A group of Republican members of Congress have called on the Jordanian ambassador to the United States for the Hashemite Kingdom to extradite wanted Palestinian-Jordanian Hamas terrorist Ahlam Tamimi to the United States.
Tamimi has been accused of being the mastermind behind the Sbarro Pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem on Aug. 9, 2001, that killed 15 people, including eight children, and wounded 121 others. Among those killed were two American citizens, 15-year-old Malki Roth and 31-year-old Judith Greenbaum, who was pregnant at the time. A third American, Chana Nachenberg, has remained in a permanent vegetative state ever since.
“Today, appallingly, Tamimi is a media celebrity, the subject of wide popular admiration. She has appeared publicly side-by-side with prominent political figures and received extraordinary recognition in Jordan’s mainstream press and television media as a respected commentator and as an object of Jordanian national pride,” wrote the group of Republican congressmen to Jordanian Ambassador to the United States Dina Kawar.
The signees were Reps. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Scott Perry (R-Penn.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).
“She has been showered with acclaim by the students of the Arab world’s most important graduate school of journalism, the Amman-based Jordan Media Institute, who declared her to be their “success model,’ ” they wrote. “For five years, she traveled widely and often to deliver public speeches throughout Jordan and in numerous Arab countries beyond Jordan’s borders. Her theme has always centered on promoting terror and terrorists.”
Tamimi, who planned the attack, has shown no remorse, saying she has “no regrets.”
She had been awarded $51,836 until she was released from prison, as part of a 2011 prisoner exchange that included Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit’s release from Hamas captivity, when she then escaped to Jordan. The Palestinian Authority allots $7,321 monthly to the Sbarro terrorists and their families, according to a 2019 Palestinian Media Watch report.
Tamimi is on America’s “Most Wanted Terrorist” list, but the United States has been unable to secure her extradition as a 1995 extradition agreement was not ratified by Jordan’s government. The United States has offered a $5 million reward for her capture and conviction.
Jordan has refused to extradite her to the United States.
“This is a matter of grave and growing concern to the Congress and to all Americans. The American view concerning the treaty is that it is certainly valid. It continues to be listed in the U.S. government’s authoritative Treaties in Force document,” wrote the members of Congress.
The letter noted that “up until the Tamimi case and its Israeli victims, Jordan had extradited terrorists to the United States multiple times.”
In November 2019, the Trump administration rejected claims that Tamimi couldn’t be extradited to the United States, which claims that its extradition treaty with Jordan is valid even though a Jordanian court in 2017 ruled the opposite.
The Republican signees noted that “Congress legislated sanctions in December 2019 which, subject to certain conditions, will apply to ‘a country which has notified the Department of State of its refusal to extradite to the United States any individual indicted for a criminal offense’ [certain details follow], and is ‘a country with which the United States maintains diplomatic relations and with which the United States has an extradition treaty,’ and ‘that country is in violation of the terms and conditions of the treaty.’”
“The potential seriousness of these sanctions provisions reflect the deep concern of the Congress, the administration and the American people,” continued the members of Congress. “We believe it is of the highest importance to U.S./Jordan relations that an outcome is found that honors Jordanian law while ensuring this unrepentant terrorist and murderer of innocent Americans is brought to U.S. justice. Extraditing Tamimi within the framework of a long-standing, effective treaty is a powerful statement that Jordan will not tolerate terrorism nor its promotion.”
The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) was behind the letter and has long been raising awareness about Tamimi’s case and calling for her to be extradited from Jordan to face justice in the United States.
In a statement, EMET founder and president Sarah Stern wrote “that as long as the United States turns a blind eye to the murderers of American citizens, we will be reinforcing their resolve against the United States.”