ZOA: US must prosecute Palestinian terrorists

American Zionist group calls on US A-G to extradite, try those with American blood on their hands.

By
February 3, 2012 01:23
3 minute read.
Palestinian prisoners swapped for Schalit in Syria

Prisoners arrive in Syria 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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The Zionist Organization of America has called on US Attorney-General Eric Holder to indict and prosecute Palestinian terrorists who harmed American citizens in Israel, The Jerusalem Post learned on Thursday.

In a letter sent on Wednesday to Holder, ZOA chairman Dr. Michael Goldblatt and five other senior members of the US-based Israel advocacy group ask the US attorney-general to enforce strict anti-terror laws and prosecute terrorists freed as part of Israel’s deal with Hamas to release kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

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Under the 1991 US Anti-Terror Act, the United States may prosecute foreign nationals who perpetrate terrorist acts against American citizens, even if those acts are not carried out on US soil. However, for prosecution to proceed, that law requires the written certification of the US attorney-general that the alleged offense was intended to “coerce, intimidate or retaliate against a government or civilian population.”

However, to date the US has not indicted or prosecuted any Palestinian terrorists.

Susan Tuchman, director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, said the ZOA decided to send the letter in response to the Schalit deal, in support of victims of Palestinian terror.

“The ZOA has long been a strong advocate for victims of Palestinian Arab terrorism. The letter was a step we felt compelled to take after terrorists who’d murdered and maimed innocent Americans were released in the Gilad Schalit exchange and now living in freedom,” Tuchman told the Post on Thursday. “They have to pay for their crimes. The US government has to go after these terrorist criminals and make sure they’re punished for harming and murdering Americans and violating US anti-terrorism laws.”

The ZOA is the second American Jewish group this month to call on Holder to prosecute Palestinian terrorists responsible for killing and wounding US citizens.

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In an unrelated initiative, The Parents Forum for Justice, a group of US citizens and parents whose children were murdered or maimed by Palestinian terrorists in Israel over the last decade, also wrote to Holder asking him to commence legal proceedings against terrorists freed in the Schalit deal.

According to forum leader and Jerusalem resident Dr. Alan Bauer, 54 American citizens have been murdered and 83 wounded in Palestinian terror attacks between 1993 and 2006. At least 15 of the terrorists released under the Schalit deal were responsible for killing and wounding Americans, he said.

In its letter to Holder, the ZOA refers to the 2004 Koby Mandell Act, which the organization initiated and which is named for a 13-year-old American boy murdered by Palestinian terrorists.

As a result of the act, the US Justice Department opened the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism, whose mandate is to monitor the “investigation and prosecution of terrorist attacks against Americans abroad.” The ZOA called on the Justice Department to fulfill its mandate.

“By failing to act, our government is sending a wrong and indeed appalling message to the victims and their families, to our country and to the rest of the world – that Palestinian Arab terrorists and terrorist organizations like Hamas can maim and murder innocent American citizens with impunity,” the ZOA’s letter states.

The ZOA say that one of the terrorists released in the Schalit deal, Ahlam Tamimi, is now living in Jordan and has said she has no remorse for her actions.

Tamimi was sentenced to 16 life terms for murder for her role in driving the suicide bomber who carried out the 2001 Sbarro restaurant bombing in Jerusalem. Two Americans were among the 15 people murdered in the attack.

“I do not regret what happened. Absolutely not... I dedicated myself to Jihad for the sake of Allah, and Allah granted me success. You know how many casualties there were [in the Sbarro attack]? This was made possible by Allah,” the ZOA quote Tamimi as saying after her release. “It is revolting to think that Tamimi and other Palestinian Arab terrorists are living in freedom,” the ZOA wrote, noting that Tamimi said after her release from prison that she would carry out her actions again.

Citing a recent speech by US President Barack Obama, in which he denounced terrorists as “prey[ing] on the innocent and vulnerable,” the ZOA called on Holder to extradite Tamimi and other terrorists released in the Schalit deal from Jordan.

“These criminals epitomize evil,” the ZOA said.

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