EMET Thanks Congressman Ron DeSantis for His Courageous Hearing on Seeking Justice for American Victims of Palestinian Terrorism
(January 27 2016, Washington, DC) Today, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) expressed its strong thanks to Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) for his upcoming hearing on seeking justice for American victims of Palestinian terrorism in Israel and the disputed territories. EMET itself has had a long history of pursuing justice for American victims of Palestinian terrorism, and originally brought this issue to Rep. DeSantis’ attention.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), the Chairman of the National Security Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will hold the oversight hearing on Tuesday, February 2, 2016. The hearing will start at 2:00pm in room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.
The witnesses include: Sarri Singer, who was injured in a suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem in June of 2003, and is the founder and director of Strength to Strength, an organization that unites victims of terrorism; Arnold Roth, whose daughter, Malka Roth, was murdered by a suicide bomber at a Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in August of 2001; Peter Schwartz, whose nephew, Ezra Schwartz, was murdered by Palestinian terrorists while studying and volunteering in Israel in November of 2015; and Brad Wiegmann, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division, U.S. Department of Justice.
Post-Oslo, the number of American citizens who have been victims of attacks in Israel or the West Bank stands at 64 killed, not including two unborn children, and more than 91 wounded. The latest American killed was 18 year old Ezra Schwartz.
For well over two decades, Sarah Stern and EMET have been fighting for justice for those Americans victims of Palestinian terrorism in Israel and the disputed territories. EMET has focused on the unwillingness of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to indict, extradite, and prosecute a single Palestinian terrorist with American blood on his/her hands. This is true even though, since 1991, U.S. law has given American prosecutors the necessary tools to prosecute these criminals, and since 2005, there has been an office within the DOJ – the Office of Justice of Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OJVOT) – to pressure the DOJ to prosecute.
EMET founder and President, Sarah Stern, was instrumental in the initial creation of the OJVOT in 2005. This DOJ unit is meant to monitor acts of terrorism against Americans outside the U.S., to assist the living victims and their families, and is supposed to pressure the DOJ to bring to justice those terrorists who have harmed Americans anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, since its establishment, the office has not produced a single DOJ prosecution and conviction that we are aware of. Neither the OJVOT, nor the DOJ, have ever adequately explained their unwillingness to prosecute Palestinian terrorists.
In the years since 2005, EMET has doggedly been working to educate Congress about the DOJ and the OJVOT’s unwillingness to do their job and make sure that any Palestinian terrorist who harms an American is brought to justice. EMET has held a staff briefing on Capitol Hill, bringing in American victims and family members. EMET has also met with more than 100 offices to explain this issue to them. EMET has worked with a bipartisan group of House members, and Senators, to produce numerous letters to the DOJ, demanding prosecutions of these terrorists, and also assisted in finding co-sponsors for these letters. And on November 4, 2015, thanks in large part to EMET’s tireless efforts, a Senate Subcommittee led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) held an oversight hearing, primarily focusing on Iranian funded Palestinian terrorism and civil lawsuits.
EMET founder and President Sarah Stern praised Rep. Ron DeSantis for his scheduled oversight hearing, “Chairman DeSantis and his Subcommittee should be commended for their efforts to seek justice for Americans who have been killed or harmed by Palestinian terrorists. Ever since Oslo, these victims of terrorism have become the invisible or disposable Americans whom, for political reasons, our government have decided are not deserving of the same justice as any other American citizen who has been killed. Etched on our Supreme Court are the words ‘Equal Justice Under Law,’ but apparently that is not true if you happen to be an American who was attacked by a Palestinian terrorist while living, working, touring or studying in Israel.”
Stern added, “This is not what America is all about. The pure and rigorous pursuit of justice should never be subordinate to any other factor. The very reason the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism was created within the Department of Justice was so that the clean pursuit of justice for all Americans, no matter where they have been killed, not be contaminated by diplomatic or political factors. By sweeping the pursuit of justice under the rug, we are sending an ambivalent, mixed message to would be terrorists around the globe about our resolve against Islamist terrorism, and we are indicating that certain American lives are less valuable than others. In a time when we are seeing a significant rise in both anti-Semitism and Islamic terrorism, this is precisely the wrong message America should be sending.”
About The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, EMET’s mission is to educate policymakers in Washington and the general public about the importance of Israel to the United States in their common struggle against radical Islam. For more information, please visitwww.emetonline.org. Follow EMET on Twitter and Facebook.
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