|The original caption reads: “His Majesty King Abdullah presents the Hashemite
flag to the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army during a ceremony
in Amman on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)” [Image Source]
This being a blog about terrorism and those who do it, we tend to write often about despicable people.
We profiled an especially vile killer of seven Jewish girls on a 1997 school-trip in yesterday’s post [“12-Mar-17: What a Jordanian hero and his admirers tell us about the likelihood of peace“]. He’s not smart, he’s certainly not brave, he was said to by his family to have been insane at the time he did the sickening things that got him sent to prison in 1997, and he has never ever uttered a syllable that suggests he did wrong and regrets it.
Quite the opposite: as soon as he was set free on Sunday and “driven home in a convoy of dozens of cars whose drivers were honking their horns, a video shared on social media showed” [source], Ahmad Daqamseh launched into a series of public statements via the media most of which has gone unreported in the more civilized parts of the world.
For instance (said via Aljazeera – here’s MEMRI‘s transcript and video) that we Israelis are “human waste” that must be eradicated. That the rest of the world vomited us up and now we need to be eliminated “by fire or by burial“. And that if that’s not done by the hands of the cheering crowds standing around him as he said this, then “the task will fall on the future generations to do.”
Now put yourself into the shoes of a Jordanian leader. Perhaps a Member of Parliament. Or a prominent journalist. What would you want people to know about where you stand on the matters addressed by the newly-freed thug? How embarrassed would you be that so many of your citizens are openly rejoicing at the man’s release and at the crimes he committed?
Wonder no more:
- “The Jordan Times on Monday contacted several Jordanian opinion leaders who declined comment for various reasons such as the controversial nature of the debate and to avoid escalation of disputes.” [Jordan Times, March 13, 2017; the paper is owned by the Jordan Press Foundation which – says Wikipedia – has been majority government-owned since its inception in 1976]
- Parliamentarian “Mohammad Riyati (Aqaba) wrote on his Facebook page that he visited Daqamseh to congratulate him on his freedom after serving the 20-year prison sentence, describing him as a “Muslim and Arab nations’ icon”“
- The same politician is quoted saying he will “propose a memorandum to the Lower House to deduct JD100 from the 130 deputies’ salaries to be given to Daqamseh and his family“.
- Ahlam Tamimi, the woman who lives free as a bird in Jordan desoite being the mastermind of our daughter Malki’s murder, – evidently saw in Daqamseh’s sickening words a kindred homicidal spirit. In an Arabic tweet yesterday, she said his hateful and disgusting words (she didn’t call them that) highlight the failure of Jordan’s prison system. We can only hope, as we wrote yesterday, that she soon gets to experience from the inside how successful or not the Jordanian penal system actually is.
- The head of a Jordan student rights group called Thabahtouna convincingly asserted that Jordanians “did not care much about the details of the act but instead that they considered it as a response to prolonged Israeli aggression against Palestinians and Arabs in general“. They’re OK with it, is what the leader, Fakher Daas who tweets here, is basically saying. He also says Jordanian festivities “celebrating Daqamseh’s release contained a message condemning the peace agreement with Israel” and that Israeli plans “to normalize relations with Arabs” had failed. He’s fine with that too, of course.
- “MP Khalil Attiya lauded the release of Ahmed Daqamseh from prison, calling for his protection.” [Via MEMRI]
- Another Jordanian parliamentarian, Dima Tahboub: “This is a Jordanian day of celebration. We are very happy at (Daqamseh’s) release, which is overdue. Even in prison, we considered him to be free, because no one can arrest someone like the soldier Daqamseh. Today, his freedom is complete. He was free in prison, and now he is free outside. We congratulate the Jordanian people, the Daqamseh family, and ourselves. We congratulate the people who continue to uphold the principles for which Daqamseh was imprisoned.” [Via MEMRI]
- Jordanian parliamentarian Saleh Al-Armouti: “Dawamseh’s release has undoubtedly warmed the hearts of us Jordanians.” [Via MEMRI]
What must it be like to live in a country with leaders of that calibre? With such widespread popular support of your neighbours’ children? [Click here for our previous posts tagged with “Jordan“.]
So how is it that Jordan keeps being lauded in the State Department’s annual survey of terrorism? State’s June 2015 “Country Reports on Terrorism” annual survey says of the Hashemite Kingdom:
Jordan remained a key ally and a model partner in combating terrorism and extremist ideology… Jordan demonstrated regional leadership in the fight against ISIL… and participated fully on the diplomatic, political, financial, and military fronts… Jordanian prisons have a religiously based de-radicalization program that seeks to re-engage violent extremist inmates into the non-violent mainstream of their faith.
Jordan legislated its first anti-terrorism law in 2006, a year after a series of terrorist bomb blasts at three Amman hotels that killed dozens of people.
Under the new law, penalties for terrorist acts range from 10 years in prison to the death penalty, and the definition of terrorism has been expanded to include any act meant to create sedition, harm property or jeopardise international relations, or to use the Internet or media outlets to promote “terrorist” thinking. [Aljazeera, April 25, 2014]
That law has since undergone changes (summarized in this April 2014 AFP syndicated report). But what the State Department report fails to mention is how Jordan has carefully defined terror over the years so that acts of violence directed at Israelis are specifically, by definition, never to be considered terror. For instance:
Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism of 1999 (Ratified 28 Aug. 2003): “Jordan does not consider national armed struggle and fighting foreign occupation in the exercise of people’s right to self-determination as terrorist acts under art. 2(1)(b)” [Source]
Jordan’s creativity with the definition of terror is not new and hardly a secret, but largely ignored. So too the wildly popular support that terror when directed at Israelis enjoys among Jordanians.
The quiet celebrity lifestyle enjoyed by Ahlam Tamimi, who delivered the bomb to the Sbarro pizzeria in August 2001, can be happening only because the kingdom and its leaders are fine with that.
From within Jordan’s borders and regularly venturing beyond them, Tamimi speaks as an honored guest at its universities, professional guilds, law courts and other venues; records her television program “Naseem Al Ahrar” (translation: “Breezes of the Free”) week after week (or did until about November 2016 – and then she seems to have stopped appearing though the program continues) for beaming out to the Arabic-speaking world since 2012; and has the status of a genuine pan-Arab celebrity. She has boasted repeatedly of her central role in the Sbarro pizzeria massacre. She has zero remorse. The Jordanians seem to love her for it.
Should the US government be fine with that too?