Deserving of Justice

A memorial plaque outside a cafe commemorates the victims of the 2001 suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria at that site in Yerushalayim. (Noam Moskowitz/Flash90)

In an interview with Hamodia many years ago, as part of its “Profiles of Courage” series, Arnold Roth shared a story that explained why Europe was so reluctant to take action against terrorists.

Roth, the father of Malki, Hy”d, who was murdered in the 2001 Sbarro bombing in Yerushalayim, was in Brussels as part of a campaign to raise awareness. He had come together with other relatives of terror victims and a bombed out shell of a bus that was used to demonstrate what Israel was going through during the Second Intifada, also known as the Palestinian miniwar.

Roth was frustrated at his inability to get through to the European parliamentarians he had been speaking to. They listened impatiently to his story, showing him the door at the earliest possible moment. Finally, he found one person who told him the truth about why he should expect no sympathy, or show of support, in Europe.

“Do you know the most popular name given to baby boys in Belgium last year?” he was asked.

“Mohammed.”

The message was clear. European politicians who want to get reelected know better than to come out against radical Islam and terrorism. They’ll give people like Roth, and in later years, the mothers of the three boys who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas, a perfunctory meeting and feigned show of sympathy, but no more.

In the United States, by contrast, the sympathy and support for victims of terrorism has been genuine. But over the years various “interests” have crept in, such as the need to keep Arab oil flowing. In addition, even the most pro-Israel administrations were often hamstrung by the professionals at the State Department, who had their own biases.

Today, things are different. The U.S. is energy self-sufficient, and there is a president who doesn’t let the State Department dictate to him. That raises hope for Arnold Roth and other terror victims that justice can be done, even if belatedly.

At issue now is the U.S. demand that Jordan extradite Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, who is on the FBI’s most-wanted list for her role in the Sbarro bombing. This sadistic, evil woman, who was shown smiling upon learning that eight children, including 15-year-old Malki, were killed in the attack she’d organized, is living freely in Jordan.

The Hashemite kingdom has rebuffed repeated U.S. requests that it extradite the murderer of Malki, a U.S. citizen, to no avail. Now, a move is underway to use the threat of withholding American aid, amounting to $1.3 billion a year, if Jordan refuses to turn over the mass murderer.

There is no question that the aid money promotes U.S. interests, including regional stability and the global campaign to defeat ISIS. But justice is no less a U.S. interest.

“My wife and I have been battling since February 2012 to see the United States charge, extradite and prosecute this horrifying fugitive from justice who proudly boasts of murdering so many children,” Roth said.

The time has come for Malki’s parents to stop battling and to declare victory for justice.