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(Washington, D.C., June 16, 2020) The Endowment for Middle East Truth, (EMET) is profoundly grateful to learn that the US government is demanding the extradition of Ahlam Tamimi, a Jordanian national who was responsible for masterminding the Sbarro Pizzeria Massacre on August 9, 2001. This resulted in the murder of 15 civilians, including two American citizens, Malki Roth (15) and Judith Greenbaum (31) who was pregnant at the time. A third American, Chana Nachenberg (31) has been in a permanent vegetative state ever since.

This story broke in this morning’s AP Wire service that the United States is considering withholding US aid to Jordan unless Ms. Tamimi is extradited to these shores.

This has been a long awaited breakthrough in the arduous road towards justice. It represents a huge shift in American foreign policy. Up until now, certain Americans, particularly those who have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists, have been treated as the disposable pawns on a foreign policy chessboard; and justice has taken a back seat to foreign policy considerations.

In particular, EMET would like to thank Senator Ted Cruz, (R-Texas) for pressing this issue with US Ambassador to Jordan, Henry Wooster, as part of the Ambassador Wooster’s confirmation process.

We would also like to thank Ambassador Henry Wooster for his clarity in his response and for being on the right side of history. According to the Associated Press, Ambassador Wooster wrote “The United States has multiple options and different types of leverage to secure Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi’s extradition,” Wooster wrote. “We will continue to engage Jordanian officials at all levels not only on this issue, but also on the extradition treaty more broadly. U.S. generosity to Jordan in Foreign Military Financing as well as economic support and other assistance is carefully calibrated to protect and advance the range of U.S. interests in Jordan and in the region.” When asked if US aid to Jordan would be used to as leverage in the Tamimi extradition, Ambassador Wooster replied, “If confirmed, I would explore all options to bring Ahlam Aref Ahamad al Tamimi to justice, secure her extradition, and explore the broader issues associated with the extradition treaty.”

Ms. Tamimi has claimed she specifically sought out a place frequented by young Jewish families, and picked up the suicide bomber, Izz al din Shuheil al Masri, (Arabicعز الدين شهيل المصري) where he detonated himself. The blast that ensued was so great it rocked most of Western Jerusalem. Tamimi was arrested by the Israeli authorities, and sentenced to 16 consecutive life terms. However, in 2011, she was among 1,027 Hamas terrorists with blood on their hands, who were been traded for the kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.

When she flew to Jordan, she was immediately welcomed like a conquering hero and given her own regular spot on a Hamas television show, where she set herself up a role-model for potential female terrorists because of this heinous crime.

Ahlam Tamimi remains the most wanted female terrorist on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. There is a $5 million bounty on Ms. Tamimi’s head. Jordan signed an extradition treaty with the United States on March 28, 1995. Since then, three other terrorists were extradited to the United States, Eyad Ismoil on August 2, 1995, Mohammad Zaki Amawi in 2006, and Nadar Sadar in 2015.

However, since Ms. Tamimi has received “rock star status” as a consequence of her dastardly crime, the Jordanians now claim that they lack an extradition treaty with the United States.

For many years, EMET has been working in the trenches about this issue. We are also grateful for a letter signed by seven Republican Congressmen who sent a letter to Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar on April 30, 2020 demanding that Ms. Tamimi complies with the American extradition request of M.s Tamimi. These include  Rep. Greg Steube, (R, Florida), Rep. Brian Mast, (R, Florida),  Rep. Paul Gosar, (R, Arizona), Rep. Doug Lamborn, (R, Colorado), Rep. Scott Perry (R, Pennsylvania), Rep. Ted Yaho, (Republican Florida) and Rep. Louie Gohmert, (R, Texas).

EMET has arranged for several Congressional letters on this issue throughout the years, and has successfully called for hearings in the House Oversight Committee on February 2, 2016, and in the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 4, 2015.

Says Sarah Stern, EMET Founder and President, “This is a very long awaited and wonderful breakthrough in the arduous path towards the realization of justice. However, we will not be happy until Ms. Tamimi is extradited to the United States and is forced to stand trial in a US Court of law, and to mete out her punishment in an American prison.”

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.

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