(February 28, 2023 / JNS) Elan Ganeles of Connecticut was murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists this week, thus becoming the 147th American citizen to be killed by Palestinians since 1968.
Yet not a single Palestinian Arab terrorist has ever been brought to the United States to stand trial for any of those crimes. Think about that: 147 dead Americans and not one prosecution.
The problem is not that we can’t find the suspects. The whereabouts of some of them are already known to the authorities. In fact, the Israeli government has publicly identified some of them as members of the Palestinian security forces.
One of the killers, Ahlam Tamimi, is living openly in Jordan and until recently was the host of her own radio show. Tamimi was one of the terrorists who carried out the August 2001 Sbarro Pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem, in which 15 people were killed—including 15-year-old Malki Roth and Mrs. Shoshana Greenbaum, both American citizens. In addition, 122 people were injured, among them four Americans.
The problem is not the extradition process. The U.S. has an extradition treaty with Jordan, signed in 1995. So, Tamimi could be handed over right now.
As for other suspects, the Palestinian Authority has one of the largest per capita security forces in the world, armed and trained by the U.S. If the P.A. wanted to find those suspects, it certainly has the manpower and resources to do so.
Although the U.S. does not have a formal extradition treaty with the P.A., the P.A. could still hand over the suspects if it wanted to. Many countries send fugitive criminals to the U.S. for prosecution outside of regular extradition channels because those channels are often time-consuming and expensive.
So, if the whereabouts of the killers are known or can be easily determined, and if there is no logistical obstacle to surrendering them, what’s the problem?
The problem is politics. The Biden administration does not want to prosecute Palestinian terrorists because doing so would interfere with its goal of maintaining friendly relations with the P.A. in order to bring about the creation of a Palestinian state.
The U.S. knows that the P.A. will resist any request to hand over killers of Americans, since the Palestinians regard the killers as heroes. For the U.S. to pursue justice, it would have to be willing to confront the P.A., which would involve political and financial pressure on the Palestinian leadership. That would interfere with the Biden administration’s warm relationship with the P.A.
The result is that justice for Elan Ganeles and all the other American victims of Palestinian terrorism will be sacrificed in order to avoid angering the Palestinians.
However, there are concrete steps the Biden administration could take right now if it were serious about pursuing justice in these cases:
- The FBI could join the investigation. The Biden administration sent the FBI to investigate the accidental death of the Arab-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, so why isn’t it sending the FBI to join the manhunt for those who carried out the deliberate murder of Elan Ganeles and other American victims of Palestinian terror?
- The Justice Department could offer a reward for information leading to the capture of the killers of Elan Ganeles. It offers rewards in the cases of other terrorists who have harmed Americans around the world, but only in three cases of American victims of Palestinian terror. Three—out of the hundreds of Palestinian attacks in which Americans were killed or wounded.
- The U.S. could apply financial pressure to the P.A. The Biden administration is sending $600 million in aid to the Palestinian Arabs this year. That will be used to pay the PA’s bills, thus freeing up funds for the P.A. to pay salaries to terrorists, including the killers of Elan Ganeles. The U.S. could reduce its aid package in proportion to the amount that Elan’s killers will receive.
The Biden administration’s failure to take such steps suggests that it is not seriously interested in justice for the American victims of Palestinian Arab terrorism.
Stephen M. Flatow, is an attorney and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is author of A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.
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