Friday, July 10, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 02, 2020

02-Jul-20: In Washington, calling the Hashemite Kingdom to account for the murders of Americans

The three murdered Green Berets. From left: Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, Arizona. Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew C. Lewellen, 27, of Lawrence, Kansas with his parents. Staff Sgt. James F. (Jimmy) Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas
We began writing here nearly four years ago about the painful battle of three Gold Star families whose United States Army Special Forces sons (usually called Green Berets) were gunned down in cold blood on a Jordanian air base.

You're invited to browse
Along the way, we have gotten to know the people behind the headlines. Their fineness and determination are striking. How surprising is this given how their sons turned out? Not very.

The three men were part of a larger group of Americans stationed at King Faisal Air Base, a Jordan military facility located at Al-Jafr in a remote south-eastern corner of the kingdom, roughly 300 km from the capital Amman. As a US military newspaper reported at the time:
The U.S. military typically maintains about 2,000 U.S. forces on the ground in Jordan to support training with the Jordanian military and operations against the Islamic State in neighboring Iraq and Syria.
Around noon on November 4, 2016, a Jordanian soldier standing guard at the gates to the base, wearing body armor and armed with a high-power rifle, shot the three of them dead at point blank range as they returned to their station from a day's operations. The Americans were traveling in unarmored vehicles, not wearing body armor, carrying only sidearms, and raising their hands in surrender as they called out in English and Arabic to the guard whom they evidently knew that they were friends, not hostile, not shooting. They were sitting ducks.

The Jordanian authorities quickly announced this was all one unfortunate misunderstanding and it appears the US government backed them up for a while. According to reports at the time, two of the elements of that "misunderstanding" were that the Americans' vehicle should have stopped and didn't. And that someone somewhere fired shots at something, causing the guard to do what he did.

Initial American media reports downplayed the circumstances. Here's how the New York Times reported it:
The Jordanian military said the trainers failed to stop as they approached a gate at the air base in the southern part of the country... A Jordanian military official, who declined to be identified discussing a matter that is now under investigation, said the trainers had tried to enter the base in a vehicle without heeding the orders of guards at the gate to stop... Jordanian officials said privately that initial indications suggested the shooting at the King Faisal air base near Al Jafr on Friday stemmed from some sort of confusion rather than deliberate targeting of the Americans. But American military officials had questions about this version of events. American soldiers certainly know to slow or stop at military base gates, whether in Jordan or anywhere else in the world. It was not clear whether the Americans who were killed were driving or being driven... Security experts in Washington and Amman were concerned that the shooting might reflect increasing radicalization in Jordan... [New York Times. November 4, 2016]
Then a security camera video clip was found, an astonishingly clear view of what actually happened. And the shooter, clearly a very simple man, was quickly convicted. The video was then made public (it's here) and most, though not all, of the Jordanian nonsense came to an end. 

Now to yesterday's news as reported by Associated Press (this is the Washington Post version). Please notice how the families have generously gotten behind our efforts to see Ahlam Tamimi who murdered our child, extradited to the US. We're extremely grateful to them for their invaluable backing:
Families of US troops slain in Jordan seek action
By Matthew Lee | AP
July 1, 2020 at 2:33 p.m. UTC

WASHINGTON — The families of three Special Forces troops slain by a Jordanian soldier at a military base in Jordan in 2016 are calling on Congress to suspend aid to the key U.S. Mideast partner until it extradites the killer.
The families are also joining an effort to press Jordan to extradite a woman convicted in Israel of a 2001 bombing that killed 15 people, including two Americans. In letters sent to lawmakers this week, the families say assistance to Jordan should be cut until Jordan addresses the cases.
The soldier, Marek al-Tuwayha, has already been convicted in Jordan and is serving life in prison for the murders, but the families say the sentence is inadequate because he will likely be released after 20 years. The woman convicted of the deadly attack on a pizzeria in Israel, Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi, has lived freely in Jordan since she was released in a 2011 prisoner swap.
In their appeals to lawmakers, the families of the U.S. soldiers, Matthew Lewellen, of Missouri, Kevin McEnroe, of Arizona, and James Moriarty, of Texas, said Congress should withhold or reduce foreign aid to Jordan unless both cases are resolved.
The king of Jordan “should publicly apologize for the murders of their sons and explain why his country harbors a terrorist that killed Americans in the pizzeria bombing,” they said in a statement.
Jordan has rebuffed previous efforts to extradite al-Tamimi, citing double jeopardy considerations, but the Trump administration said recently it would consider withholding assistance as leverage to get Jordan to act on the matter and Jordan’s King Abdullah II has been told of the possibility, according to congressional aides.
“We support (al-Tamimi’s) extradition, along with a U.S. prosecution of the murderer of our sons,” said Moriarty’s father, James. “We also hope all of the families of Americans killed by Jordanians finally get some measure of justice. King Abdullah should remember this: We will not stop until we do.”
Al-Tuwayha is still in prison, and there are no known plans to release him. He has never apologized for the shooting at the King Faisal Air Base in November 2016, and his lawyer said there are no updates on the case. The lawyer, Subhi al-Mawwas, repeated al-Tuwayha’s claim in court that he opened fire because he thought the base was being attacked.
The U.S. has long been a major provider of aid to Jordan and, in early 2018, the administration signed a five-year, $6.4 billion aid agreement with the country that increased the annual amount of aid by $275 million to $1.3 billion.
Al-Tamimi is wanted by the U.S. on a charge of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against American nationals. The charge was filed under seal in 2013 and announced by the Justice Department four years later.
She was arrested by Israel weeks after the bombing and sentenced to 16 life terms but released in the 2011 Israel-Hamas prisoner swap and moved to Jordan. She has made frequent media appearances, expressing no remorse for the attack and saying she was pleased with the high death toll.
Among the victims of the attack was Malka Roth, a 15-year-old Israeli American girl, whose father, Arnold Roth, has led a campaign seeking al-Tamimi’s extradition.
Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan, contributed.
Our experience is that if you expect an appropriate and moral response, calling Jordan to account for murders done by its nationals is frustrating. But the pursuit of justice is a powerful incentive to keep working at it.

More power to the three Gold Star families.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

28-Jun-20: What does the US government say about Jordan's refusal to extradite Ahlam Tamimi?

[This image, minus the caption, is copied from the murderer's personal and still-current Instagram account]

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan's entire case for not extraditing Ahlam Tamimi who confessed openly and loudly to bombing the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria in 2001 is that it's unconstitutional under Jordanian law.

As we have said in public and in this blog many times, no expert we have consulted - and they are many - thinks there's any merit at all in the argument. A good starting point for a serious analysis is "Pressure on Jordan: Refusal to extradite mastermind of deadly 2001 Sbarro suicide bombing in Jerusalem contravenes international law and agreements" [National Security Law Brief, October 2017].

But it's a convenient and face-saving way for its insiders to evade having to do something - hand the killer over to US law enforcement as the 1995 Jordan/US treaty requires - that will be unpopular. Jordan's deep devotion to pervasive and mainstream antisemitism distinguishes it even by Middle East standards. (The kingdom's Jewish population is zero.)

But leaving the rhetoric and sloganeering aside, what does the United States officially think about Jordan's shameful evasion of its fundamental responsibility to its most strategic ally, the United States?

In 2019, Jordan did not extradite Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, a Jordanian national in her mid-30s, who has been charged in the United States with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the United States resulting in death. The charge is related to her participation in the August 9, 2001, suicide bomb attack at a pizzeria in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two U.S. nationals. Four other U.S. nationals were among the approximately 122 others injured in the attack. Following publication of the 2018 Country Reports on Terrorism, Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi confirmed that U.S. authorities asked Jordan to extradite Tamimi, and he expressed the view that Jordan’s constitution does not allow the extradition of a Jordanian citizen to a third country. The United States regards the extradition treaty with Jordan as valid and in force.
That entire last paragraph (minus the yellow which we added so that you won't miss those key words) is copied verbatim from the US State Department's annual Country Reports on Terrorism, the 2019  edition of which was released just a few days ago, on June 24, 2020.

Even more than in previous editions, this year's is strikingly clear on the question of the treaty's validity and therefore of Jordan's breach. You can see for yourself on page 126 of the 304 page tome which is downloadable as a PDF from here.

None of this fazes the Jordanians. 

They keep Tamimi, often described as a sociopath and certainly a lightning rod for profound and ultra-violent bigotry, safe from the clutches of the FBI and the Department of Justice. And far from a Washington courthouse where prosecutors are waiting for her arrival. Because... well, it's what Jordan's citizenry overwhelmingly want. 

One of the reasons Jordanians at all levels of their society get away with this is that no one in a position of power has told them in a clear-enough manner how disgusting their strategy is. And that it has to end immediately as a matter of fundamental decency. And in order to avoid further self-shaming by all the Jordanians involved. 

Some of the American politicians, including Congressional Representatives and Senators who could have spoken out - but so far have not - are featured in our previous blog-post: "26-Jun-20: Private meetings with His Majesty and the injustice they conceal".

Don't be a politician. Do the decent thing. Sign our petition addressing the US government and asking for the appropriate message to be conveyed to those who safeguard the incredible life our child's murderer lives in Jordan's capital city.

The petition is here.

Friday, June 26, 2020

26-Jun-20: Private meetings with His Majesty and the injustice they conceal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a private audience with Jordan's monarch
via video link June 16, 2020 [Source: Jordanian media]

A series of meetings over two days last week in the US Congress enabled Jordan's King Abdullah II to "brief" (that's the word that was used) American lawmakers on His Majesty's views about a variety of issues. Turns out these were chiefly about Israel and not in a flattering way.

Obviously Jordan's ongoing efforts to thwart the extradition of a Jordanian fugitive from US justice, Ahlam Tamimi, was not top of the king's talking points list. Since March 2017, Jordan has been aggressively blocking Department of Justice efforts to have Tamimi taken into custody in Jordan and brought to trial in Washington. That's when formal US criminal charges against Tamimi were first unsealed and she became an FBI Most Wanted fugitive

We laid all of this out in a dossier we produced overnight and then distributed to as many of those attending as we could reach by email in the 24 hours before the event. (Our dossier is here.) 

Here is how Associated Press described the Jordanian plan. in a report published ahead of the meetings. There's a lot packed into this synndicated story, so read carefully. Notice that they quote us:
US considers withholding aid to Jordan to force extradition
June 16, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is considering withholding aid to one of its closest Arab partners, Jordan, in a bid to secure the extradition of a woman convicted in Israel of a 2001 bombing that killed 15 people, including two American citizens.

The administration says it’s weighing “all options” to press Jordan to extradite Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, who is wanted by the U.S. on a charge of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against American nationals. The charge was filed under seal in 2013 and announced by the Justice Department four years later.

The extradition issue is likely to be raised this week when Jordan’s King Abdullah II speaks to several congressional committees to voice his opposition to Israel’s plans to annex portions of the West Bank.

Al-Tamimi is on the FBI’s list of “most wanted terrorists” for her role in the suicide bombing at a crowded Jerusalem pizzeria. It was one of the deadliest attacks during the second Palestinian uprising.

She has lived freely in Jordan since Israel released her in a 2011 prisoner swap with the militant group Hamas. Jordanian authorities have rebuffed U.S. requests to turn her over, despite an extradition treaty. Jordan has a large Palestinian population, and it’s unclear if a threat over aid would cause it to rethink its position.

Ahead of King Abdullah’s video congressional appearances, scheduled for Wednesday with the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs committees, the State Department said that billions of dollars of foreign assistance to Jordan could be used as leverage to get Jordanian authorities to extradite Al-Tamimi.

The threat came in written answers submitted by the administration’s nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to Jordan, Henry Wooster, to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in response to questions posed by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

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

Asked specifically if aid to Jordan would be part of that leverage in the Al-Tamimi case, Wooster replied: “If confirmed, I would explore all options to bring Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi to justice, secure her extradition, and address the broader issues associated with the extradition treaty.” Wooster’s responses to the questions were obtained by The Associated Press.

The reference to aid in Wooster’s response was unusual. Previously, the Trump administration, and the Obama administration before it, had taken a low-key approach to Al-Tamimi, bringing it up in private conversations with Jordanian officials but shying away from a public fight with a rare Arab country that recognizes Israel and has been a dependable source of intelligence information about the region, including in neighboring Syria.

The U.S. has long been a major provider of aid to Jordan. In early 2018, the Trump administration signed a five-year, $6.4 billion aid agreement with Jordan that increased the annual amount of aid by $275 million to $1.3 billion. That boost “highlights the pivotal role Jordan plays in helping foster and safeguard regional stability and supports U.S. objectives such as the global campaign to defeat ISIS, counter-terrorism cooperation and economic development,” the State Department said then.

Al-Tamimi was arrested by Israel weeks after the bombing and sentenced to 16 life terms but released in the 2011 Israel-Hamas prisoner swap and moved to Jordan. She has made frequent media appearances, expressing no remorse for the attack and saying she was pleased with the high death toll.

Among the victims of the attack was Malka Roth, a 15-year-old Israeli American girl, whose father, Arnold Roth, has led a campaign seeking Al-Tamimi’s extradition.

In an interview Monday, Roth said his attempts to speak to Jordanian officials, including a letter sent to the ambassador in Washington last year, have been ignored. “The Jordanians have been egregiously rude and unhelpful in every possible way which we’ve tried to engage with them,” he said.

Roth said he has begun to make progress with members of Congress, citing an April 30 letter signed by seven Republican lawmakers to Jordan’s ambassador seeking Al-Tamimi’s extradition.

“My wife and I have been battling since February 2012 to see the United States charge, extradite and prosecute this horrifying fugitive from justice who proudly boasts of murdering so many children,” he said.

The blast at the Sbarro restaurant in downtown Jerusalem went off on the afternoon of Aug. 9, 2001. The assailant detonated explosives hidden in a guitar case packed with nails. Among those killed were seven between the ages of 2 and 16, and scores were wounded.

Al-Tamimi, a Hamas activist who chose the target and guided the bomber there, said in a 2017 interview with the AP that Palestinians have a right to resist Israeli rule by any means.

In 2017, Jordan’s high court ruled she could not be extradited, reportedly saying the 1995 extradition treaty had not been ratified. She has also claimed the U.S. has no right to charge her because she was already tried and sentenced in Israel.

In Jordan on Tuesday, Al-Tamimi’s extended family sent a letter to the king urging him to resist the American pressure and to “close the file” against her. It said the extradition request was “political.” “Jordan, under your Hashemite flag, has not and will not accept any compromises that detract from its human dignity and national sovereignty over all its national soil,” the letter said.

There was no immediate comment from the palace.

Federman reported from Jerusalem. Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan, contributed.
AP's story got wide syndication. We saw versions of it in the New York Times, Washington Post, US News, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post (under the heart-warming headline "Abdullah getting some rare heat from DC"), Ynet Israel,, Gulf News (United Arab Emirates), on radio news right across the US and on other news platforms.

We know - but only because people who were there told us - that the hearings, sorry, briefings, took place. No news industry source has reported on it. And from friendly sources in Washington, it was said (though not in very concrete terms) that the Tamimi extradition was raised in questions. 

What else was the king, sitting in his palace and communicating via video link, asked? We know almost nothing. What were the questions? Who asked them? What answers did they get? How did the king react? All our efforts to find out have been met with dark suggestions that everyone who knows the answers is sworn to secrecy.

These were virtual meetings, conducted via Cisco Webex, since the king was in Jordan and not Washington when he delivered the "briefings". Staffers, we're told, were not allowed in. Which is amazing. Bordering on the incomprehensible. Where are the media? The staffers? The leaks?

But it turns out the meetings (OK, briefings) aren't actually confidential at all. We found a published report of what happened and details of at least some of those who participated. It's on the web. Any one interested can see it.

It's a report that comes from Jordan's Royal Hashemite Household.

Pause to think about that before we go further. The head of a state against whom substantial sanctions were recently legislated and signed into law by the President of the United States, and whose deployment are currently being threatened ["How Jordan’s refusal to extradite a convicted terrorist could imperil $1.5 billion in US aid", Al-Monitor, May 14, 2020] asks for and gets permission to meet directly with lawmakers inside their parliament over a period of two working days and involving multiple committees.

What's more, the participants - among the most influential and powerful politicians in the entire United States - agree (or so it appears) to keep the whole affair secret. Not a word of the substance of those two days of meetings is released.

If we're misinterpreting, maybe someone can straighten us out. 

Only one US lawmaker appears to have acknowledged that he "met" (meaning via video conference) during the Jordanian king's two-day blitz and that's the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee [here]:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today hosted a virtual committee coffee with King Abdullah II of Jordan to discuss the strong, strategic relationship between the United States and Jordan.
“The United States and Jordan share a long history of mutual cooperation on issues ranging from security to trade. This relationship is one based on shared values and regional objectives,” said Risch. “Jordan has been central to promoting peace in the Middle East, and I look forward to our continued work together to achieve stability in the region.”
“We also thank our Jordanian partners for their generosity in hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees, as well as their assistance in fighting extremism,” continued Risch. “While we have made significant progress, continued counterterrorism pressure is required to ensure the Islamic State is never again in a position to destabilize the region. I look forward to continuing to build upon this important relationship in the months and years ahead.”
Unfortunately not a word about Jordan continuing to harbor confessed bomber/terrorist Ahlam Tamimi. No mention of Congress' decision to legislate sanctions directed at Jordan. Polite silence on Jordan's flagrant disregard for is 1995 Extradition Treaty with the US. And once again the case of our murdered daughter Malki is ignored.

Is there a dispute in US government circles about whether or not Jordan is in breach of its Extradition Treaty? No, none at all. As it happens, the State Department's annual Country Reports on Terrorism for 2019, underscored that when its latest version emerged earlier this week. This year's is pretty clear on the question of the treaty's validity. See page 126 of the 304 page tome under Jordan:
In 2019, Jordan did not extradite Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, a Jordanian national in her mid-30s, who has been charged in the United States with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the United States resulting in death. The charge is related to her participation in the August 9, 2001, suicide bomb attack at a pizzeria in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two U.S. nationals. Four other U.S. nationals were among the approximately 122 others injured in the attack. Following publication of the 2018 Country Reports on Terrorism, Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi confirmed that U.S. authorities asked Jordan to extradite Tamimi, and he expressed the view that Jordan’s constitution does not allow the extradition of a Jordanian citizen to a third country. The United States regards the extradition treaty with Jordan as valid and in force.
So now, with all those thoughts in mind, here is the one and only report to have emerged so far about what happened when Jordan's king delivered his briefings last week to a gathering of America's most powerful. It's published [here] by Jordan's Washington Embassy last week. Essentially the same content can be found on the Jordan Vista website as well as the government-mouthpiece newspaper Jordan Times. The yellow highlighting below is ours:
His Majesty King Abdullah on Tuesday warned that any unilateral Israeli measure to annex lands in the West Bank is unacceptable and undermines the prospects of achieving peace and stability in the region.
At meetings held via conference calls with US Congressional leaders and committees on Tuesday and Wednesday, attended by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, King Abdullah stressed the importance of establishing an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state on the 4 June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
In calls with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, US House of Representatives’ Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the Appropriations Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programmes at the Senate and the House, His Majesty discussed the strategic partnership between Jordan and the United States, and the latest regional developments, foremost of which is the Palestinian cause.
The King reaffirmed the strength of Jordanian-US relations, and keenness to enhance cooperation across various sectors, expressing appreciation for the support provided by the United States to Jordan in development and defence.
Discussions covered efforts to reach political solutions to crises in the Middle East, as well as regional and international efforts to fight terrorism within a holistic approach.
International efforts to counter coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and cooperation to mitigate its humanitarian and economic repercussions were also discussed.
The US lawmakers described His Majesty as the voice of moderation in the region, expressing keenness to hear from the King on developments in the Middle East.
They also commended Jordan’s handling of COVID-19 and the measures taken to ensure public health and safety.
Moreover, they expressed appreciation of His Majesty and his ongoing outreach to Congress leaders and committees, despite the circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Adviser to His Majesty for Communication and Coordination Bisher Khasawneh, Adviser to His Majesty for Policies and Media Kemal Al Nasser, and Jordan’s Ambassador in Washington, DC, Dina Kawar attended the meetings.
Royal Hashemite Court 
16 June 2020 
So in summary: Which US lawmakers did Jordan's king have the rare privilege of addressing inside the Congress during two busy working days of closed-door, unpublicized meetings? At minimum, according to the Jordanians - 
(Click the links above to see the lists of members.)

Jordan's Royal Household also took the liberty of publishing photos [here] of some of the Congress members who took part in these confidential gatherings - people who now act as if they cannot even confirm they were there! And who quite possibly don't even know their participation was made a matter of public record by the briefing side.

Here are just a few of those photos, all of them - to be clear about this - from Jordanian online sources:

Rep Brad Sherman (D-CA) is briefed by the king [Via Jordanian government] 
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) is briefed by the king [Via Jordanian government] 
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep Nita Lowey [D-NY] is briefed by the king [Via Jordanian government] 
Rep Barbara Lee (D-CA) is briefed by the king [Via Jordanian government]  
Rep Hal Rogers (R-KY) is briefed by the king [Via Jordanian government]
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) is briefed by the king [Via Jordanian government]
Rep Marcy Kaptor (D-OH) is briefed by the king [Via Jordanian government]
Rep Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) is briefed by the king [Via Jordanian government]

We downloaded and saved more photos than just these. It seems the Jordanians wanted to make a splash.

Members of Congress probably don't read this blog. But if they did - and frankly even if they don't - we would want them to know how we feel. So:
Ladies and gentlemen of Congress, in giving honor and respect to Jordan's king last week and then complying what we think is his request for the interaction to stay secret, you do a tremendous dishonour to the life and memory of our daughter Malki.

The absurdity of complying with a Jordanian request to keep things quiet is underscored by how that confidentiality was breached within hours by the king and his retinue. The confidentiality was one-sided and humiliating. Other than your compliments, they didn't publish a single word of your comments or questions.

They didn't mention our murdered child or the Jordanian woman who admits she carried out a massacre that targeted children just like, and including, our daughter who was 15. They exploited your silence so that they could put out a one-sided piece of propaganda, half of a dialogue carefully edited to exclude whatever they cared to exclude, complete with photos of some of you listening on in awe.
Trying to see justice done in a situation like the one we - Frimet and Arnold Roth, parents of Malki of blessed memory - have been living through in the years since our child's life was taken from us is strange. We haven't run into anyone who denies that justice is a supreme value. It's subject on which there's broad agreement.

But we have encountered people who understand justice in ways we simply can't recognize.

Our task, our fate, has turned out to be that we need to remind people of some of the basics in life. The woman who confesses happily to planting the bomb at Sbarro tells her audiences this was a fine act, a divine act. Where she lives (Jordan, to be clear) this is true, as they see it. 

For the rest of us, that's a horror. Killing children? Regretting that you didn't kill more? And becoming a national celebrity? What's terribly, indescribably wrong with this picture?

We have to talk to reporters or their editors or sometimes politicians or commentators or experts who, by their lack of interest and occasionally by their hostility, convey to us that the bomber might be right. That there are actually two ways to look at this.

We hoped the senior American lawmakers who we knew (because Associated Press revealed it ahead of time) were meeting last week with the Jordanian king would remember the basic values of the society that gave them their position and influence. Sadly, we don't know if any of them did or if they will. We need them to become re-acquainted with justice and with the moral courage to stand up for it.

Monday, June 22, 2020

22-Jun-20: Talking justice to an empty room: Albert Dadon interviews Arnold Roth

The Melbourne-based Leadership Dialogue Institutea private diplomatic channel fostering closer cultural ties among Australia, the UK, and Israel, published a Frank Talk interview, one in a successful series, on June 18, 2020. 

The latest video features Albert Dadon posing questions to Arnold Roth, focusing on the Roth family's efforts to see justice done in the case of the fugitive bomber who for years has claimed credit for the 2001 bombing of Jerusalem's Sbarro Pizzeria.

The video is on-line here. Or click the image above.

22-Jun-20: We need your voice, we need your signature: Please sign our petition

Click here to go to the petition site

A few days ago, a small group of volunteers got together to produce a petition on the site calling on the United States to apply pressure on the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan so that, after years of avoiding a hard decision, it finally complies with its legal, moral and treaty obligations in the Ahlam Tamimi extradition.

There are background notes and a video at the petition site so that those who come with  no prior knowledge of the painful chapter will learn enough to form a view. And, we hope, to add their support by signing the petition.

Click to go to the petition site and please share the link and the story behind it with your friends.

Friday, June 19, 2020

19-Jun-20: Aljazeera on the Tamimi extradition: Our commentary

Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria, minutes after the bombing led by Tamimi
It's an intense time for us on multiple fronts. We've been doing a lot of tweeting and ZOOMing and Whatsapping. But somehow not much - and not enough - blogging. Time to do some catching up.

Over at Aljazeera, an English-language piece, "'Close the file': Jordan king urged to deny US extradition demand" by Ali Younes takes an inevitably sympathetic look at the efforts currently being made by a fugitive terrorist, Ahlam Tamimi, the most wanted female terrorist in the world (Fox News) to stop certain pesky efforts by US law enforcement to call her to account. And to escape being incarcerated in a US Federal prison for a very long time.

To the writer's credit, he offered Arnold Roth an opportunity to be heard on an issue that, it goes without saying, is at the very heart of our deepest concerns. In the end, and we'll get to this below, the article deals far more with viewpoints we don't like and think are lacking in accuracy and logic than with ours.

Quote:  Al-Tamimi - a Jordanian citizen who was convicted in Israel and sentenced to multiple life sentences after 15 people, including two Israeli-Americans, were killed in the blast - was released to Jordan in a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel in 2011.
We say: The "multiple" in that sentence is 16. Sixteen. Six. Teen. One for each of her victims. Think back to the last time you heard about a prison sentence anywhere as large as that. But note that the "including two Israeli-Americans" isn't right. Two of the murdered were females with American citizenship: our daughter Malki, an Israeli citizen as well as a US citizen, who was 15 and had lived here in Jerusalem since she was two years old. And Shoshana Hayman Greenbaum, a beloved school teacher living in New Jersey, her parents' only child and pregnant for the first time. Shoshana wasn't an Israeli-American; she was simply an American who was visiting Israel. A tourist who is now buried a short walk away from our Malki. A third American female living in Israel, the mother of a two year-old child who was with her in the pizzeria but survived uninjured, has remained in a vegetative coma through all the years since the massacre. Tamimi doesn''t mention her. Nor do most news reports about how many people were murdered there that day. Because that young mother - whose daughter is now a mother herself - is alive. Only she's comatose. The tragedy of the human losses inflicted by Tamimi's evil get very little attention generally and especially in Aljazeera's stories.

Quote: Her family acknowledged that Jordan was under pressure by the US government to extradite her, but urged the king to work to "close the file" and "reject the US demands that are based on political considerations, not legal ones".
We say: Under pressure? That's a strange way to frame it. The US has been asking Jordan since 2013, meaning for seven years, to apprehend Tamimi and to make her available to US law enforcement. The US claim is based on the 1995 Extradition Treaty signed (but now repudiated) by the Jordanian king's father and the US government of Bill Clinton. Are those American demands based on political considerations? No, unless you're a Tamimi ally. Tamimi says without the slightest remorse or apology that she brought the bomb to the pizzeria and placed it there. She boasts about this and about the children she blew to pieces. She's proud of the things she did. They made her a VIP. She says [here] she wishes she had killed more than the mere 15 lives she extinguished that day. And this: Tamimi doesn't make any pretence to political considerations in the atrocity she calls "my operation". It wasn't about politics. Or occupied territories. Or Green Lines. What was it about? She tells it plainly here: "08-Oct-17: Why kill religious Jewish children? Because, says Hamas celebrity-jihadist, this is a religious struggle". Tamimi sees herself as a holy warrior. The US sees her as a fugitive from justice. And Aljazeera sees her as a victim of political trickery.

Quote: Seven members of the US Congress sent a letter to the Jordanian embassy in Washington DC last May demanding that Jordan "hand over" al-Tamimi to the US government.
We say: Actually, no. The letter was sent on April 30, 2020 by Representatives Greg Steube (R-Fla.); Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.); Ted Yoho (R-Fla.); Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.); Brian Mast (R-Fla.); Scott Perry (R-Penn.); and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas). It personally addresses Jordan's ambassador in Washington, Dina Kawar. The text is reproduced here ["05-May-20: From Congress, concern about how Jordanians deal with the fugitive terrorist in their midst"]; the whole letter is online as a PDF here. And no, the words "hand over" don't appear as anyone who has read it would notice. The lawmakers refer to the treaty in their very polite and respectful letter and to those US requests of Jordan that started in 2013. And then they say this:
The Hashemite Kingdom refused. It continues to refuse until today. This is a matter of grave and growing concern to the Congress and to all Americans. 
Here's their "demand": 
We believe it is of the highest importance to US/Jordan relations that an outcome is found that honors Jordanian law while ensuring this unrepentant terrorist and murderer of innocent Americans is brought to US justice. Extraditing Tamimi within the framework of a long-standing, effective treaty is a powerful statement that Jordan will not tolerate terrorism nor its promotion. We reaffirm our appreciation for His Majesty King Abdullah II and his inspirational leadership and look forward to the further flourishing of our mutually important alliance.
Some demand. Some journalism.

Quote: Jordan's highest court ruled in 2017 that al-Tamimi cannot be extradited to the United States because a 1995 extradition treaty signed between the two countries was not ratified by Jordan's Parliament, making it unconstitutional for Jordanian courts to approve US requests.
We say: True up to a point but lacking in essential context and consequence. A more diligent journalist might have gone on to note that (a) the US, which has solid reasons for believing this, says the treaty is fully valid today and always was; (b) Jordan's rubber-stamp parliament could have ratified the treaty with the kingdom's most important ally every single day since June 1995 including today. But it chooses not to; (c) the Jordanians extradited fugitive terrorists to the US repeatedly right up until the Tamimi decison in March 2017. And there's this: if the Aljazeera reporter had asked us, we would have told him what a State Department official told us for the record last year: that the government of Jordan provided the US with instruments of ratification back in 1995 before the treaty went into effect. We wish American government officials cared a little less about hurting the feelings of the lying Jordanians and a little more about the damage that's being done to justice.  

Quote: Multiple US officials, however, told Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity, because they were not allowed to speak to the media, that Wooster's statement [our insert: that the US would consider "all options" to press Jordan to extradite al-Tamimi, including leveraging US aid to Amman] did not veer from traditional diplomatic language used at the State Department, and did not indicate the US government will withhold US aid to Jordan.
We say: The vagueness of this claim is damning. Jordan's problem isn't the language being used by the Americans. Their problem is with US law. The reporter could have said something about the "all options" terminology because to anyone paying attention it actually means something with meaningful punch. Congress enacted a law that President Trump signed into effect on December 20, 2019. That law, which has widely analyzed these past few weeks in Jordan's media, provides a powerful sanction that while it doesn't mention Jordan clearly targets it. The details are here.

Quote: Extraditing her to the United States is impossible from a Jordanian legal perspective, said Laith Nasrawin, a constitutional law professor at the University of Jordan. "The 1995 extradition treaty, having not been ratified by the parliament, does not carry the weight of the law and is invalid from the court's perspective," Nasrawin said. "The extradition treaty may carry weight on an international level between the US and Jordan, but domestically and legally, the treaty is unconstitutional."
We say: We don't know Professor Nasrawin. We do however know more than most people about the legal claims being put forward to argue how and why Jordan "cannot" extradite Tamimi. None of the legal experts we have consulted thinks there's any merit at all in Jordan's position. As for the quote from Nasrawin, the way it's reproduced in the article, we think it's gibberish. What he said might even be something different from what he said. We don't know. But it certainly doesn't have the sound of serious legal expertise. Perhaps the reporter ought to be asked to clarify it. What for instance does "invalid from the court's perspective" mean? Is it invalid or just sort of? What's more, the US lawmakers' letter to Ambassador Kawar asks questions about other current and valid Jordanian extradition treaties. There are many of them. If those questions get answered frankly, this whole charade will be over. So far, Jordan's Ambassador Kawar has stayed silent on the letter. And when we asked her essentially the same questions in a December 2019, she never bothered to respond. Galling but it's a strategy.

Quote: In 1995, Jordan extradited Eyad Ismail Najim, a Jordanian citizen implicated in the 1993 New York City bombing, immediately after the two countries signed the treaty. But Najim was extradited only after he signed documents agreeing to stand trial in the US, not because of a court ruling, according to Jordanian officials familiar with the case.
We say: This is a bizarre piece of reportage. The 1995 treaty was signed because of the US insistence on bringing the 1993 World Trade Center bombing suspect to justice. Here's how the LA Times reported it at the time: "U.S. intelligence has long known where to find Najim but the FBI was unable to request extradition until a treaty was worked out with Jordan in March, the sources said. The final instruments of extradition were completed and exchanged last Saturday, allowing the FBI to proceed. The indictment had been sealed to ensure that Najim would not learn that he had been identified and try to flee again." The notion that he consented to being convicted in the US is homorous but absurd. And by the way, does Aljazeera know of any other Jordanians who were extradited to the US under the treaty? We certainly do. Happy to share that information with them. If they care to know.

Quote: In an interview with Al Jazeera in 2017, Ahlam al-Tamimi said she never knew American nationals were killed in the bombing and the Israeli government never mentioned that during her trial. "The first time I ever knew that Americans were killed was when the Interpol in Jordan told me about the charges filed in the US against me," she said.
We say: Actually we carefully analyzed - and tore to pieces - that 2017 interiew here: "24-Mar-17: Our daughter's grinning killer is shocked the US is pursuing her and for no obvious reason". It happens to be written by the same reporter as this one. But here's the point. Does anyone care what Ahlam Tamimi says she knew about her victims and their citizenship? Why does the man from Aljazeera? The matter has no consequence and interests no one. It's irrelevant to the law and it ought to be irrelevant to his analysis.

Quote:  The article quotes Arnold Roth saying this: "None of the lawyers with whom I have discussed it thinks the Jordanian claim has any real basis. Jordan has extradited terrorists to the US again and again ... As the father of one of the children she targeted for murder, I don't need much explaining by Jordanians about what makes extraditing Tamimi so different," he said.
We say: And that's all. But Arnold Roth actually said much more than that in the letter he sent to Aljazeera's Ali Younes this past week, after being invited to offer a comment. We don't complain about Younes quoting him briefly - that's legitimate. But for more serious-minded readers, here's the whole Roth quotation:
Terrorism charges were filed by US Federal prosecutors against the confessed Sbarro bomber, Ahlam Tamimi, a Jordanian, in 2013, years before we knew about their existence. 

They were kept sealed by law. Meaning no one, not even the US Congress, knew about them until they were announced four years later. 

But from my conversations with American law enforcement officials, I believe they were not an absolute secret. That's because Jordanian government officials certainly knew about them. Multiple rounds of futile negotiations took place secretly between the US and its close strategic ally Jordan during those four years. The US goal was to get Tamimi extradited and brought into a Federal court to answer to the very serious charges that are still facing her.
And the Jordanian response was to keep her safe and in Amman.

Less than a week after the unsealing of those charges against Tamimi, Jordan's Court of Cassation ruled for the first time that the King Hussein/Bill Clinton 1995 treaty was constitutionally invalid and she could not be handed over to the Americans. 

That area of law is not my personal field. [Roth is a lawyer.] But none of the lawyers with whom I have discussed it thinks the Jordanian claim has any real basis. Jordan has extradited terrorists to the US again and again. Tamimi is different. As the father of one of the children she targeted for murder, I don't need much explaining by Jordanians about what makes extraditing Tamimi so different.

Jordan's brazen refusal to comply with a treaty that undoubtedly was valid until Jordan decided it could not remain valid has gone on for years. The demand to see her handed over is not new. The $5M reward on her head is also not new.

As a technology entrepreneur, I have spent time in Jordan building commercial relations that would have benefitted both sides. I had friends there and enjoyed my visits. I will not be going there again. Today, like many others, I look on aghast at Jordan's celebration of Tamimi as a figure of national admiration, as an inspiration to more and larger acts of terror, as a reason to deny justice and as a cause worth imperilling Jordan's relations with the United States. It all amounts to a colossal lost opportunity for Jordan, for the US and even for Israel.

The Congress enacted a sanction targeting Jordan this past December. Like most rational people, I think it will be a terrible shame if that sanction has to be applied. But I believe in the logic of carefully applying sanctions in specific situations. The Tamimi case underscores how Jordan has lost its way. It needs to rediscover the role that justice plays in every decent society.
We look forward to seeing much more coverage on the Aljazeera site of ongoing US efforts to bring Tamimi to justice in a Washington court. And we're ready to help them get their facts less wrong every time they ask.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

17-Jun-20: The odds tend to be stacked against people who want to see actual justice done

David Horovitz, founder and editor of Times of Israel, sent this letter today to the TOI Community list. It's shared here with his permission.

Last month, as some of you may recall, I wrote a lengthy story about Malki Roth, a 15-year-old Israeli girl who was one of the 14 people killed in the 2001 Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem. The article detailed the years-long effort by her bereaved family to have Ahlam Tamimi extradited from Jordan to stand trial in the United States. 

Tamimi, the unrepentant terrorist who orchestrated that monstrous attack in the popular pizza parlor, was freed by Israel in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner “exchange.”

Roth held dual Israeli-American citizenship, and the US has been focusing increasing attention on the case — filing charges against Tamimi in 2013; announcing those charges in 2017; urging Jordan to honor its extradition treaty in her case; and, in December 2019, passing legislation enabling the withholding of US foreign aid to Jordan if the kingdom continues to refuse to do so. 

Now, the Trump Administration’s ambassador-designate to Jordan, Henry Wooster, has promised in written answers to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to “explore all options” to secure Tamimi’s extradition and bring her to justice, noting: “US generosity to Jordan in Foreign Military Financing as well as economic support and other assistance is carefully calibrated to protect and advance the range of US interests in Jordan and in the region.”

No potential US ambassador would comment in this way on so sensitive an issue without careful consultation among his superiors.

A cynical take on the timing of Wooster’s remarks might suggest that the Trump Administration is sending a signal to Jordan’s King Abdullah amid the escalating tension surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declared intention to start annexing the Jordan Valley and the West Bank settlements two weeks from now — a move bitterly opposed by Amman and deemed “unacceptable” by the king only yesterday.

US pressure on Abdullah to extradite Tamimi is extremely discomfiting for the monarch. The unrepentant killer has become quite the celebrity in her home country, and acquiescence to the US extradition request could cause ructions. Is the US indicating to Abdullah that he might want to dial down his anti-annexation efforts, or risk a dialing up of the US pressure for Tamimi to be handed over?

If that sounds conspiratorial, it is worth noting that the Roth family’s battle for justice has played out through almost a decade of geopolitical maneuverings, betrayals and hypocrisies. As Malki’s father, Arnold Roth, noted yesterday, when the news broke of Wooster’s comments, “the odds tend to be stacked against people who want to see actual justice done in actual cases where they feel personally engaged.”

At the same time, he also called Wooster’s remarks “encouraging” and “a meaningful step forward in exposing and we hope ending a dark chapter.”

Tamimi, “who chose Sbarro as her target and brought the human bomb there because of the children she knew would be murdered,” Arnold Roth noted, “should never have been freed. And once freed and back in Jordan, she should never have been allowed to become an adored celebrity. And once she was famous, Jordan should have jumped at the opportunity to hand over to their most important ally, the US.

We long for the day she faces justice in a US court,” he concluded.

Maybe, just maybe, that day is now a little nearer.

Monday, May 25, 2020

25-May-20: Monday: Two Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attacks

Image Source: NYTimes
Ramadan, culminating in Eid al Fitr which was marked by Moslems on Saturday and Sunday, has ended and the head of the Palestinian Authority has notified the world that security co-operation with the Israelis is now ended.

There are signs that the Palestinian Arab street has taken note.

A report broke this morning around 10:30 am of a thwarted Arab-on-=Israeli stabbing attack. Eight Palestinian Arabs are reported [JNS] this morning to have approached a group of soldiers on patrol near Amichai, a small new Jewish community of some 200 inhabitants, first populated in early 2018 and located northeast of the Palestinian Arab administrative capital, Ramallah. 

Two of the Arabs, said to be residents of nearby al-Mughayyir village (Times of Israel said they were brothers), assaulted the soldiers attempting to injure them with what the IDF called “sharp agricultural instruments.” The soldiers fired back at the assailants, reportedly hitting them in the lower extremities and injuring them. They subsequently received medical attention at a hospital in Ramallah, according to the IDF. 

The Palestinian Authority’s WAFA news agency offered no details about the extent of their injuries. The Israeli soldiers suffered no injuris in the course of the attack.

Later today (Monday around 4:15 pm), an Arab said to be about 30 and armed with a box cuttter knife [pictured here] as well as tear gas (according to Times of Israel) charged at a Border Guard police officer on on Meir Necker Street in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood. The location of the attack close to Jabel Mukaber, an Arab quarter. The attacker was reportedly shouting “Allah Akbar” as he hurled himself on his target.

He was shot by other officers at the scene and according to JNS was being ttreat at Hadassah Ein Karem medical center where he was said to be in serious condition.

An Israeli police officer was injured in the attack.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

16-May-20: The friends of Jordanian fugitive Ahlam Tamimi, including her lawyers, are speaking up. But not all of them.

This appeared on Instagram today. We explain it below.
There's a serious degree of interest and concern in Jordan over the letter that seven US Congressional lawmakers sent to Jordan's ambassador to Washington three weeks ago.

As far as we know, the embassy hasn't responded so far.

The text of that letter and some examples of the rising anxiety demonstrated by Jordan's news industry are both in this long post we put up on Thursday: "14-May-20: In Jordan, they're standing with confessed bomber Tamimi but worried".

In tonight's update, there's an Arabic report (machine translated to English) from a Jordanian news site, Addustour, that was published this afternoon (Saturday):


Amman: The Legal Defense Committee formed by the Jordanian lawyers for the liberated prisoner and Jordanian citizen, Ahlam Al-Tamimi, followed the news that circulated about Republican Party representatives in the American Congress who sent a message to the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Washington, its content a threat to impose sanctions on the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to hand over Jordanian citizenship. 

The freed prisoner, Ahlam Al-Tamimi... is considering a case brought by a group of Zionist Jews against Ahlam's citizenship. In this regard, the defense establishment asserts the following:
  1. This request comes in the context of the movement of the American Zionist lobby to pressure the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the context of the deal of the century.
  2. This request is not separate from the US administration's support for the Zionist entity that seeks to annex the settlements of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.
  3. [Tamimi's] legal defence team confirms that the Jordanian judiciary previously said its clear and unequivocal speech in rejecting the request to extradite [Tamimi] via criminal case number 16685/2016 which was appealed and dismissed by the highest judicial body in Jordan on the basis of lack of fulfillment of extradition conditions, the most important of which is the absence of an approved extradition agreement under law from the National Assembly [Jordan's parliament] and compliance with its constitutional requirements.
  4. The defence team confirms that the Jordanian judiciary will address this Zionist pressure with its known patriotism to prevent any step towards handing over Jordanian citizen Ahlam Tamimi which affects Jordanian national sovereignty. It affirm its previous decisions not to surrender in line with the directives of the Jordanian state, leadership, government and people.
  5. The defense team confirms that it trusts Jordan's leadership, government and people to not accept the extradition of its citizens, to not accept abuse of Jordanian national sovereignty, to not become subject to blackmail or coercive policies, that the dignity of its children is not subject to bargaining, that the Jordanian state will not do anything contrary to what was decided by the Jordanian judiciary and represented by Jordan's highest judicial authority.
  6. The defense team confirms that it stands behind Ahlam Tamimi in defending her and will spare no effort in taking all legal measures to prevent any step in this direction.
Head of defence
Advocate Hikmat Al-Rawashada


The same defence lawyer is quoted in an outrageous (even by their standards) Aljazeera profile of Tamimi. You might want to read our analysis of it: "24-Mar-17: Our daughter's grinning killer is shocked the US is pursuing her and for no obvious reason"

Also today (Saturday):

Dima Tahboub, is quoted in Albosala, another Jordanian news platform. She's a Jordanian lawmaker who happens to block us on Twitter (we're not offended) and who serves as spokesperson for the Islamic Action Front, the political wing of Jordan's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and closely aligned with the terrorists of Hamas.

She reacts in that article to what she terms American threats to Jordan By threats she evidently means the April 30 letter to Ambassador Dina Kawar from the GOP Congressmen. Plainly identifying with the unrepentant bomber and killer of children, Tahboub praises Tamimi for having moved from victim to initiator, from defence to attack, and to becoming a person who continues the struggle, advancing the role of Palestinian women martyrs.

Neither the clever lawyers nor the Islamist spokesperson bother to address what Tamimi happily confesses to doing at Sbarro. They have nothing to say about the people murdered there that day, our daughter Malki among them. Or about any of the simple, well-framed questions that Jordan's ambassador in Washington has not yet mannaged to answer.

In Tahboub's case, that's not so surprising given that three years ago [link] she took the opportunity of an interview (in English - she has a doctorate from a British university) on Germany’s international Deutsche Welle platform to express her support for Ahmad Daqamseh, the Jordanian soldier who in 1997 opened fire across the border at a group of Israeli teenage girls from Bet Shemesh (or "human trach" as she referred to them in the media) on a school excursion, killing seven of them. We assume her support comes from the same dark place that brings her to stand up for Tamimi. Daqamseh, like Tamimi is free and living a charmed life in Jordan.

She told Tim Sebastian, formerly a BBC luminary, in that DW interview that many Jordanians “still see him [Daqamseh] as a hero. So if you are incriminating my viewpoint, you are also incriminating the viewpoint of the Jordanian people”. This is true. We see the same adoration at work with the Sbarro massacre fugitive, except that it's the US that wants her in custody now.

And also today, it's instructive to see who's not yet speaking up. Tamimi, who is adept at, and depends on, social media, is currently operating yet another Instagram account. Her previous accounts there as well as on Twitter and Facebook have been shut down one after the other. This one - which we prefer not identify at this stage - is still going and we have asked for it to be taken down too.

She posted a video clip there this afternoon (that's a screen shot at the top of this post with the identifying particulars blurred out) from the Turkish government's official TRT media platform - a totally-supportive video message that starts with the question "Will Jordan hand Tamimi over?"

Then she added the Arabic text on the right:
"We are still awaiting the Jordanian official response to the latest escalation"
And to round out this revview, there is this manifesto (below) issued in the name of something called "the family of the freed prisoner, Ahlam Al-Tamimi" and published in Arabic here (machine translation):

Based on the recent circulation of the demand for the kingdom's extradition of Jordanian citizen Ahlam Al-Tamimi to the United States of America, we explain the following:

(1) On 4/30/2020, seven members of the Republican Party in the American Congress sent a message to the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Washington threatening to impose sanctions on the Kingdom, in the event that it refused to hand over our daughter, Ahlam Al-Tamimi. [Our comment: Read their letter here. The Tamimi's are talking nonsense.] 

(2) This message comes within the framework of the continuous American endeavor to pressure the kingdom for extradition, which the kingdom, government and people flatly reject, and this is what it clearly expressed in the past and at this time in line with its consistent national stance to protect its sovereignty and safeguard the dignity of its citizens. And persistence in its political and legal positions that are not subject to harm or derogation from any country.

(3) This is the last endeavor by some American bodies that aspire to a legislative role - even if it intersects with the endeavors of all American and Zionist bodies that seek to fulfill the demand for extradition - except that it involves a great risk that the law will be used to achieve political interests, so working to activate and enforce a law that requires delivery (Wanted). In exchange for continuing to provide financial aid to countries, it is considered a political pressure card to compel these countries to accept, which raises great concern and many fears among the family, despite its belief that Jordan will not be subject to blackmail or coercion policies, and that the dignity of its citizens is not a compromise.

(4) We, as a family, are confident that the response to the message of Republican representatives will not move away one iota from this national constant of the Kingdom [of Jordan] despite all efforts exerted in this matter. Money will not be accepted to politicize it in order to waste the dignity of the people of the country.

(5) Ahlam Al-Tamimi is a Jordanian by birth, origin, and citizenship, of Palestinian origin, the daughter of this sacred Jordanian soil and its national clans, whose original roots hit the depth of this pure land from north to south and east to west. To be the ambassador of her homeland Jordan and its conscience in the struggle to restore its usurped right.

(6) Ahlam Al-Tamimi is not responsible for any statement attributed to her from some websites, news agencies, and many pages on social media that carry her name, where statements are attributed to her that were not uttered one day, which may be exploited by abusers.

(7) Ahlam Al Tamimi does not have any accounts on social media.

(8) This platform will be the only one that expresses the position related to Ahlam Al-Tamimi's issues and only through it can the right information be reached.

(9) Your circumvention about the just cause of Al-Tamimi’s dreams, and your support and advocacy for it is the true immunity, and the sure guarantee that it remains safe does not reach alien hands.

Long-standing struggle to elevate the nation and support its children

Al-Tamimi family

Points 6, 7 and 8 pretty clearly indicate that people looking out for the murdering fugitive's interests realize she has been too free with her public opinions, particularly those that insult or offend Hashemite King Abdullah II of Jordan. So to those whom it may concern, the message is simple: she didn't say it even if you think she did, and she couldn't have said it because (among other reasons) she doesn't have any social media accounts. 

This is patent nonsense.

Evidently with all the media activity going on in her support, Tamimi is still waiting for the people who count, those in Jordan's royal palace a short distance from her home, to step up. And as we point out here, she gives the impression of someone who's running out of patience.