Wednesday, July 26, 2017

26-Jul-17: We listened carefully to Jordan's foreign minister and we have 10 questions

Online source
For reasons that regular readers will know, we watch events in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan with more than the usual amount of interest.

Here's an article, under the headline "Jordan sees Israeli reactions to embassy case ‘absurd’" that gets prominence in today's Jordan Times:
AMMAN — A senior official on Tuesday described as “absurd” the Israeli reactions after a diplomat who killed two Jordanians on Sunday arrived back in Israel. Israeli media on Tuesday showed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu giving a hero’s  welcome to the unidentified embassy staffer who killed a 16-year-old boy and a surgeon.
“Absurd [are] some of the reactions that are coming of Israel which are trying to show this as if the ambassador and the suspect were under siege and were somehow liberated and celebrating them as heroes coming back home. This is really absurd. This is a criminal case and I think it is in everybody’s interest that it is pursued as such,” Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told CNN in an interview on Tuesday.
Instead, he said, justice should be allowed to take its course, and to respect the fact that two Jordanians were killed, he added.
Safadi said: “Jordan acted legally and morally [by complying to international laws on diplomatic mission]. It is upon Israel to do the same and allow for justice to take its course and to stop provocative behaviours that distort the facts here.
We respected our obligations under international law because the suspect enjoys diplomatic immunity. We agreed with his statement, which we did and we agreed with the Israelis that he goes back. So Jordan did what it had to do under international law and now  it is incumbent upon Israel to also do what it has to do under the law, which is to allow for the criminal justice to take its course and also to act morally and allow for justice to happen.”
Safadi acknowledged that Jordan’s abidance by international law drew fire domestically, especially from MPs.
“The government is under pressure by deputies because it allowed the Israeli killer to leave,” he said, stressing that the decision had to be taken in this way out of Jordan’s commitments to international conventions.
["Jordan sees Israeli reactions to embassy case ‘absurd’", Jordan Times, July 26, 2017]
Interesting ideas, and some striking expressions that we highlighted. Now we have some questions for Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

Ahlam Tamimi, the murderer and mastermind of the Sbarro
massacre, quotes the one question that the human bomb asked
as they made their way to central Jerusalem target. Her answer is blood-chilling.
Does he, and do any of his advisers, consider that the statements bolded in the quoted piece ought to be taken seriously? Or are we to assume this article, along with its self-justifying expressions of utter devotion to treaties, justice, international practices and high standards of morality, is for domestic Jordanian consumption only?

These are deliberately pointed questions given what we know about the brazenly unlawful way the Jordan government has dealt with the case of a confessed murderer and FBI Most Wanted Terrorist by the name of Ahlam Tamimi.

Tamimi is a citizen of Jordan, born, raised and educated there. Nonetheless she calls herself a Palestinian. That's not the biggest of surprises. Between 70% and 80% of Jordanians do that.

Tamimi murdered our daughter Malki in 2001 along with fourteen other victims. She did it by masterminding the plot, carefully selecting the target and planting the bomb - who was a human being with an explosives-filled guitar case on his back.

Taking account of an additional victim who is still unconscious today, 16 years later, Tamimi is legally and morally responsible for sixteen lives destroyed - dozens of families broken, hundreds of people maimed and traumatized.

There are numerous on-line video clips and images of Tamimi laughing (literally) about the murders. She has never expressed a single word of regret about the Jerusalem massacre she masterminded. She admitted proudly and with a smile on her face to all the charges in court. Then she was released in the Shalit deal of 2011 when 1,027 terrorists were freed by Israel in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

Back in Jordan, Tamimi subsequently boasted repeatedly about the slaughter on triumphant visits to parts of the Arab world: Algeria (December 2011), Kuwait (July 2012 and March 2014), Lebanon (April 2012 and January 2015), Qatar (April 2012 and again in December 2013), Tunisia (April 2012 and November 2015) and Yemen (April 2014).

From her birthplace and home in Jordan, she has expressed delight about the people she murdered on dozens of occasions. She has done this in front of Jordanian high school and college students, Jordanian professional guilds and Jordanian women's assemblies.

She had her own globally-distributed made-in-Amman weekly television show for more than four years, in which the redemptive power of "resistance" crimes against Jews and Israelis were the core theme. (The show is still screened weekly but she stopped being its presenter in September 2016 when she was very briefly arrested in Jordan pursuant to an Interpol apprehension notice issued by the US Department of Justice. She was freed the following day, but evidently got advice that appearing weekly on her own terror-glorifying and murder-inciting TV show was temporarily not in her best interests or those of Jordan.)

From her Jordanian base, she has encouraged her audience to follow her example - to kill Jews, to murder Israeli children.

So to our questions to the foreign minister of Jordan:
  1. Did Jordan sign a bilateral extradition treaty with the government of the United States on March 28, 1995 in Washington? (Hint: The full text of the treaty as signed and executed by the two governments is here, so presumably you're not going to answer "no".) And if Jordan thinks there is a constitutional law problem with the treaty, could it have fixed the problem? Could the parliament have ratified the treaty, if that's the flaw? Can it do that this afternoon?
  2. Does "Jordan’s abidance by international law" (adopting the fractured phrasing that the Jordan Times article uses) mean Jordan (a) respects the treaty it signed with the US, and (b) accepts its validity and the fact that it is binding on both sides? Or the exact opposite?
  3. Did Jordan extradite to the US a Jordanian terrorist called Eyad Ismoil who drove a bomb-laden truck into the parking garage of the World Trade Center in 1993? (The right answer is: "Yes, it most certainly did.") And is Ismoil now serving a 240 year sentence in a US Federal prison for his terrorist crimes with no chance of parole? Do you agree that this is allowing for justice to take its course? We do. Most people do.
  4. Did the United States announce on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 via the Department of Justice in Washington that the Jordanian woman Ahlam Tamimi was added that day to the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list? (Hint: It's recorded here on the DoJ website.) 
  5. Did Jordan react publicly in any way to the news that a Federal criminal complaint against her, alleging the most serious of terrorist crimes, was being unsealed that day? (Hint: it's described here.) Are there any other Jordanians on that notorious list? (We checked. No, there are none except for Tamimi. Congratulations!) So did Jordan react publicly to the fact that a Jordanian was named? 
  6. Did Jordan respect the fact that two Americans were killed (using a slightly changed form of your words, Minister) by a Jordanian who has repeatedly confessed to doing this? Taking this into account, did Jordan restrict her movements or her privileges in any way, then afterwards or now? Or can we assume Jordan is perfectly at ease with having an FBI Most Wanted Terrorist living freely in its capital city and speaking publicly whenever the mood takes her in Jordan's schools, Jordan's universities and Jordan's public places? How does any of this fit with what you have called Jordan's passion to act morally and allow for justice to happen?
  7. Did Jordan do what it had to do under international law when the US asked it to extradite Tamimi under the provisions of the 22 year old treaty between the two countries? (Not that we are pressing for it, but did Jordan ever think about prosecuting Tamimi under Jordanian law? Can we examine that?) And related to what we just asked: Did Jordan ever object, at the time the extradition request was made or since then, in any way to the manner in which the United States made its extradition request?
  8. Or did Jordan resort instead to absurd and insulting-to-the-intelligence claims like "Oops - we should have ratified it back then but we didn't"?  
  9. With uncharacteristic efficiency, just six days after the US authorities announced they wanted her arrested and extradited, Jordan's Court of Cassation (see "Jordan rejects ‘most wanted’ woman’s extradition to US", Arab News, March 21, 2017) "rejected an appeal to extradite Ahlam Al-Tamimi... as her family urged Jordan’s government to ensure Al-Tamimi’s safety. The court upheld a ruling issued by an appeals court, the official Petra news agency reported. Petra, quoting a judicial source, said the extradition cannot go through because Jordan’s Parliament has never ratified an extradition agreement with the US signed in March 1995." On this sober-seeming and very-quickly-arranged legal decision, we ask: 
    • An appeals court? An appeal against what? Did someone in the Jordanian legal system order Tamimi to be extradited and that decision had to be appealed? We don't think so. So who was the appellant? It's a simple question.
    • The US/Jordan extradition treaty - which was already enforced two decades ago to send Ismoil to face Federal charges in the US and was clearly in effect then - wasn't ratified? So ratify it now, this afternoon! If not, why not!? 
    • And what if there is no extradition treaty? You have extradited to countries where you have no treaty. You have demanded that Jordanians be extradited back to Jordan even though no extradition treaty is signed with the countries in question. But then there's this: Your supremely important strategic partner, the United States, is asking you to do it, no? What's holding you back? Is that what you call acting morally and allowing for justice to happen? Or is it the exact opposite?
  10. Tamimi lives freely in Amman, Jordan. Many say she lives the life of a celebrity there and there's plenty of evidence that this is true. The murderous bombing she orchestrated and in which took the central role is a matter of public record. So are her multiple confessions. But shockingly Jordan harbors her, keeping her under royal protection according to some thank-you messages she herself has posted in Arabic on social media. So is there some conceivable way in which Jordan's treatment of this sadistic, vicious, deeply bigoted woman fits with Jordan’s commitments to international conventions? Is it compatible with your country respecting its obligations under international law? Or with acting morally?
We're not entirely naive. We assume these questions are going to be ignored as all our previous questions, comments and suggestions to the Jordanian ruling clique have been. We are perfectly aware of how easily voices like ours can be brushed aside.

But we hope to show the minister and his king that brushing aside the questions themselves is going to be less easy.

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