Tuesday, April 26, 2022

26-Apr-22: New legislation seeks to hold Jordan accountable for failure to send the Sbarro bomber for trial in Washington

From our Twitter time-line
The US Congressman at the heart of a welcome initiative we described here some four weeks ago ["30-Mar-22: Lawmakers to Secretary of State: What measures are available so that Sbarro bomber is extradited to Washington?"] has just made an important announcement.

Important, that is, to those - like us - who want to see US justice finally catch up with America's most wanted female fugitive. That's the confessed bomber of the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria, a Hamas terrorist zealot who brags of the children whose lives she ended. One of those children was our daughter Malki, a US national, murdered in the Sbarro atrocity at age 15.

Here's the text of  the media release [archived] that Congressman Greg Steube's office issued yesterday.

Steube Introduces Legislation to Hold The Government of Jordan Accountable for Failure to Extradite Hamas Terrorist

April 25, 2022 | Press Release

WASHINGTON— U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) recently introduced The Recognition of the 1995 Jordan Extradition Treaty with the U.S. Act to limit U.S. assistance to Jordan until the Government of Jordan recognizes the validity of the 1995 extradition treaty between the two countries.

"Our U.S. tax dollars will not continue to flow to a country harboring a Hamas Terrorist with American blood on her hands," said Congressman Greg Steube. "The Government of Jordan is failing to comply with a 1995 treaty which requires them to extradite individuals like Ahlam al Tamimi who faces trial for terrorism under U.S. law. My legislation will ensure our foreign assistance to Jordan is abruptly halted until Jordan is in compliance with our extradition treaty."

The U.S. and Jordan signed a Memorandum of Understanding on U.S. foreign assistance to Jordan which committed the U.S. to providing $1.2 billion per year in bilateral foreign assistance over a five-year period for a total of $6.3 billion between 2018 and 2022. This MOU represents a 27% increase in the U.S. commitment to Jordan above the previous agreements.

Ahlam al Tamimi lives freely in Jordan despite orchestrating a horrific 2001 terrorist attack in Israel which killed 15 innocent people, including two American citizens, and injured 122 others. Ahlam al Tamimi is on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s Most Wanted Terrorist List. 

The text of the bill itself (here at 117th Congress, 2d Session, H. R. 7527) was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives on April 14, 2022. 

The language of the proposed law notes that the Extradition Treaty between the governments of the US and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was signed at Washington on March 28, 1995. It entered into force on July 29, 1995. The US view is that it is clearly still in effect.

As we noted a month ago [here], Jordanian fugitive terrorist Ahlam Tamimi has lived a public life - undisguised and in full view of Jordanian society and its media - throughout the years that the US has been pursuing her. She has never been in hiding, not even for even a day. And she has been regularly interviewed, has given speeches, has written opinion columns throughout that time. Despite all of this, the multi-million dollar State Department Rewards for Justice prize on her head remains in effect, never yet paid out to anyone. No part of the US news industry has ever raised any questions about this. But we have and we do.

From our own tracking of events, we know Jordan - via its various diplomats and officials - has avoided addressing the treaty and Jordan's breach of it in any direct way. It has preferred instead to allow a decision of its Court of Cassation from March 2017, less than a week after the US charges against Tamimi were unsealed in Washington, to speak for itself.

One notable exception to that policy of ostentatiously ignoring the breach of a bilateral agreement with its most significant ally is a speech in Arabic, never reported in any US media, made by Jordan's then and present foreign minister and deputy prime minister. 

We wrote about it a day later in an open letter to US-educated Ayman Safadi, a key Jordanian insider. The following brief extract is from "13-Nov-19: Thank you, Mr Foreign Minister":

...You and virtually the entire political leadership of Jordan have been careful to avoid all public mentions of the embarrassing and self-humiliating way Jordan harbors the confessed Sbarro bomber and FBI Most Wanted fugitive terrorist Ahlam Tamimi.

More than most people, and related to what we lost in the Sbarro atrocity, we know how willing you are to discuss Jordan's disavowal of its treaty obligations to the US in private meetings about which we have gotten reports. And how unwilling you are to talk about this important issue in public.

It is quite a balancing act.

You might recall how we tried to draw out your response in an article we published more than two years ago, addressed like this current post, to you personally: "26-Jul-17: We listened carefully to Jordan's foreign minister and we have 10 questions".

And as you may remember, you ignored us totally. (So did and do your staff.) 

Special mention of Jordan's ambassador to Washington who right up until today blocks us on Twitter. We assume this is what feeling really embarrassed about an issue will cause even a polite and cultured person like Ambassador Dina Kawar to do...

Congressman Steube initiated a letter sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on March 23, 2022. Concerning the Tamimi case, it asks meaningful questions and was co-signed by ten additional Members of Congress. All of them are from the GOP side of the Congress. Do we have concerns about this? You bet we do. ["19-Apr-22: To our friends in the Democratic Party"]

So far as we are aware, no response to Mr Steube's letter has yet been received by his office.

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