NEW YORK- A Palestinian Arab terrorist who murdered a U.S. citizen and is now an adviser to Yasir Arafat has publicly urged the kidnapping of Israelis. As a result, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is urging U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to indict him and extradite him to the United States to stand trial.
The terrorist, Ahmed Jbarra, was sentenced to life in prison in Israel for a bombing in downtown Jerusalems Zion Square on July 4, 1975, in which 14 people were murdered, including U.S. citizen Rivka Ben-Yitzhak, age 35. U.S. tourist Mark Katz and two unidentified American young women tourists were among the wounded. Earlier this year, Jbarra was released from prison after the Bush administration pressured Israel to make gestures to the new prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).
Immediately after his release, Mazen brought Jbarra to a press conference, where he embraced and praised the terrorist. Mazen then appointed Jbarra special adviser on prisoner issues to PA chairman Yasir Arafat and rewarded him with a seat on the ruling council of Fatah, the terror group that Mazen and Arafat founded 40 years ago. (Jerusalem Post, June 15, 2003)
Those who favored releasing Jbarra from prison claimed that he now rejects violence. But the Jerusalem Post reports (July 29, 2003) that in a speech at a rally in Bethlehem in his honor, he called on Palestinians to kidnap Israeli soldiers in order to exchange them for the Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. He reminded the crowd that Arab terrorists had secured the release of 1,150 imprisoned terrorists in 1985 by kidnapping three Israelis. In his remarks, Jbarra also praised the Palestinians for killing one Jew for every three Palestinians killed during the current intifada, noting that in the previous intifada, the figure stood at one Jew for every 28 Palestinians killed in clashes with the IDF.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, chairman of the board Dr. Alan Mazurek, and chairman of the National Executive Committee Dr. Michael Goldblatt have sent a telegram to Attorney General Ashcroft urging: Ahmed Jbarra is openly inciting terrorist violence. He poses a clear and present danger to the lives of Israelis and Americans. The United States should indict Jbarra for the murder of U.S. citizen Rivka Ben-Yitzhak, and request that Jbarra be transferred to the U.S. for prosecution.
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More than 100 American citizens have been murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists since the 1960s, 42 of them since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993. Thirty-two of those 42 were killed since the Palestinian Authority launched the current wave of violence in September 2000.
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, it currently has 18 sponsors, led by Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). In the House of Representatives, it currently has 57 sponsors, led by Representatives Rob Andrews (D-NJ) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). (For a complete list of the sponsors, call the ZOA at 212-481-1500.)
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.