as well. Given that Jordan’s King Abdullah is heavily reliant on US military and economic assistance, quick compliance could have expected. Instead, what has followed according to Malki’s father, Arnold Roth, has been “an egregious failure of justice.”

If you follow this blog of ours, you are in a position to know how calling the Tamimi case and the kid-gloves treatment of Jordan a failure of justice is no exaggeration.

The Jerusalem Post story briefly looks at two of the largest roadblocks impeding the progress of efforts to see Tamimi brought in chains from her safe harbor in Jordan to face criminal charges in Washington DC. 

One is expressed this way:

Yes, the US has huge leverage over Jordan – but how hard does it want to push?
That raises complex political and geostrategic issues that, just as in real life, are hinted at in the article but barely discussed.

The second has to do with this peculiar twist:
...Jordan signed a treaty with the US decades ago. But shortly after the 2017 extradition request, a Jordanian court ruled that the parliament had never ratified it. So the court said the treaty was not in effect and the government was barred from extraditing Tamimi.
The Court of Cassation, Amman [Image Source]
The Jordanian position was expressed by its highest judicial forum, the Court of Cassation. In a 2017 decision handed down just six days after the criminal complaint against Tamimi was unsealed and announced in Washington, that court in Amman gave a single reason why, in Bob's words, the treaty was not in effect. It should have been ratified, the judges ruled. 


And since the parliament did not ratify, the treaty - it was said - did not give Jordan a basis for complying with the US request for her to be handed over, allowing Tamimi herself, with the help of Aljazeera, to preposterously adopt the role of perplexed and misunderstood victim ["24-Mar-17: Our daughter's grinning killer is shocked the US is pursuing her and for no obvious reason"]

The ratification alibi is a claim that has never been made in a public way by any senior Jordanian official with the sole exception of its current deputy prime minister [we wrote about that too: "13-Nov-19: Thank you, Mr Foreign Minister"]. No one else - no Jordanian ambassador or other senior diplomat, no one speaking in the name of the Hashemite Royal Court - has ever addressed the issue for the record. 

It's almost as if they're too embarrassed. For just one reason, whatever the merits of the argument that Jordan's parliament never ratified the treaty after it was signed all those years ago, what's stopped them from doing it since then? No Jordanian source denies that they could simply ratify it this afternoon. Clearly there's something seriously disingenuous going on.

For its part, the United States has at all relevant times, right up until today, listed its 1995 Extradition Treaty with Jordan in the authoritative US catalogue of treaties it has with other countries. Check it out in the current and most recent online edition of "Treaties in Force" (sub-titled "A List of Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States in Force on January 1, 2020"), a 570-page long PDF compiled and kept updated by the Treaty Affairs Staff, Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State. 

The treaty with Jordan is listed there on page 245. The notation shows it was signed in Washington on March 28, 1995 and entered into force on July 29, 1995.

We don't know why reporters almost never refer to the Treaties in Force listing and ask the obvious questions. But the reality is they don't. Perhaps acknowledging that the treaty exists would lead to further questions which bring on discomfort and even more questions. 

Inside Jordan's parliament [Image Source]
The treaty exists. What's more, it has served as the basis for a series of extraditions by which Jordan willingly handed over fugitive Jordanian terrorists to the US. They were then put them on trial on US soil and US law and sent to US prisons. Yonah Bob's article names them.

With this in mind, you might expect a full-throated statement by senior US officials laying out a principled position. Something (we're making it up) along the lines of this:
"The United States, a supportive and generous strategic ally, believes Jordan has a clear and unambiguous obligation under our quarter-century old strategic agreement signed with His Majesty King Husssein, the revered late father of His Majesty King Abdullah II, today's king, to hand over to US justice the Jordanian fugitive who says she placed the bomb that killed so many innocents including two US nationals. Respectfully and in the name of our vital bilateral relations as well as justice, we expect Jordan to do this without further delay, thereby expressing honorable compliance with the principles that underpin our mutually beneficial alliance" and so on
but you would be disappointed. 

No US government voice has said anything like it. Not during the Obama presidency when the prosecution efforts got under way. And not during the four years of the Trump presidency when the criminal charge, sealed under conditions of strict secrecy in 2013, was finally unsealed in a blaze of welcome calls for justice to be done ["15-Mar-17: Sbarro and justice"].

What can we expect now? The Jerusalem Post offers this guarded view:
If there is hope, it might be if either the Biden administration shows a greater readiness to confront Jordan than either the Obama or Trump administrations, or if a new potential [Israeli] prime minister, like Bennett takes an interest in the issue. The coming months will show whether Biden, Bennett or any other new face has an interest in the issue, or whether the injustice will continue.

Since this is about hope, there's room be optimistic. Stay tuned.