The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. yesterday, urging him to indict, extradite and prosecute the many convicted Palestinian Arab criminals who have killed or harmed American citizens in terrorist attacks in Israel, and who were recently freed by the Israeli government in order to gain the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
More than 1000 convicted criminals were recently released in exchange for the release of Shalit, who was kidnapped inside Israel in 2006 by the terrorist group Hamas and held captive for more than five years. Many of these criminals participated in bombings and other terrorist attacks in Israel whose innocent victims were American citizens. They are now living in freedom in Jordan and elsewhere.
In the letter, the ZOA noted that several U.S. laws have been enacted to fight international terrorism and hold terrorists and their co-conspirators accountable for their heinous actions. The ZOA asked Attorney General Holder: Why arent these laws being enforced to vindicate the rights of the victims and their families when Palestinian Arab terrorists commit these crimes?
The ZOA described the deeds of one such terrorist Ahlam Tamimi, who drove a suicide bomber to a Sbarros restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001, where the bomber murdered 15 people and wounded 130, among them several Americans. Tamimi was convicted in Israel and sentenced to 16 terms of life in prison. In a prison interview, she said that she also planned the terrorist attack, deliberately searching for a place with religious Jews. Tamimi has never expressed remorse for her crimes and has said that she would do it all again. After her release from prison, Tamimi went to live in Jordan where she was celebrated as a hero.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein called on Attorney General Holder to indict Tamimi and other newly-freed criminals who have American blood on their hands, to seek their extradition from Jordan and elsewhere, and to ensure that they are held accountable for their murderous conduct: The ZOA has been fighting for years to make sure that the rights of American victims of Palestinian Arab terrorism are vindicated. When the U.S. State Department failed to pursue Palestinian Arabs who have injured and murdered Americans in the same way that the Department was pursuing non-Palestinian Arab terrorists, the ZOA initiated the bill that eventually became law in 2004, known as the Koby Mandell Act. The Act created an office in the U.S. Department of Justice to capture all foreign nationals who have killed or harmed Americans overseas, including Palestinian Arabs.
If the Justice Department does not go after the Palestinian Arab terrorists who were recently released and now living in freedom, then it is sending a dangerous and appalling message to victims and their families that these terrorists and terrorist groups like Hamas can maim and murder innocent Americans with impunity, and that the United States does not value the victims and their families enough to ensure that these criminals are punished and justice is served. The U.S. doing nothing can only encourage more murders.
The Justice Department must take action. Our government should be going after these terrorists and making sure that they pay the consequences for their crimes.
The United States has an extradition treaty with Jordan. Our government should be requesting that Jordan extradite the terrorist Ahlam Tamimi so that she can stand trial in this country and answer for the crimes she committed against Americans.
The ZOAs letter to the Attorney General was signed by Dr. Michael Goldblatt, Chairman of the ZOAs Board of Directors; Morton A. Klein, National President; Steven M. Goldberg, Esq., Vice Chairman of the Board; David I. Schoen, Esq., Board Member and Member of the Advisory Board of the ZOAs Center for Law and Justice; Mark S. Levenson, Esq., Board Member; and Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., Director of the ZOAs Center for Law and Justice.