One hundred ten of 120 Jordanian MPs signed a petition this week calling for the
release of Jordanian Army Corporal Ahmed Daqamseh, who murdered seven
Israeli schoolgirls, and injured five others and a school teacher, on
March 12, 1997 at the Island of Peace site near Naharayim.
opened fire on a group of 80 seventh and eight grade school girls from
AMIT Fuerst School in Bet Shemesh, who were visiting the "Island of
Peace," a joint Israeli-Jordanian tourist resort under Jordanian rule.
the massacre, the late King Hussein of Jordan apologized for the attack
and traveled to Israel to pay his respects to the grieving families.
February 2011, Jordanian Justice Minister Hussein Mjali, who previously
served as Daqamseh's defense lawyer during the 1997 trial, called
Daqamseh a hero and added that "if a Jew murdered Arabs, they [the
Israelis] would build him a statue."
Daqamseh was sentenced by a
Jordanian military tribunal to life in prison at hard labor. He was
spared the death penalty because the tribunal determined he was mentally
In an interview Daqamseh gave in 2004 to Jordanian
weekly a-Shahed, he expressed pride in his actions and said that "if I
could return to that moment, I would behave exactly the same way. Every day
that passes, I grow stronger in the belief that what I did was my duty."
claimed the Israeli girls interrupted his prayer by whistling and
clapping. He told a-Shahed he tried to ignore the girls' behavior, but
their persistence insulted and angered him. "I felt my blood boiling, so
I stopped my prayer and asked my friend to leave the area. After he
left, I started shooting," he said.
Daqamseh said that the
massacre would have been much graver had there not been other teenagers
in the area that were more polite. Despite that, it was later revealed
that Daqamseh's M-16 rifle jammed, and that was what stopped the
"Everything was bloody, the ground was red," Daqamseh
said. He also said his commander asked him to help evacuate the wounded,
which angered him.