Justice for American Victims of Palestinian Terrorism Fact Sheet
The Endowment for Middle East Truth | February 28, 2020
EMET is Still Seeking Justice for All Americans Murdered or Injured by Palestinian Terrorists
The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), led by Founder and President Sarah Stern, has been working to make sure that any Palestinian terrorist who harms an American is brought to justice.
The Anti-Terrorism Act of 1991, 18 USC Sec. 2332(b), says that whenever an American is killed or harmed overseas in an act of international terrorism, the U.S. has the right and the responsibility to prosecute and punish, in United States courts, the individual(s) who murdered or maimed the American citizen. There is no statute of limitations.
In 2005, Sarah Stern helped pass the Koby Mandell Act, P.L. 108-447. This Act required the Attorney General to establish an office in the Department of Justice (DOJ) – the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OJVOT) – to monitor acts of terrorism against Americans outside the U.S. and to make sure that prosecutions of these terrorist attacks remains a “high priority” for the DOJ.
The Act was named after a 13-year-old American-Israeli boy – from Silver Spring, Maryland, named Koby Mandell – who was murdered on May 8, 2001, when he was stoned to death at Tekoa.
Sarah Stern is a personal friend of the Mandells.
Even though, using only post-Oslo numbers, the number of American victims of attacks in Israel and the disputed territories stands at 69 killed, not including two unborn children, and more than 91 wounded, the DOJ has never indicted, extradited, and/or prosecuted a single one of these Palestinian terrorists.
Israeli releases of Palestinian terrorists:
In 2011, over 1000 Palestinians were released for the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.Up to 20 of them have American blood on their hands. One of the most notorious of these terrorists is Ahlam Tamimi.
On August 9, 2001, Tamimi’s actions caused a bomb blast that pulverized a Sbarro Pizzeria located in Jerusalem. Among those killed were two Americans: a 15 old girl and a pregnant woman.
After her release in 2011, Tamimi was given money from both Hamas and the PA, moved to Jordan, began to host a weekly show on the Hamas TV station, and became a regular commentator on Arab media, frequently celebrating her crimes.
On April 5, 2012, the DOJ sent its response letter to a Congressional letter calling on the agency to prosecute Palestinian terrorists, including Tamimi. This response claimed that “there are significant impediments to bringing prosecutions in the United States for attacks that occur overseas.” The main impediment mentioned was “(t)he crime scenes are located in places that are not under the United States’ control and, therefore, the United States is entirely dependent on the sovereign country where the attack occurred for assistance and cooperation in these investigations.” Therefore, the DOJ asserted that it could not guarantee that everything would be done by the letter of U.S. criminal law, and that there would be no resulting problems with the chain of custody of the evidence and the admissibility of confessions.
This Justice Department argument, in reference to the Tamimi case, does not make sense. Tamimi has confessed to her crimes multiple times. See here.
A letter by Sen. Jim Inhofe R-OK specifically followed up on the Tamimi case. Under U.S. law, her taped admissions are not banned “hearsay” and may be used in court to convict her.
The second DOJ response letter claimed that the DOJ could not discuss the Tamimi case because it was an “ongoing investigation.”
In 2016, in the DeSantis Hearing, the DOJ again insisted it could not discuss the Tamimi case because it was an “ongoing investigation.”
In 2013, Israel pledged to release Palestinian terrorists as a precondition for “peace talks” with the Palestinian Authority. Three groups of terrorists, totaling 78, were released. The groups included two who murdered Steven Rosenfeld, a U.S.-born former Marine who immigrated to Israel.
EMET has worked with Congress multiple times to pressure the Justice Department to prosecute Palestinian terrorists with American blood on their hands:
In 2012, Reps. Joe Walsh (R-IL) and Howard Berman (D-CA) wrote a letter to Attorney General Holder asking the DOJ to bring Palestinian terrorists to justice. Fifty two other Congressmen, from both parties, co-signed this letter.
In 2012, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) wrote two letters to Attorney General Holder asking the DOJ to bring Palestinian terrorists to justice.
In 2013, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) wrote a letter to Attorney General Holder asking the DOJ to bring Palestinian terrorists to justice. Fifteen Congressmen co-signed this letter.
None of the DOJ responses have been particularly responsive, as demonstrated above.
EMET’s work on this issue inspired Sen. Cruz R-TX to hold a U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Oversight Hearing, on November 4, 2015, regarding Iranian sponsorship of this Palestinian terrorism, which focused primarily on civil lawsuits.
EMET also inspired Congressman Ron DeSantis R-FL to hold a U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee, National Security Subcommittee hearing, on February 2, 2016, which focused primarily on the lack of criminal prosecutions.
With the arrival of the new Trump Administration, EMET met with a White House official in March 6, 2017 to brief her on the issue and ask for action.
On March 14, 2017, the Justice Department unveiled charges against Ahlam Tamimi, and made an extradition request to Jordan, where she is living.
EMET applauds the DOJ for finally opening up the file on Ahlam Tamimi, and for requesting her extradition from Jordan. EMET will not rest, however, until Ms. Tamimi is brought to justice in an American court of law, is sentenced and receives her punishment on U.S. soil; and the same holds true for all the other Palestinian terrorists. who have killed or injured American citizens abroad.
The government of Jordan now denies that they have an extradition treaty with the United, States, despite the fact that three other Jordanian terrorists have been extradited to the United States and are now serving out lengthy prison sentences on American soil.
About the Author
The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) is a Washington, D.C. based think tank and policy center with an unabashedly pro-America and pro-Israel stance. EMET (which means truth in Hebrew) prides itself on challenging the falsehoods and misrepresentations that abound in U.S. Middle East policy.