Much has been written about the relative merits of the so-called “prisoner exchange” in which Israel was compelled, under duress, to release 1,027 convicted felons in exchange for Gilad Shalit. But there has been little focus on the released convicts themselves.
Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the United States has jurisdiction to prosecute terrorists whose acts caused the death of American citizens abroad. Now that Shalit is safe and sound, the American-Jewish community should not be afraid to lobby for the enforcement of the ATA against any — or all — of the 1,027 releasees that have American blood on their hands, including Ahlam Tamimi, the infamous journalist-turned-terrorist who orchestrated the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem that killed Shoshana Greenbaum of Passaic. The United States has extradition treaties with many of the countries to which the convicts were sent under the terms of the Shalit deal, including Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan, where Tamimi currently resides.
Enforcing the ATA is the right thing to do for a host of reasons: It is in Israel’s best interest, because it would not only incapacitate and deter future terrorist attacks in Israel but would also help prevent future kidnappings of Israeli soldiers. It is also in full accord with the fundamental principles of justice and the right not to live in fear that have been the hallmarks of the recent overthrow of the dictatorial regimes in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt.
Most importantly, however, demanding the extradition of criminals like Tamimi — who is entirely unrepentant and has expressly stated that she will do the same thing again if and when she gets the opportunity — is the only humane thing to do for both the families of the victims who have seen their killers walk free, and the law-abiding citizens of Jordan, Turkey, and elsewhere who have been forced, presumably against their will, to live next door to hardened killers.
David Charles Pollack
New York, NY