Extradite Ahlam Tamimi

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Ahlam Tamimi is a Palestinian terrorist who played a central role in the 2001 bombing of a

Tamimi was arrested and tried in Israel for her role in the deadly bombing. She was convicted in 2003 and received 16 life sentences. Eight years later, Israel freed Tamimi and more than 1,000 other prisoners in exchange for the return to Israel of Hamas captive Gilad Shalit.

In 2013, two years after Tamimi’s release by Israel, she was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for her involvement in the Sbarro bombing and the murder of Shoshana Yehudit Greenbaum, a 31-year-old American who was five months pregnant, and 15-year-old American Israeli Malka Chana Roth. Another victim, Chana Finer Nachenberg, also an American Israeli, suffered severe injuries that left her in a coma. Nachenberg died on May 30, having never regained consciousness.


The U.S. charges were initially filed under seal. Four years later, in 2017, they were made public, at which time the U.S. also sought Tamimi’s extradition from Jordan for trial in the U.S. under a 1995 Jordan-U.S. treaty. Six days after the extradition request was served, Jordan’s Court of Cassation declared the 1995 treaty invalid, for the failure of Jordan to ratify it properly.

U.S. authorities have rejected that finding, citing, among other things, the very public ratification of the treaty by the late King Hussein of Jordan, and his public pledge to “carry out its provisions and abide by its Articles.”

Since her release in 2011, Tamimi has lived in Jordan. According to a letter from American Jewish Committee CEO Ted Deutch to Attorney General Merrick Garland sent last week, in which AJC urged the Department of Justice to extradite Tamimi and try her in the United States, Tamimi is “unrepentant.” Indeed, according to The Jerusalem Post, she told a Jordanian news site shortly after her release that she would “do it again.”

The ADL letter also noted how Tamimi “has enjoyed celebrity status since returning to Jordan, glorifying and inciting terrorism and for five years hosting a program on the Hamas-affiliated Al-Quds TV, beamed throughout the Arabic-speaking world.”
We join in the AJC’s demand for U.S. enforcement of Jordan’s extradition treaty obligation.
The Justice Department knew Tamimi was in Jordan when it indicted her in 2014. The fact that Tamimi had been tried, convicted, sentenced, jailed and then released by Israel in a highly politicized prisoner swap has no bearing on Tamimi’s culpability for her crimes under U.S. law.

And so, once the indictment was unsealed in 2017, U.S. authorities immediately sought the extradition of Tamimi under an international treaty that had been in place for 22 years. That was the right thing to do in 2017, and extradition is still the right thing to do today.
The United States has an array of legal, political and diplomatic means for dealing with extradition requests to reluctant treaty partners. The Biden administration should use those tools to compel Jordan to release Tamimi under the 1995 treaty and to face trial in the U.S. for her involvement in the tragic murder of three American citizens.

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