ZOA Will Press Italy to Surrender Killer to U.S. Murderer Of U.S. Citizen Will Be Given Vacation In Italy, Under Bethlehem Compromise Plan
NEW YORK – According to the compromise plan to resolve the Bethlehem standoff, a terrorist who murdered an American citizen will be among those who are temporarily sent to Italy. If that plan is implemented, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) will respond by launching a campaign to pressure Italy to surrender the killer to the United States for prosecution.
Several weeks ago, the Israeli government revealed that two members of Yasir Arafats Fatah terrorist group, Ibrahim Abyat and Ismail Hamdan, who were involved in the murder of U.S. citizen Avi Boaz, are among the terrorists who have taken over the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
According to the New York Times (May 6, 2002), Abyat is one of the terrorists whose punishment will be to sent to Italy for a temporary period. A Palestinian official was quoted by the Times (May 7, 2002) as saying: We have no deportation. It can be a six-month scholarship.
Avi Boaz, 72, was a Brooklyn native and building contractor who had close relations with many Palestinian Arabs and traveled to Bethlehem on the morning of January 15, 2002 for business purposes. As he entered the city, he was stopped at a Palestinian Authority roadblock, where he showed the PA policemen his U.S. passport. Fatah terrorists at the scene then abducted Boaz, while the PA police watched without intervening. The Fatah kidnappers took Boaz to nearby Beit Sahur, and murdered him there.
Morton A. Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), said: According to U.S. law, a terrorist who murders an American citizen abroad should be brought to the United States to stand trial. It is deeply disappointing that the Bush administration is supporting and encouraging a Bethlehem compromise that would permit a murderer of an American to walk free in Italy. If Ibrahim Abyat goes to Italy, we will do everything in our power to mobilize Congress and the American public to demand that Italy immediately surrender him to the United States for prosecution.
The ZOA president said that U.S. support for permitting the terrorists to go to Italy and Gaza undermines the fight against terrorism, since it gives comfort and solace to terrorists everywhere when some terrorists are allowed to escape the punishment they deserve.