There were two notable developments last week related to the recent 17th anniversary of the bombing of Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria.
One was the release of a report showing that the Palestinian Authority has paid the terrorists and their families nearly $300,000. The other development was the Trump administration’s release of $61 million in aid to the P.A. that it was holding up.
Fifteen innocent people were massacred in the 2001 attack, including two American citizens, 15-year-old Malki Roth (born in Australia, but who held U.S. citizenship as well) and New Jersey schoolteacher Judith Greenbaum.
The bomber himself was killed, but a number of his accomplices survived. The bomber’s family and the accomplices have been profiting handsomely. According to a new report by Palestinian Media Watch, the family of bomber Izz al-Din Al-Masir has received $50,124 from the P.A.
Ms. Ahlam Tamimi, who planned the attack and brought the bomber to the pizzeria, is now living freely in Jordan. She has been paid at least $52,681 by the P.A. (Her relative and admirer, Ahed Tamimi, recently served prison time for assaulting an Israeli soldier.)
The terrorist who built the suicide bomb, Abdallah Barghouti, is in an Israeli prison. He has received at least $191,526 from the P.A.
So the ongoing payments for the Sbarro massacre have now exceeded $294,332. And that number grows every single day.
In response to this atrocious policy, Congress recently passed the Taylor Force Act, which was supposed to end U.S. aid to the P.A. if it continued to pay terrorists. Well, the P.A. is still paying terrorists, so how is it that the Trump administration was able to send $61 million to the terror organization earlier this month?
The answer is that while Jewish organizations were crowing about the great victory they supposedly achieved in the passage of the Taylor Force Act, the bill itself was being loaded up with loopholes and exceptions that would enable some U.S. aid to continue to flow to the P.A. In other words, despite all the tough rhetoric from the Trump administration and some Jewish leaders, America is still providing funds to the regime that is paying murderers of Americans.
To make matters worse, the administration is making no serious effort to bring any Palestinian killers of Americans to justice. Last year, the Justice Department unsealed an indictment against Ahlam Tamimi, yet it has still not demanded that Jordan hand her over.
Also last year, under pressure from the family of Malki Roth, the State Department belatedly and grudgingly offered a monetary reward leading to Tamimi’s capture and issued a wanted poster with her photo.
But (get this) the Justice Department told the Roth family that if a bounty-hunter were to capture Tamimi and bring her to the U.S. embassy in Amman, the United States would refuse to accept her because she has to be transferred according to the extradition treaty. Yet the United States has failed to demand that the treaty be enforced!
Moreover, the poster was written in English, not Arabic. And it appears only on the department’s web site, not in the streets of Jordan. It’s not even posted at the American embassy in Amman. In other words, the Trump administration is giving every indication that it is merely going through the motions and not seriously interested in bringing Tamimi to Justice.
The Trump administration’s pro-Israel gestures and speeches have been great. We all love a symbolic gesture or a hard-hitting speech. But now it’s time for Jewish organizations to say, loudly and clearly, that what we really need is action. Because to date, there has been no substantive action by the Trump administration to bring Palestinian killers of Americans to justice. That’s the sad truth.
Stephen M. Flatow is a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” will be published later this year.