Ashcroft Was Senate Leader in
Pursuing Arab Killers of Americans
NEW YORK – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly praised the Bush administration, and Attorney General John Ashcroft in particular, for issuing the first-ever indictments of Palestinian Arab terrorists who have murdered Americansthree of whom are being sheltered by Yasir Arafats Palestinian Authority and the governments of Syria and Lebanon.
For the past six years, the ZOA has led a nationwide campaign to persuade the U.S. government to indict Palestinian Arab murderers of Americans who are being harbored by the PA. More than 100 Americans have been killed by Palestinian Arab terrorists since the 1960s 36 of them since the signing of the 1993 Oslo accords and the Israeli and U.S. governments have identified more than 20 suspects who are living openly in PA territory.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: We strongly applaud the Bush administrations action, which will send a powerful message to terrorists everywhere that the U.S. is a serious about the war against terrorism. We hope the U.S. will now use all political and financial leverage at its disposal including the $150-million in annual U.S. aid to the Palestinian Arabs to pressure the Palestinian Authority, Syria, and Lebanon to surrender the indicted suspects to the U.S. for prosecution.
The ZOA notes that when Attorney General Ashcroft was a U.S. Senator, he was an outspoken supporter of U.S. action against Palestinian Arab killers of Americans. He held a press conference together with the ZOA and families of terror victims, and he worked closely with the ZOA on the Ashcroft-Salmon bill of 1999, which was the first-ever legislation on this issue. It requires the State Department to report to Congress twice each year on efforts to capture Palestinian Arab murderers of Americans.
The indictments issued by Ashcroft this week were against eight members of the Palestine Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, in connection with attacks in Israel that murdered over 100 people. Two of the victims were American citizens: Alisa Flatow of West Orange, NJ, a 20 year-old Brandeis University junior, who was murdered in a bombing near Kfar Darom on April 9, 1995; and Shoshana Ben-Yishai, 16, of Queens, NY, who was murdered in a shooting attack on a bus in Jerusalem on November 9, 2001.
Four of the terrorists, including University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian are under arrest in the United States. One of the terrorist, Bashir Musa Mohammed Nafi, resides in Oxfordshire, England, and presumably the British will surrender him to the U.S. for prosecution.
But the remaining three indicted terrorists are now being sheltered by Arab regimes:
* Abd Al-Aziz Awda, 52, who is described in the indictment as the founder and spiritual leader of the terror ring. He is the spiritual leader at the Al Qassam Mosque in the PA-controlled Gaza Strip.
* Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, 45, who is secretary-general of Islamic Jihad and currently resides in Damascus, under the protection of the Syrian government.
* Mohammed Tasir Hassan Al-Khatib, 46, who resides in Beirut, Lebanon.