President George W. Bush proclaimed an extraordinary moral principle after 9/11 as to why the US has the right to launch a war in Afghanistan. He stated that those who give safe havens to the terrorists are just as morally culpable as the terrorists. Afghanistan gave safe havens to Al Qaeda, where they planned the 9/11 attacks. President Bush therefore declared that it was justifiable for the US to launch an attack on Afghanistan in response to 9/11 in order to end the safe havens of Al Qaeda.
In December of 1997, I was on a Conference call with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. During the call, I asked her why is the U.S. not going after Palestinian Arab terrorists who murder Americans. Shortly thereafter, Secretary Albright received a Congressional letter originated by Congressman Matt Salmon and signed by over 30 Congressmen and U.S. Senators regarding the issue. As a result, Secretary Albright for the first time raised the issue with Chairman Yasser Arafat of Palestinian Arab terrorists, like Mohammed Deif, who had murdered Americans. Due to the pressure he received, Arafat eventually arrested Deif. However, after the pressure died down, Arafat released Deif. Deif went on to become the military head of Hamas and became responsible for murdering even more Israelis and Americans.
Congressman Matt Salmon saw the need to go after all terrorists who murdered Americans as an exception was being made for Palestinian Arab terrorists who murder Americans. Salmon moved to end this double standard. Not only did he author several letters to Secretary Albright and question her on the issue in hearings, but he even obtained unanimous Congressional approval for a resolution on the issue. Salmon further flew to Israel and met with Prime Minister Netanyahu to get Israel’s cooperation on the issue with the U.S. Department of Justice. Salmon then went to Gaza and met Chairman Arafat to give him a copy of the Congressional Resolution. Furthermore, he told Arafat to transfer such terrorists to America and that providing them a safe haven was unacceptable.
Congressman Salmon graciously acknowledged my initiative on this issue when he wrote to me many years ago. He stated that “ I considered you an unofficial political strategist for my staff and myself. Since then you have continued to give me valuable political advice in Congress in making a national issue of the need to bring to justice Palestinian Arab terrorists who have murdered Americans. I feel that your idea to pursue this issue of fundamental justice was the right thing to do and I am very proud of the fact that I authored with your help the first Congressional letters on the subject.”
The U.S. Justice Department took a significant first step in fighting Palestinian Arab terrorism against Americans by unsealing its indictment of unrepentant mass murderer Ahlam Tamimi. Tamimi organized the Sbarro terrorist attack in Jerusalem that murdered 15 people (two Americans), including 7 children and a pregnant woman and wounded 130 people (including four Americans). The Justice Department has now asked for her extradition from Jordan and the FBI has put her on its most wanted list. This was the first indictment of a Palestinian Arab terrorist who murdered an American since the 2004 Kobe Mandel Act became law. The Kobe Mandel Act established an office within the Department of Justice to go after Palestinian Arab terrorists who murdered Americans.
Why has Jordan refused to extradite Tamimi to the United States? Jordan is trying to deny the request on technical legal grounds, stating that the extradition treaty between the two countries was not ratified by Jordan’s parliament. However, it is obvious that Jordan could easily turn her over to the U.S. if King Abdullah decided he wanted to. An extradition treaty requires a country to turn someone over but the lack of one does not prevent a country from extraditing a terrorist.
It is time for the U.S. to make it clear to Jordan that not transferring the terrorist Tamimi to face the U.S. Justice system is an unacceptable answer. Jordan needs to clearly show that it is part of the fight against terrorism and will not be a safe haven for terrorists, especially those who have murdered Americans. Jordan needs to take Tamimi off public television where she encourages others to follow her heinous example and transfer her to America to face justice. Jordan receives U.S. aid and support and yet allows Tamimi to freely espouse support for the murder of Americans. This is outrageous.
There are many such Palestinian Arab terrorists who murdered Americans that reside in safe havens in the Palestinian Authority. These terrorists need to be indicted and brought to the U.S. to face justice. No aid should be going to the Palestinian Authority while they provide safe havens for terrorists. The Palestinian Authority goes further and financially rewards terrorists who murder Americans and even name squares after them and treats them as heroes. This is unacceptable and needs to end.
The war against terrorism can be won when the terrorists have no where to hide. There can be no peace in the Middle East as long as terrorists have safe havens whether in Jordan or the Palestinian Authority. The indictment of Tamimi is a good first step by the Trump Administration to start bringing such Palestinian Arab terrorists to justice. Administrations from both parties have gone after terrorists around the world that have killed Americans except for Palestinian Arab terrorists. The message the US should send is a very clear one. The U.S. will not countenance anyone giving safe havens to murderers of Americans, including Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Protecting American lives needs to come first.