(December 3, 2020 / JNS) This week, we mark yet another agonizing birthday.
My sweet daughter, Malki, would now be 35 years old if Hamas operative Ahlam Tamimi had made some misstep on Aug. 9, 2001.
But Tamimi was and still is a seasoned, determined, efficient and bloodthirsty terrorist.
In the Sbarro bombing, which she confesses she masterminded and which she calls “my operation,” seven babies and children perished with nine adults—some parents alongside their offspring. It was an unmitigated massacre.
Never could we have imagined that her murderer would now be free as a bird—and protected by a ruler who is coddled by both the United States and Israel—King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Tamimi’s stated determination to kill Jews is matched only by the determination of world leaders to ignore our pleas to correct the travesty of justice that Tamimi’s freedom embodies.
Our letters, phone calls, op-eds, tweets and front-page advertisements have fallen on deaf ears. They have only elicited excuses, evasive double-talk, or total silence from most of the people who could easily assist us if they cared to.
There are no obstacles in their path:
- Legislation has existed for years empowering the United States to arrest, try and convict terrorists in U.S. courts under U.S. law if they kill a U.S. national, which Malki was.
- In 1995, an extradition treaty was signed and ratified between the U.S. and Jordan, and accepted as valid by both countries. The State Department still takes that view.
- Tamimi was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list in 2017. A $5 million State Department reward for her capture and conviction was announced in 2018.
- Legislation enacted in 2019 empowers the U.S. to impose a foreign-aid sanction on any country failing to abide by its treaty obligation to the U.S.
None of the steps that could be taken to right this moral wrong has been taken.
It is demoralizing to realize that politicians, religious leaders, community figureheads and journalists across the board just don’t care about seeking justice, when doing so is unlikely to win them kudos.
Of course, we nevertheless intend to continue this fight. On this birthday, we cannot embrace Malki or the family we dreamed she would be blessed with by now. We can only write the next e-mail or make the next phone call with the prayer that it will hasten Tamimi’s long-awaited extradition.
Frimet Roth is a Jerusalem-based freelance writer, law graduate and commentator on the challenges facing people with special needs. Together with her husband, Arnold, she co-founded The Malki Foundation (www.kerenmalki.org) in 2001. It provides concrete support for Israeli families of all faiths who care at home for a special-needs child. The Roths’ daughter Malki was murdered at the age of 15 in the terrorist bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria.
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