Wednesday, March 30, 2022

30-Mar-22: Lawmakers to Secretary of State: What measures are available so that Sbarro bomber is extradited to Washington?

There is a $5M US government reward
for "information" on Tamimi [Source]

A letter from members of the US House of Representatives and delivered to Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week addresses the way Jordan, which is bound by a treaty obligation to the US, continues to fail to extradite the Sbarro bomber.

Congressman Greg Steube led the effort. He has served as the U.S. representative for Florida's 17th congressional district since 2019. 

On March 24, 2022, he posted the letter below to his Facebook page along with this brief explanation:

Ahlam Ahmad Al-Tamimi orchestrated a horrific 2001 massacre in Israel which resulted in the deaths and injuries of several American citizens. To this day, she remains free in Jordan. I sent a letter to Secretary Blinken to request what steps the State Department is taking to extradite this Hamas terrorist and bring her to justice for the lives she took.

Here's the text -

March 23, 2022

The Honorable Antony J. Blinken
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C St., NW
Washington, DC 20520

Secretary Blinken,

On August 9, 2001, a Jordanian citizen Ahlam Ahmad Al-Tamimi, the first female operative in the ranks of the federally designated terrorist organization Hamas, orchestrated a horrific massacre at a pizzeria in Israel’s capital. Among the 15 murdered in the bombing were two U.S. citizens, Malka Chana Roth, 15, and Judith Shoshana Hayman Greenbaum, 31 and pregnant with her first child. A third US citizen, Joanne Chana Nachenberg, remains to this day in a persistent vegetative state. Among the approximately 122 maimed were four U.S. citizens.

Al-Tamimi was apprehended by the Israeli authorities and tried on terror charges. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 16 consecutive life terms but was released along with 1,026 other convicted terrorists in an extortionate deal Israel was compelled to make in 2011 with Hamas to secure the release of a hostage, Corporal Gilad Shalit. She returned to Jordan where she was born and educated.

At no time has Al-Tamimi, who has referred to the attack as “my operation,” evinced remorse or regret for the barbarism she perpetrated. When asked by a Jordanian reporter in an October 2011 interview whether, if given the chance, she would do the same thing again, she replied: “Of course, I do not regret what happened. Absolutely not! This is the path… Do you want me to denounce what I did? That’s out of the question. I would do it again today, and in the same manner.” Asked in another interview if she was aware of how many children had been killed in the bombing, Al-Tamimi replied, “three?” The interviewer said it was eight; the horrifying look of delight and satisfaction on her face are captured in a widely shared video clip.

Al-Tamimi’s return to Jordan was that of a triumphant, home-grown heroine. Feted as a celebrity-icon, she soon became the presenter of a weekly, made-in-Amman television program called “Breezes of the Free.” Starting in March 2012 and for the following five years, this attracted a global Arabic-speaking audience whom she treated to a mix of advocacy for Palestinian Arab terror and adulation for its perpetrators.

Al-Tamimi remains free in Jordan up until the present day. Frequently appearing in both conventional and social media in the kingdom and throughout the Arab world, she is a figure of malign influence that by American standards of decency, justice, or morality, would be inconceivable. This extraordinary freedom haunts the bereaved families of the victims of Al- Tamimi’s savagery, including the Americans among them.

On March 14, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed a criminal complaint and arrest warrant for Al-Tamimi. She faces trial under a U.S. federal law enacted to fight international terrorism and to hold terrorists and co-conspirators accountable for their heinous actions: 18 U.S.C. § 2332(a). The Federal Bureau of Investigation then added her to its Most Wanted Terrorists List and the U.S. Department of State (State Dept.) Rewards for Justice program announced a $5M reward for information about the fugitive.

Two years later, a letter from our colleagues to your predecessor, Secretary Pompeo, raised concerns about thwarted U.S. efforts to see Al-Tamimi extradited from Jordan under the 1995 treaty binding the two countries. In April 2020, an additional letter by our colleagues asked the Ambassador of Jordan Dina Kawar regarding the ongoing miscarriage of justice and the need for redress by extraditing Al-Tamimi to stand trial in the U.S. To the best of our knowledge, there was no reply from the Embassy of Jordan, only acknowledgment that they saw the letter.

Despite U.S. efforts in the Al-Tamimi case, Jordan has refused to implement the 1995 U.S.- Jordan Extradition Treaty ratified by the U.S. Senate on July 29, 1995. That refusal comes despite the clear and solemn commitment of King Hussein, the father of the present king, in a formal communication made in the name of his kingdom on July 13, 1995 and delivered to the State Dept. stating that:

having reviewed the Extradition Treaty signed in Washington on March 28, 1995… [we] do hereby declare our agreement to and ratification of that Treaty in whole and in part. We further pledge to carry out its provisions and abide by its Articles and we, God willing, shall not allow its violation.

A month later, Jordan-U.S. relations went through a significant escalation with the extradition to the U.S. of a Jordanian fugitive, Eyad Ismael Najim, wanted in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The Naim case was subsequently followed by the extradition of additional Jordanian nationals sought by the U.S. on terror charges.

The State Dept. continues to list the 1995 treaty in its authoritative Treaties in Force compendium. Notwithstanding the salutary warning given by the late King Hussein 22 years earlier and despite years of honoring U.S. requests under the treaty, Jordan’s Court of Cassation ruled just a week after the 2017 unsealing of terror charges against Tamimi that the strategic treaty with the U.S. was invalid owing to a failure to ratify. The State Dept. has explicitly disagreed with the judicial ruling which, we note, was silent about the clear statement of ratification issued over the signature of King Hussein.

With these background factors in mind, we respectfully request your response to the following questions:

  1. Is it the State Dept.’s view that the request for Tamimi’s extradition satisfies U.S. law and the requirements of the 1995 treaty?
  2. What measures does the State Dept. consider to be available should Jordan persist in failing to comply with the extradition request?
  3. Has the State Dept. considered, or will it consider imposing sanctions on Jordan if the lawful U.S. request to extradite Tamimi continues to be disregarded?
  4. Has Jordan given the U.S. reasons different from or additional to the reasons stated by its Court of Cassation for the disputed assertion that the 1995 treaty is invalid?
We request your attention to these important matters and look forward to receiving your timely and considered reply within 30 days.


The letter is signed by the following lawmakers:

* * *

Ahlam Tamimi (often called Al-Tamimi) was born and educated in Jordan and lives there today. Her father spent his working life as a soldier serving in the Jordanian army. 

After being freed (a conditional commutation of her sixteen life-terms prison sentence) from an Israeli prison in October 2001, she returned to Jordan and a lengthy series of parades, speeches, public appearances and wall-to-wall adulation that has gone on for years. Starting in October 2011 and continuing until late-2016, she traveled widely and often to address audiences throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Her wedding in the summer of 2012 to another Palestinian Arab terrorist (her cousin) called Tamimi who was himself freed in the same Shalit deal, received lavish media coverage: "22-Jun-12: A wedding and what came before it".

Between February 2012 and September 2016, her weekly television program "Breezes of the Free", produced in Amman, Jordan and beamed from there via the Hamas satellite network, attracted a global audience to her unique brand of incitement to more Arab-on-Israeli terror and adulation for those who do it.

In an earlier initiative two years ago, one in which the Washington-based Endowment for Middle East Truth took a collaborative role, Congressman Steube wrote to Jordan's then and current ambassador to Washington, Her Excellency Dina Kawar, addressing the imperative of Jordan complying with its obligation to extradite the alleged bomber:
...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. We respectfully await your response. [Full text of the 2020 letter here]
No response, as far as we know, was ever received by Congressman Steube's office from Jordan's Washington embassy.
October 2021: From the safety of her Jordanian base,
Ahlam Tamimi takes part in an Istanbul conference for women and
girls, delivering a tribute to her own career as a religion-inspired
killer of Jews. It's still viewable on YouTube.

Half a year ago, Tamimi appeared in public as part of a video conference accessible via YouTube, exhorting others - notably teenage girls - in remarkably candid terms to engage in the kind of terrorism for which she has become notorious and about which she admitted in clear terms ["23-Feb-22: Weaponizing Turkish teenage girls: What the Sbarro bomber did next"].

In late 2021, she was named to the Counter Extremism Project's list known as "The Top 20 Most Dangerous Extremists Around the World".  The details and background are here: "27-Feb-22: The Jordanian woman who bombed Sbarro has earned another title". 

Since March 2017, she has been one of two females on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list. Twenty five individuals in total are currently on that list. 

And since early 2018, the US State Department's Rewards for Justice program (tag line: "Secure a safer world and a brighter future") has offered 
"up to $5 million for information on Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi, also known as “Khalti” and “Halati,” as part of its 1993 Violence in Opposition to the Middle East Peace Negotiations reward offer".
Though Tamimi has lived a public life - undisguised and in full view of Jordanian society and its media throughout the period that the US has pursued her, never in hiding for even a day and regularly interviewed or giving speeches or writing opinion columns - the multi-million dollar offer remains in effect and presumably has never been paid out to anyone

No part of the US news industry has ever raised any questions about this. But we have and do.

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