Liberman: No relief for Jordanian murderer

After Jordanian MPs call for release of imprisoned perpetrator of 1997 massacre, former FM vows he will remain jailed.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
April 14, 2013 14:44
2 minute read.
Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman at press conference, March 18, 2013

Liberman 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

 
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Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman vowed on Sunday that the Jordanian perpetrator of the 1997 murder of Israeli schoolgirls would not be released.

Liberman commented on Facebook following the signature of nearly all of Jordan's MPs - 110 out of 120 - on a petition last week calling for the release of Jordanian Army Corporal Ahmed Daqamseh, who murdered seven Israeli schoolgirls on March 12, 1997 at the Island of Peace site near Naharayim.

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In light of the petition, Liberman highlighted the silence of left-wing members of the Knesset and Arab Knesset factions, "who regularly speak of human rights when dealing with Palestinians, or issues that occur in Israel, but are quiet in the face of massacres conducted by Palestinians, and others in Syria, or other shocking cases around the Arab world."

Liberman added that one who murders innocent children should not be entitled to any relief and should be treated as severely as possible.

Daqamseh 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.
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Following the massacre, the late King Hussein of Jordan apologized for the attack and traveled to Israel to pay his respects to the grieving families.

In 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 unstable.

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."

Daqamseh 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 killing.

Yasser Okbi, The Post correspondent contributed to this report.

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