Latest update: January 16th, 2013
Ahlam Tamimi was a newscaster on Palestinian television, on a channel assigned by Israel, broadcast from the tall antennas of Ramallah handed over by Israel to the PA in the Oslo Accords. On August 9, 2001, Tamimi started another career, and drove a suicide terrorist into Jerusalem. She equipped him with explosive belts, brought him to Cafe Sbarro, coached him on positioning himself among the dining families in that bustling venue, and asked that he give her fifteen minutes so that she could leave.
She quickly returned to Ramallah, seated herself in the television studio, and reported the awful terrorist attack that she herself had masterminded.
Tamimi never expressed any regret. When she first learned from a journalist who was interviewing her in jail that she had murdered eight children, not just three, she just smiled broadly and continued with the interview.
After receiving life sentences for the fifteen people she had killed, Tamimi went on to become a star in an Israeli film called The Security Prisoners (Habitchoniyim). The producer explained to us that he showed such sympathy for the terrorist in their interactions because the whole point of the film was to create a revolution in the image of terrorists, so that they would be released when peace came. He had no idea how fast she and another 1,026 terrorists would be freed in reality.
This month the story reached its happy ending, at least as far as Tamimi is concerned—and a sad ending for the families of those she helped murder. Most people don’t know it, but during the time terrorists are in jail, the big-hearted State of Israel sometimes permits them to marry. Ahlam Tamimi married another member of the murder organizations by the name of Nizan Tamimi, who had participated in the murder of Chaim Mizrahi of Bet El.
Mizrahi was murdered by people with whom he had regular business dealings. They were such buddies that when one of them asked to have his picture taken with Mizrahi’s gun, he just took out the magazine, gave him the gun, and took a picture of him. That was the last picture Mizrahi ever took. They grabbed him by the hands and feet and stabbed him to death.
Nizan also was released in the Schalit Deal. However, the authorities refused to allow him to follow his wife, who was expelled to Jordan. Still, this didn’t stop him from trying his luck with repeated requests for family reunification until he finally got his way.
This story didn’t get to you because news producers and editors ignored it. We tried to explain to them that this is a serious blow to the feelings of the bereaved families and to moral principles, not to mention a violation of the Victims’ Rights Law. We explained that the Ministry of Justice didn’t even inform the families and that Netanyahu’s office, which had been so sensitive to the feelings of the Schalit family and the media, didn’t respond to the letter sent by attorney Arnold Roth, whose daughter Malki was murdered at Sbarro.
So why did they ignore the story? One typical answer that we received: It’s true that they killed sixteen Israelis, who can’t ever be reunited with their own families, but what good will revenge do? Why should we begrudge them the opportunity to build a new life together after spending so long in prison? Besides, coming after the wholesale release of terrorists from jail, this is nothing.
Following that, we went to the security establishment to get answers. Why had they changed their minds and let Nizan go to Jordan? The answer we received is that in the present situation, it is preferable that he be in Jordan, as the criminal had taken steps to return to terrorism.
Then why don’t you put him back in jail? The release of terrorists in the Schalit Deal had conditions attached to it to let the authorities return recidivist terrorists to jail to serve the remainder of their original sentences!
The answer to that was even more informative.
You know how it is, our interlocutors said. We can’t reveal our sources and sometimes we can’t even reveal our evidence. The only option is to request administrative detention….
Our sources told of a highly developed structure of lawyers, activists, and even public relations professionals that has been constructed around the terrorists. Upon further investigation, we became convinced that they were right about that. A major part of this architecture is provided by academic institutions abroad and in Israel running law programs geared to producing skilled, proficient lawyers of a certain bent who together form an army for the protection of terrorism suspects’ civil liberties.
One such person, Dr. Shiri Krebs, was written up in Makor Rishon after she published a comprehensive, aggressive study of administrative detentions. Years ago she had learned the tools of her trade as an aide to High Court Chief Justice Dorit Beinish, tools that she carried with her all the way to an international law chair at the University of Santa Clara, in the midst of leftist Californian academia. Naturally, Krebs is also a staff member of the Israel Democracy Institute.
In the beginning, Krebs sold her wares and research abroad, where the major buyers of anti-Israel wares are located. Now, having besmirched the State of Israel elsewhere, she is trying to import her faulty product to our country, in Hebrew, in an effort to convince the Israeli public that administrative detention constitutes a severe violation of civil liberties and ought to be discontinued.
To read Krebs’ study is to understand the constant difficulties that the Shin Bet faces in the battle of minds against the terrorists and their supporters.
It also is to understand what gave the two murderers confidence in their fight to be reunited as a happy family in Jordan. They are as aware as we are of the ongoing deterioration in Israel’s counter-terrorism abilities and of the limits of Israeli power.
They saw, just as we did, how prisoners on a hunger strike regained their “rights” to television including two Arabic channels, joint meals, and free higher education.
They saw, just as we did, how a rightist government was so sympathetic to Mahmoud Abbas and his claims about the psychological need of PA families to get back the bodies of their murderous relatives, with the prime minister’s office going so far as to publish a press release denigrating keeping the bodies in Israeli hands by stating that “Israel does not traffic in bodies.”
They saw, just as we did, the fancy and impressive ceremony in which the dead murderers were officially recognized by the Palestinian Authority as shahidim (martyrs), and the honor guards that accompanied them to their final resting places as if they were soldiers rather than murderers. The only thing missing was an IDF honor guard and delegation from the government of Israel.
This is why they were confident that their lives too could be better if they just persisted in their ways, and surely enough, they persisted in their fight until they managed to “convince” the Israeli authorities to let them reunite in Jordan. Yet, it must be noted, these contemptible beings remain as contemptible as ever, and could not even be bothered to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to their second, symbolic wedding ceremony.
He should have been the best man.
First published in Makor Rishon (Hebrew), June 2012. Translated from Hebrew by David B. Greenberg.
About the Author: Lt.-Col. (ret.) Meir Indor is CEO of Almagor Terror Victims Association. In his extended career of public service, he has worked as a journalist, founded the Libi Fund, Sar-El, Habaita, among many other initiatives, and continues to lend his support to other pressing causes of the day.
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