The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) has called on the United States to make the extradition of known terrorist Ahlam Ahmad Al-Tamimi by Jordan to the U.S. a prerequisite for any new foreign aid to Jordan. President Trump has made clear that the United States is not going to give money while countries that receive such funds act against U.S. interests. Jordan is acting against clear U.S. interests in not extraditing Al-Tamimi to the United States.
Earlier this week, the United States and Jordan signed a memorandum of understanding that obligates the U.S. to provide Jordan with no less than $1.275 billion annually in bilateral foreign assistance. A 27% increase of the United States’ previous bilateral commitment to Jordan, the term of the new agreement was also increased from 3 to 5 years.
Al-Tamimi, who was designated by the FBI as one its “Most Wanted Terrorists,” was charged by the U.S. in March 2017 with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the U.S., resulting in death. The charges against Al-Tamimi relate to her participation in the August 9, 2001 suicide bomb attack at Sbarro, a Jerusalem pizza restaurant, which killed 15 people, including 2 U.S. nationals. 4 additional Unites States nationals were among the 122 other individuals who were injured in the deadly attack. Al-Tamimi played a role in the bombing after pledging to carry out attacks on behalf of the terrorist organization Hamas.
After pleading guilty in 2003 in an Israeli court to multiple counts of murder relating to the Sbarro attack, Al-Tamimi only served 8 years of a life sentence in prison before she was released in October 2011 as part of the prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas that freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Jordan has repeatedly rejected the United States’ requests that Al-Tamimi be extradited to the U.S. so she could be held accountable for her deadly actions.
“We believe that the Jordanian government should act in the interest of justice relative to Al-Tamimi before the United States hands them a minimum of $6.375 billion over the next five years under the new agreement,” said NCYI President Farley Weiss. “We call upon the Trump Administration to ensure that King Abdullah lives up to the words of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that he is a ‘voice against terrorism’ and has displayed a ‘commitment to combating terrorism’ by extraditing Al-Tamimi to the U.S. One cannot be against terrorism and simultaneously grant safe haven to terrorists. The United States should not release any new funds to Jordan until they transfer Al-Tamimi to the U.S. so she can be tried on American soil for her heinous and horrific terrorist acts.”
Weiss also noted the comments made by U.S. law enforcement officials when Al-Tamimi was criminally charged in March 2017. At the time, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord stated, “Al-Tamimi is an unrepentant terrorist who admitted to her role in a deadly terrorist bombing that injured and killed numerous innocent victims. The charges unsealed today serve as a reminder that when terrorists target Americans anywhere in the world, we will never forget – and we will continue to seek to ensure that they are held accountable.” In addition, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips for the District of Columbia declared, “We have never forgotten the American and non-American victims of this awful terrorist attack. We will continue to remain vigilant until Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi is brought to justice.”
“The United States’ pledge of vigilance until Al-Tamimi is held accountable for her crimes and the promise that the U.S. will never forget when Americans are targeted by terrorists cannot and should not be forgotten,” said Weiss. “It is our hope that the U.S. pressures Jordan to ensure Al-Tamimi’s extradition to the United States to face the consequences for her crimes against humanity.”