As part of its anti-terror program, the United States State Department routinely offers rewards for information leading to the capture of murderers of Americans around the world. However, there continues to be one general exception to the rule ? Americans killed by Palestinian terrorists.

According to the Zionist Organization of America, twenty-one American citizens have been murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists in Israel since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993, and at least 70 more Americans were killed prior to 1993. The Israeli government has identified, by name, 23 terrorists involved in some of these killings; all 23 are being sheltered by Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority regime.

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Although more than four months have passed since a senior State Department official promised to offer rewards for information leading to the capture of Palestinian Arab killers of Americans, no such rewards have yet been offered.

Assistant Secretary of State William Burns made the promise when the testified at a Congressional hearing on July 26, 2001. Asked about the fact that the State Department's web site offers rewards to capture killers of Americans overseas, except when the killers are Palestinian Arabs, Burns replied: ''The administration shares the concern of many Members of Congress and many Americans about the importance of finding a way to address this on the web site, and we are going to do that. We're looking now at exactly how we do that on the web site, but we will move ahead and find a way of advertising on the web site.'' When the issue was raised again, Burns replied: ''As I said, sir, we are going to find a way to put it on the web site.''

Yet more than four months have passed, and the State Department's web site for the rewards program still does not offer any rewards for the capture of Palestinian Arab killers of Americans ? despite the fact that, in the wake of the Arab terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the State Department pledged to do everything possible to capture foreign terrorists who murder Americans.

Because of the State Department's conspicuous failure to offer rewards or take any other serious steps against Palestinian Arab killers of Americans, leading Members of Congress recently introduced legislation, known as the Koby Mandell Act of 2001 (S. 1377 & H.R. 2098), to establish a special office within the Justice Department to focus on this issue. (Mandell was a 13-year-old boy from Maryland brutally murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists in May 2001.)

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), AIPAC, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations all strongly support the bill.

It deserves all of our support.

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