And Will Seek Financial
Compensation for Victims
NEW YORK – AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) has strongly endorsed Congressional efforts to bring about U.S. action against Palestinian Arab killers of Americans, and has challenged the State Departments policy of refusing to publicize the names and photos of the suspects in those killings.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), which has been leading the campaign on behalf of American victims of Palestinian Arab terrorism, strongly praised AIPACs stance.
At the suggestion of the ZOA, the delegates to AIPACs annual policy conference, in Washington, voted this week to include in AIPACs 2002 Action Agenda a clause pledging that during the coming year, AIPAC will be:
Supporting Congressional efforts to facilitate the capture of Palestinian Arab terrorists suspected of harming American citizens and their transfer to the United States for prosecution; to ensure that Palestinian Arab killers of Americans are pursued just as vigorously as other terrorists who have murdered Americans overseas, including the publicizing of the names and photographs of the suspects; and to secure financial compensation for victims of Palestinian Arab terrorism.
Members of Congress recently introduced the Koby Mandell Act, which would create a special office within the Justice Department to address exactly the points mentioned in AIPACs agenda, including: to 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, known as S.1377 in the Senate and H.R.2098 in the House of Representatives, is named after Jacob Koby Mandell, the 13 year-old boy from Maryland who was brutally murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists in Israel last year. The bill has also been publicly endorsed by AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
It has been introduced in the U.S.Senate by Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR), Rick Santorum (R-PA), and Sam Brownback (R-KS). In the House of Representatives, has been introduced by Reps. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) and Jim Saxton (R-NJ), and co-sponsored by Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Steve LaTourette (R-OH), Connie Morella (R-MD), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Ken Bentsen (D-TX), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Joseph Hoeffel (D-PA), and Chris Smith (R-NJ).
Both AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations have endorsed the Koby Mandell Act. AIPAC has chracterized the bill as important.
After a three-year campaign by the ZOA, the State Department recently agreed to begin offering rewards for information leading to the capture of Palestinian Arab killers of Americans, and listing the rewards on the State Department web site www.rewardsforjustice.net But in a disturbing twist, the web site fails to include the names or photos of any of the suspects in these cases, even though they have been publicly identified by the Israeli government and the media. The State Department web site also refuses to acknowledge that Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad carried out the killings; it says the killings were the work of groups opposed to Middle East peace negotiations.
AIPAC has now joined the ZOA in protesting this State Department policy, pledging that it will work to ensure that Palestinian Arab killers of Americans are pursued just as vigorously as other terrorists who have murdered Americans overseas, including the publicizing of the names and photographs of the suspects.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, who is a member of the AIPAC Executive Committee and proposed the resolution on this issue which was adopted by the delegates, said: AIPACs leaders, including President Tim Wuliger, Executive Committee Chairman Paul Miller, and Executive Director Howard Kohr, deserve praise for challenging the State Departments double standard, which makes a mockery of justice and undermines Americas fight against terrorism. American victims of Palestinian Arab terrorism should be treated the same as all other American victims of terrorism, and Palestinian Arabs who murder Americans should be treated the same as all other terrorists who murder Americans. We look forward to working closely with AIPAC on behalf of the Koby Mandell Act and other Congressional efforts to pursue Palestinian Arab killers of Americans and assist their victims.
* 29 Americans have been murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists, and 65 wounded, since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993.
* 17 of those 29 were murdered (and 40 of those 65 were wounded) since the current Palestinian Arab violence against Israel began in September 2000.
* At least 96 Americans have been murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists, and 108 wounded, since 1968.