Just days before Jordan’s King Abdullah II is to meet with President Biden at the White House, the parents of an American teenager murdered in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem are
hailing proposed legislation that would hold the government of Jordan accountable for its years-long refusal to extradite the Hamas terrorist who killed her.
US Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) recently introduced The Recognition of the 1995 Jordan Extradition Treaty, with the US Act to limit US assistance to Jordan until the Kingdom of Jordan
recognizes the validity of the 1995 extradition treaty between the two countries.
“For almost a decade, King Abdullah II has rejected requests from US officials at the highest levels to hand over the terrorist who faces charges in Washington. She’s wanted for her central role in
the 2001 terrorist attack on a Jerusalem restaurant packed with children”, said Arnold and Frimet Roth, whose daughter, Malki, was one of those murdered.
“Tamimi has proudly admitted to the charges. They have made her an icon among Jordanians and Palestinian Arabs.”
The White House confirmed today that King Abdullah will meet with President Biden on Friday.
The meeting will be the second between the two leaders in less than a year, and the official American visit the king’s third in the same period.
“Ahlam Tamimi’s obscene, ongoing freedom in Jordan has to be on the agenda of every meeting the Jordanian monarch is granted in this week’s royal visit to Washington,” said Arnold Roth.
“That includes his reception on Friday in the Oval Office. Bringing Tamimi to justice, a nonpartisan issue with clear consequences for the battle against terror, has been thwarted by the Jordanians for far too long and by too many officials.”
In 2001, as a 21-year-old news reader for a Palestinian Arab television station, Tamimi became the first-ever female terror agent of the outlawed Hamas organization. She soon sought and got the lead role in a massacre that devastated a popular Jerusalem pizzeria operated by the American Sbarro chain.
Tamimi would later claim credit for orchestrating the bombing which resulted in the deaths of 15 persons, mostly school children, and injured and maimed an additional 140.
Malki Roth was one of two Americans murdered in the attack. The other was a newly married tourist from New Jersey, pregnant with her first child. An additional American victim, a young mother having lunch with her toddler daughter, suffered critical injuries and remains in a coma more than two decades later.
Tamimi confessed to all charges in an Israeli court and was sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment. But in a 2011 deal with Hamas for the release of an Israeli soldier held hostage for
five years, she was one of 1,027 Palestinian Arab prisoners freed by Israel.
Tamimi, born in Jordan, returned there, rapidly establishing herself as an influential media celebrity with a vast, global Arabic-speaking audience.
In March 2017, the US Department of Justice announced federal charges against Tamimi, declaring her an FBI Most Wanted Terrorist and requested extradition.
In January 2018, the State Department announced a $5 million reward for information leading to her arrest.
Tamimi remains free today, shielded from US justice by the Kingdom of Jordan in breach of the 1995 extradition treaty between the two countries. The unrepentant Tamimi has been called America’s most wanted female terrorist.
Since 2017, when the US made its first formal request, Jordan has persistently refused to honor its treaty obligations to the US – its largest benefactor – in clear breach of the solemn promise made
by King Hussein, the father of today’s king, to uphold the treaty.
“Our US tax dollars will not continue to flow to a country harboring a Hamas terrorist with American blood on her hands,” said Congressman Greg Steube, in a statement released by his office April 25, 2022.
“The Government of Jordan is failing to comply with a 1995 treaty which requires them to extradite individuals like Ahlam al Tamimi who faces trial for terrorism under US law. My legislation will ensure our foreign assistance to Jordan is abruptly halted until Jordan is in compliance with our extradition treaty.”
The Roths are calling upon lawmakers from both sides of Congress to support Rep. Steube’s proposed legislation.
“Seeing the woman behind the savagery of the Sbarro bombing finally stand trial in the US ought to get the wholehearted backing of everyone who cherishes justice,” said Frimet Roth.
“All human lives have to count. So let’s recognize that the Jordanian woman’s freedom is understood by vast audiences outside the US as granting impunity to certain kinds of murder. That’s unbearable. We have to change it.”