NEW YORK – Abigail Leitel of New Hampshire, the 14 year-old American schoolgirl murdered in this weeks Palestinian Arab terrorist bombing in Haifa, is the 37th American citizen murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists since the signing of the 1993 Oslo accords.
More than 20 of the terrorists involved in these murders have been publicly identified by the Israeli or American governments. They are living freely in Palestinian Authority-controlled territory, and some have been rewarded with jobs in the PA police force. Yet the State Department has never demanded that they be handed over.
The ZOA recently published a powerful new booklet, The Forgotten Victims: American Citizens Murdered by Palestinian Arab Terrorists. It includes biographical entries on Americans murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists and a Killers at Large section revealing the names and, in some cases, the photos of Palestinian Arab killers of Americans who are being sheltered by the PA. For a free copy of The Forgotten Victims, please call the ZOA at 212-481-1500.
Morton A. Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), said:
Americans murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists are victims of discrimination by the State Department, in that they are the only cases of overseas terrorism against Americans in which the State Department has made no serious effort to bring the killers to justice. The State Department has never asked the Palestinian Authority to surrender for prosecution any Palestinian Arab suspects in the murders of Americans. The State Department refuses to publicize the names and photos of fugitive Palestinian Arab killers of Americanseven though it publicizes the names and photos of other terrorists who have killed Americans overseas. Although the State Department officially offers rewards for information leading to the capture of these killers, it refuses to publicize them in Palestinian newspapers or citieswhich is what it routinely does in other countries to capture fugitive terrorists.
The State Department has allowed its political agenda to interfere with the pursuit of justice and the U.S. fight against terrorism. It does not want to have a conflict with the Palestinian Authority by demanding that the PA hand over killers of Americans. And so the killers walk free. The time has come to take this issue out of the hands of the State Department and put it in the jurisdiction of the Justice Department.
* 37 American citizens have been murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993, 25 of them since the Palestinian Authority launched the current wave of violence in September 2000. In addition, 68 Americans have been wounded since 1993, 43 of them since September 2000
* A total of at least 104 Americans have been murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists, and 119 wounded, since 1968.
In response to the ongoing murders of American citizens by Palestinian Arab terrorists, the ZOA is strongly supporting the Koby Mandell Act, which was recently introduced in Congress. The Koby Mandell Act would create a special office within the Justice Department which would: gather evidence against Palestinian Arab killers of Americans; arrange to bring the terrorists to the U.S. for trial; initiate negotiations with the Palestinian Authority for financial compensation for victims families; and maintain a liaison with the families to update them on efforts to capture the killers.
The Koby Mandell Act has been publicly endorsed by AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
The legislation has broad bipartisan support in Congress. In the Senate, the lead sponsors are Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). In the House of Representatives, the lead sponsors are Representatives Rob Andrews (D-NJ) and Jim Saxton (R-NJ).