December 9, 2019

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26-Jul-17: We listened carefully to Jordan’s minister and we have 10 questions

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For reasons that regular readers will know, we watch events in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan with more than the usual amount of interest.

Here’s an article, under the headline “Jordan sees Israeli reactions to embassy case ‘absurd’” that gets prominence in today’s Jordan Times:

AMMAN — A senior official on Tuesday described as “absurd” the Israeli reactions after a diplomat who killed two Jordanians on Sunday arrived back in Israel. Israeli media on Tuesday showed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu giving a hero’s  welcome to the unidentified embassy staffer who killed a 16-year-old boy and a surgeon.
“Absurd [are] some of the reactions that are coming of Israel which are trying to show this as if the ambassador and the suspect were under siege and were somehow liberated and celebrating them as heroes coming back home. This is really absurd. This is a criminal case and I think it is in everybody’s interest that it is pursued as such,” Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told CNN in an interview on Tuesday.
Instead, he said, justice should be allowed to take its course, and to respect the fact that two Jordanians were killed, he added.
Safadi said: “Jordan acted legally and morally [by complying to international laws on diplomatic mission]. It is upon Israel to do the same and allow for justice to take its course and to stop provocative behaviours that distort the facts here.
We respected our obligations under international law because the suspect enjoys diplomatic immunity. We agreed with his statement, which we did and we agreed with the Israelis that he goes back. So Jordan did what it had to do under international law and now  it is incumbent upon Israel to also do what it has to do under the law, which is to allow for the criminal justice to take its course and also to act morally and allow for justice to happen.”
Safadi acknowledged that Jordan’s abidance by international law drew fire domestically, especially from MPs.
“The government is under pressure by deputies because it allowed the Israeli killer to leave,” he said, stressing that the decision had to be taken in this way out of Jordan’s commitments to international conventions.
[Jordan sees Israeli reactions to embassy case ‘absurd’“, Jordan Times, July 26, 2017]

Interesting ideas, and some striking expressions that we highlighted. Now we have some questions for Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

Does he, and do any of his advisers, consider that the statements bolded in the quoted piece ought to be taken seriously? Or are we to assume this article, along with its self-justifying expressions of utter devotion to treaties, justice, international practices and high standards of morality, is for domestic Jordanian consumption only?

These are deliberately pointed questions given what we know about the brazenly unlawful way the Jordan government has dealt with the case of a confessed murderer and FBI Most Wanted Terrorist by the name of Ahlam Tamimi.

Tamimi iis a citizen of Jordan, born and raised and educated there but who nonetheless calls herself a Palestinian. Between 70% and 80% of all Jordanians do that.

Tamimi murdered our daughter Malki in 2001 along with fourteen other victims. She did it by masterminding the plot, carefully selecting the target and planting the bomb – who was a human being with an explosives-filled guitar case on his back.

Taking account of an additional victim who is still unconscious today, 16 years later, Tamimi is legally and morally responsible for sixteen lives destroyed – dozens of families broken, hundreds of people maimed and traumatized.

There are numerous on-line video clips and images of Tamimi laughing (literally) about the murders. She has never expressed a single word of regret about the Jerusalem massacre she masterminded. She admitted proudly and with a smile on her face to all the charges in court. Then she was released in the Shalit deal of 2011 when 1,027 terrorists were freed by Israel in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

Back in Jordan, Tamimi subsequently boasted repeatedly about the slaughter on visits to Algeria (December 2011), Kuwait (July 2012 and March 2014), Lebanon (April 2012 and January 2015), Qatar (April 2012 and again in December 2013), Tunisia (April 2012 and November 2015) and Yemen (April 2014).

She has expressed delight about the people she murdered on dozens of occasions speaking in front of high school and college students, professional guilds and women’s assemblies in numerous parts of Jordan. She had her own globally-distributed weekly television show for more than four years, in which the redemptive power of “resistance” crimes against Jews and Israelis were the core theme. She encouraged her audience to follow her example – kill Jews, kill Israeli children.

Our questions to the foreign minister of Jordan:

  1. Did Jordan sign a bilateral extradition treaty with the government of the United States on March 28, 1995 in Washington? (Hint: The full text of the treaty as signed and executed by the two governments is here, so presumably you’re not going to answer “no”.) And did Jordan ever claim – publicly or privately – up until the past year that the treaty was of no effect?
  2. Does Jordan’s abidance by international law (using the odd expression in the Jordan Times article) mean Jordan respects the treaty it signed?
  3. Did Jordan extradite to the US a Jordanian terrorist called Eyad Ismoil who drove a bomb-laden truck into the parking garage of the World Trade Center in 1993? (The right answer is: Yes it did.) And is Ismoil now serving a 240 year sentence in a US Federal prison for his terrorist crimes, with no chance of parole? Do you agree that this is allowing for justice to take its course? We do. Most people do.
  4. Did the United States announce on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 via the Department of Justice in Washington that the Jordanian woman Ahlam Tamimi was added that day to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list? (Hint: It’s recorded here on the DoJ website.) 
  5. Did Jordan react publicly to the news that a Federal criminal complaint against her, alleging the most serious of terrorist crimes, was being unsealed that day? (Hint: it’s described here.) Are there any other Jordanians on the list? (We checked. No, there are none except for Tamimi. Congratulations!) So did Jordan react publicly to the fact that a Jordanian was named? (We think it did not.) 
  6. Did Jordan respect the fact that two Americans were killed by a Jordanian who has repeatedly confessed to doing this? As a result, did it restrict her movements or her privileges in any way? Or is Jordan OK with having an FBI Most Wanted Terrorist living freely in its capital city and speaking publicly in its schools and universities and public places? How does any of that fit with you call Jordan’s passion to act morally and allow for justice to happen?
  7. Did Jordan do what it had to do under international law when the US asked it to extradite Tamimi under the provisions of the 22 year old treaty between the two countries? 
  8. Or did Jordan resort instead to absurd and insulting claims like “Oops – we should have ratified it back then but we forgot”?  
  9. With uncharacteristic efficiency, just six days after the US authorities announced they wanted her arrested and extradited, Jordan’s Court of Cassation (see Jordan rejects ‘most wanted’ woman’s extradition to US“, Arab News, March 21, 2017) “rejected an appeal to extradite Ahlam Al-Tamimi… as her family urged Jordan’s government to ensure Al-Tamimi’s safety. The court upheld a ruling issued by an appeals court, the official Petra news agency reported. Petra, quoting a judicial source, said the extradition cannot go through because Jordan’s Parliament has never ratified an extradition agreement with the US signed in March 1995.” On this sober-sounding legal decision, we ask: 
  • An appeals court? An appeal against what? Did someone in the Jordanian legal system order Tamimi to be extradited and that decision had to be appealed? We don’t think so. So who was the appellant? Simple question.
  • The extradition treaty – which was already enforced two decades ago to send Ismoil to face Federal charges in the US – wasn’t ratified? So ratify it now, this afternoon! If not, why not!? 
  • And what if there is no extradition treaty? Your strategic partner the United States is asking you to do it, no? What’s holding you back? Is that what you call acting morally and allowing for justice to happen? Or is it the exact opposite?
  • Tamimi lives freely in Amman, Jordan. Many say she lives the life of a celebrity there. Her murders are a matter of public record. Her confessions are too. Jordan harbors her, keeping her under royal protection according to some thank you messages she has posted in Arabic on social media. In what conceivable way does Jordan’s treatment of this sadistic, vicious, deeply bigoted woman fit with Jordan’s commitments to international conventions? To respecting your obligations under international law? To acting morally?
  • We assume these questions are going to be ignored as all our previous questions, comments and suggestions to the Jordanian ruling clique have been. We know how easily voices like ours can be brushed aside.

    But we hope to show the minister and his king that brushing aside the questions themselves is going to be less easy.

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