Thursday, December 17, 2020

17-Dec-20: Message from Australia: The killer of the innocents is not forgotten, not forgiven

Questions asked in Australia's Senate [Image Source]
Malki, our daughter, was born in Australia. She was the youngest of our children, not quite three years old, when we came to Jerusalem. 
The result in terms of her identity was that while she acquired Israeli citizenship in accordance with the law, she arrived here as a dual US/Australian national.

That, and the fact that her father was born in Melbourne, meant that there was and continues to be more than the average degree of interest in Australia about the circumstances in which she died at the age of fifteen - murdered in a terror attack on a pizzeria filled with children - and about what subsequently happened to the confessed killer.

We've written numerous times about how deeply embittering it has been for us to see political and communal leaders avert their gaze when we come to speak with them about helping us bring the bomber to justice. (She lives in Jordan and she's not behind bars. She also had her own television program there, beamed throughout the world, for five years. It promoted terrorism.) But the way the news industry has buried the unusual circumstances of the killer's ongoing freedom is, years after we lost Malki, right at the top of things that trouble us deeply.

That's just one of the reasons why it's so welcome to see a prominent Jewish community leader in Melbourne publish an op ed today in the newspaper of record in Australia's national capital about how and why justice needs to be done in the wake of the Sbarro massacre.

The core question in Jeremy Leibler's cogent article ["Australia has a role to play in seeking justice for murdered teen", Canberra Times, December 17, 2020 and archived] is what can the Australian government do to obtain justice for the murder of Malki Roth, our greatly missed oldest daughter. (Mr Leibler is the president of the Zionist Federation of Australia.)
From the Canberra Times

But it's also a road map for how we wish people genuinely motivated by justice, no matter where they are, would look at the vexed issue at the center of our lives since 2011.

For an Australian readership, Leibler carefully lays out the background: the massacre at the pizzeria which he correctly says was "orchestrated by Jordanian terrorist Ahlam Tamimi"; the murder of Australian-born Malki and the many other innocents; Tamimi's subsequent release as part of a prisoner exchange that saw hundreds of terrorists released in exchange for a young Israeli soldier abducted and held hostage by the terrorists of Hamas. 

Then this:
In the years since her release, Tamimi has been living freely in Jordan and has become quite the celebrity, the host of a popular television program that she uses as a platform for continuing to boast about how many Jewish children she has murdered. Tamimi appears on the FBI's list of "most wanted terrorists" and the US Department of State has issued a $US5 million reward for information leading to her arrest. 
But Jordan has so far refused to co-operate, despite having an extradition treaty with the US and despite having just this year deported Tamimi's husband, Nizar al-Tamimi, in an apparent and so far unsuccessful effort to encourage Ahlam to leave of her own volition.
The only explanation Jordan has offered for its non-cooperation is to question the validity of the extradition treaty. In reality, the obstruction is assumed to be based less on technicalities of international law and more on the political maneuvering of the nation's all-powerful King Abdullah II.
In a country where more than half the population is Palestinian, there is little doubt that a decision to hand over a Palestinian-Jordanian killer of Jews to the US would prove unpopular...
Jordan's King Abdullah II talks with Australian Prime Minister Scott 
Morrison on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Sep 2019
He points out that, unlike the United States, Australia has no bilateral extradition treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom. But this does not mean Australia is without options:
...We can and should support the US in its efforts. We can and should take every opportunity to advise the Jordanian government that we have neither forgotten nor forgiven the murderer of an Australian child.
And let's be clear that Australia's intervention would make a difference. It would make it easier for Jordan to comply with America's request to extradite Tamimi, citing increased international pressure. It would also encourage the incoming Biden administration to maintain pressure from their end.
He goes on to refer to questions asked in Australia's Senate about whether Australia's foreign ministry - the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - has conveyed to the Jordanian government
...our concern that Ahlam Tamimi is feted for her role in killing 15 people in Jerusalem, including an Australian national, and if not, why not and will it do so in the future?
We encourage you to click on the source and read the brief Canberra Times article in full. 

To his great credit, Jeremy Leibler has framed in common sense terms an approach that any public official or community organization anywhere can and ought to emulate. 

They can help those who make decisions in the Kingdom of Jordan see that there are pressing and serious questions about the troubling immorality of Jordan's harboring, sheltering, megaphoning and empowering of the savage who killed the children in the pizzeria. 

And they ought to be answered.

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