terror attack 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
A Web site run by the US State Department that is "designed to bring international terrorists to justice" fails to identify the perpetrators of suicide bombings and other attacks in Israel as Palestinians, The Jerusalem Post has found.
The Rewards for Justice Web site (www.rewardsforjustice.net), is part of a program administered by the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service.
It offers rewards "for information that prevents, frustrates or favorably resolves acts of international terrorism against US persons or property worldwide" and gives details of terrorist attacks in which US citizens were kidnapped, injured or killed.
While the site includes names, photographs and background information about terrorists wanted for attacks in places such as the Philippines, Yemen and Italy, it does not provide a single name, biographical detail or even organizational affiliation for Palestinian terrorists involved in the murder of Americans.
Instead, the site obliquely refers to them as "individuals and groups opposed to Middle East peace negotiations" or as "terrorist individuals and groups opposed to a negotiated peace."
Since the the Oslo accords were signed in September 1993, dozens of American citizens have been killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks. These include three Americans murdered in the October 2003 assault on a US diplomatic convoy in the Gaza Strip and five US citizens who died in the July 2002 Palestinian bombing at Hebrew University.
Asked to explain why the perpetrators are not identified as Palestinians, even though Palestinian organizations often claim responsibility for attacks, State Department spokeswoman Andrea Rogers-Harper said, "The United States government will pursue the perpetrators of terror attacks against Americans carried out by any group opposed to the peace process regardless of their ethnicity."
"Furthermore," she told the Post via e-mail, "the reward offer applies to information leading to the arrest or conviction of any terrorist responsible for the attacks listed."
Asked why people behind other terror attacks are identified on the site by ethnic origin and organizational affiliation, Rogers-Harper said, "Ethnicities are listed in the biographical details of certain suspects on the site in the hopes that it could help potential informants identify the suspects."
However, she said, since "no biographical data is currently listed on the Violence in Opposition to the Middle East Peace Negotiations Web page," the site makes "no mention of ethnicity" with regard to Palestinians.
As for the failure to list any individual Palestinian terror suspects on the site, Rogers-Harper insisted this was because, "To date, no reward offer has been issued with respect to specific individuals that may be wanted in connection with the incidents listed on the Violence in Opposition to the Middle East Peace Negotiations Web page."
"In order for a specific individual to be listed on the site with a reward offer," she said, "the program must receive a written request from an agency within the US government, usually an investigative agency with jurisdiction over the incident."
"The request is then put through a thorough interagency review process before it is submitted for final approval within the Department of State," Rogers-Harper said.
Thus far, she said, no such rewards have been offered for information leading to the capture of specific Palestinian terrorists wanted in connection with the murder of Americans.
Nevertheless, Rogers-Harper said, "All cases in which Americans are victims of terrorism are a high priority for the Rewards for Justice program and the US government as a whole."