Sunday, July 02, 2023

02-Jul-23: A festival, a funeral and failed leaders

Tamimi is a featured interviewee on Al-Aqsa TV (and Facebook) June 30, 2023

America's most wanted female fugitive made a featured appearance on global TV again this past Friday. 

Ahlam Tamimi, a designated FBI Most Wanted terrorist since March 2017, looked jubilant as the centerpiece of a 25 minute interview on the Al-Aqsa TV network. It's been beaming programs daily from Gaza to Arabic-speaking audiences in every part of the world since 2006. 

The background is worth knowing. In 2010, the US Department of the Treasury, calling it "a television station financed and controlled by Hamas", designated Al-Aqsa TV as 

a primary Hamas media outlet [that] airs programs and music videos designed to recruit children to become Hamas armed fighters and suicide bombers upon reaching adulthood. Treasury will not distinguish between a business financed and controlled by a terrorist group, such as Al-Aqsa Television, and the terrorist group itself... [link]

Treasury designations like this one are intended to freeze assets held by the station and to

prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with these parties. Executive Order 13224 targets terrorists, terrorist organizations, persons owned or controlled by or acting for or on behalf of designated terrorists or terrorist organizations, and those providing financial, material, or technological support to designated terrorists or terrorist organizations, or for acts of terrorism [Source]

Sounds fearsome. 

But for years, video programming that originates with Al-Aqsa TV has gotten a considerable part of its global distribution and exposure from Facebook. Could this amount to giving "financial, material, or technological support to designated terrorists"? It's a question that was posed in the past.

Ahlam Tamimi, who has long called her central role in the massacre of Jewish children in Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria in 2001 "a crown on my head", was interviewed live on Friday June 30, 2023 in a program marking the festival of Eid al Adha

The adulatory interview, entirely devoid of criticism and long on compliments and adulation, ran for 25 minutes on Al-Aqsa TV that day. It remains viewable now on Facebook [here].

Rambling and unfocused, with lengthy elements of theology, it calls for understanding of the greatness of what jihadists like Tamimi see themselves personifying. When Tamimi has the media's attention, it's generally about her dedication, her determination, her victimhood. And sometimes about her skillful cooking:

...I mean, I am a professional in making Jordanian mansaf [lamb cooked in fermented dried yogurt, served with rice or bulgur - considered the national dish of Jordan]... I mean, I make mansaf and feed everyone, God willing. I want to talk. Mansaf is also one of the dishes that Nizar and I love. Most Palestinian prisoners and editors also love this dish. On the other hand, I mean, if I want to compare to you, we used to make Mansaf in prison. No one asked me this question honestly. The method of making it in prison is completely different from the way it is made in. In freedom, God willing, in future episodes. If you want to talk about this talk, it is necessary, we would love it very much.

This, remember, is an interview with a confessed mass murderer.

* * *

Until a month ago, the death toll that resulted from Tamimi's August 9, 2001 execution of an act of violent savagery on behalf of Hamas was 15. 

Two of those killed were Americans. Our daughter Malka Chana Roth, 15, was one. And a young American Jewish tourist (and her parents' only child) visiting Jerusalem briefly while pregnant for the first time, was the other. Sveeral American nationals were injured.  

The number of murdered rose to 16 on May 30, 2023. Chana Tova Nachenberg had been profoundly injured in the Sbarro bombing when a splinter of shrapnel penetrated her skull, rendering her comatose - but sparing her toddler daughter. A month ago, she died in a Tel Aviv hospice, having never recovered consciousness throughout the nearly twenty-two years that ensued. 

Chana Finer Nachenberg's grave

Her closest family - parents, husband, only child - visited her for years, praying, hoping, weaping, wishing for a miracle that never came. 

Then the vigil came to an end.

We hope none of them ever hears Tamimi wail, as she did on Al-Aqsa this past Friday, about how

I am trying to be happy and get joy. But I mean, the family entity has been shaken because of this forced distance, because of constant demands, constant pursuit. However there is no listening ear to our cause as if [it were we who] committed the massacres of the whole world. They want to put the blame on my back and Nizar's back. [Source]

Her family entity has been shaken, says Tamimi, the proud murderer? It's a reference to how Nizar Tamimi, her husband and cousin, an unrepentant convicted murderer imprisoned for life and freed, like Ahlam Tamimi, in the notorious Shalit Deal in 2011, now lives free in Qatar after Jordan declared him persona non grata in 2020 ["Jordan deports Sbarro bomber’s husband, also a convicted terrorist, to Qatar", Times of Israel, October 13, 2020]

But the presenter, like every presenter of every interview Tamimi has done in all her years of obscene celebrity, doesn't once mention the children this barbarian blew to pieces. 

In the Arabic-language media, there is zero interest in addressing the humanity of Tamimi's murdered victims. Tamimi herself has said repeatedly she has no regrets. She would do it again if she could. 

In a startlingly large number of Arab media outlets, our beautiful fifteen year old daughter is repeatedly called "zionist rapist". So are all the other Sbarro pizzeria victims, some of whom never reached their teens. 

The horror is not limited to Tamimi.

* * *

The dedication ceremony at the fresh graveside of Chana Tova Nachenberg this past Friday included no references to more violence. No calls for revenge. No bitterness or anger. But much heartbreaking wistfulness, deep longing, love.

The FBI issued a Most Wanted Terrorist poster for Ahlam Tamimi in March 2017. It says she's dangerous and likely armed. You can see the English and Arabic versions here.

In the past week, evidently triggered by the increase after so many years of the number of dead, and of the Americans among them, the FBI with no fanfare has just issued an updated version which shows Tamimi looking 43 years old. It also updates the death toll.

King Hussein and President Clinton

What it doesn't say, at least not in the way we think should be said, is that Ahlam Tamimi remains free, a celebrity, safe under the illicit protection of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. 

Why illicit? 

Because a 1995 extradition treaty made between the William J. Clinton administration and the late King Hussein of Jordan, the father of today's Jordanian ruler, gives Jordan no discretion in the matter. 

If pursuant to the treaty America asks for the handover of a fugitive wanted by the US justice system which Tamimi certainly is, Jordan can really only ask "Which flight?

Jordan has issued a host of alibis and made-up rationales to conceal the truth of why it refuses to extradite Tamim to Washington where she began facing terror charges under seal in July 2013. (The charges were made public only on March 14, 2017 after years of unproiductive efforts by the United States to induce Jordanian compliance with its undoubted treaty obligation.)

From speaking with a wide selection of authorities, it's clear to us that Jordan's self-excusing acrobatics aren't taken seriously by anyone. 

It's also worth noting that in the formal ratification document signed back in 1995 (we obtained the documents by personally suing the State Department), King Hussein expressing himself in formalized language (and understandably using the Royal "We") says that Jordan pledges

to carry out its provisions and abide by its articles and... shall not allow its violation. Accordingly We have ordered that Our Seal be affixed to it and We have signed it properly 

Jordan did in fact observe the provisions and articles of the treaty appropriately and conscientiously every time the US requested an extradition, as a treaty partner of course must. That however came to an end with the Tamimi case, years after King Hussein's death.

* * *

It's hard to ignore how Tamimi's continued freedom, her encouragement of more terror, her glorification of the murders she carried out, her inciting of others to do the same, all get buried again and again by those who ought to have taken action years ago. 

Since this is about justice, there's plenty of disgrace to go around.

* * *

This post, like many others before it, has been translated into the Polish language ("Święto, pogrzeb i nieudane przywództwo") by Malgorzata Koraszewska over on the Listy z naszego sadu website. Our sincere thanks to her, and great appreciation to readers of this blog in Poland.

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