Tuesday, October 06, 2020

By Daled Amos

The mastermind of the Sbarro Massacre, responsible for 145 casualties and 15 deaths -- including 2 Americans -- is in the news again. Now the attempt to extradite Hamas terrorist Ahlam Tamimi from Jordan to the US focused on her husband, Nizan, who was deported and ended up in Qatar.

Apparently, the goal is to encourage Ahlam to leave Jordan to join him there. 

This way, the standoff between Jordan and the US would be brought to an end. Till now, Jordan has claimed that its extradition treaty with the US is invalid -- despite the fact that Jordan honored the treaty in 1995 to extradite terrorist Eyad Ismoil, a Jordanian national, for his part in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.

So why not just deport Ahlam as well?

No Jordanian may be deported from the territory of the Kingdom.
While Ahlam is a Jordanian national and is protected by this clause in their Constitution, Nizar only has Palestinian citizenship, and is not. 

Not that this has stopped Jordan in the past.

In 1999, Jordan kicked 4 Hamas leaders out of the country, including Khaled Meshal, and Hamas spokesman Ibrahim Ghosheh -- also to Qatar.

But there is a big difference between deporting Nizan, the murderer of Chaim Mizrachi, and deporting his wife, the mastermind of the Sbarro massacre, and a popular celebrity in Jordan. Thus far, Tamimi has evaded justice. At one point, she was arrested by Interpol in 2017 for extradition to the US, but ended up spending only 1 day in prison. 

Deporting Nizan to Qatar, possibly in an attempt to lure Tamimi out of Jordan, might be easier.

Tamimi herself is aware of this. She is quoted by Quds Press:
The timing is very bad, but it seems that the Jordanian side is betting that I will join my husband to Qatar, and this is not at all possible, being there is a warrant with Interpol distributed at all airports around the world, for my extradition to Washington. [Google Translate from Arabic]
Benjamin Weil, director of the Project for Israel’s National Security, for the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), echoed this in an interview with JNS:
On the one hand, Qatar doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the United States. On the other hand, she risks getting stopped by the Interpol on her way to Qatar. The United States has a lot of leverage over Jordan and was unsuccessful in extraditing her, despite its extradition treaty with the Jordanians.
Meanwhile, Tamimi is fighting to have Nizan returned to Jordan.

Currently, she has filed a complaint with the National Center for Human Rights in Jordan. As to why she would do this after her husband has been deported instead of doing so in an effort to prevent his deportation altogether, she offered this:
We could not do anything before the deportation of Nizar because the Jordanian authorities threatened to forcibly deport him to the Palestinian territories and hand him over to the Israelis. We did not want to repeat the same scenario of arrest and Israeli jails, so we had to comply.
The fact that Jordan is doing anything at all is in response to current US pressure.

In 2018, the Trump administration signed a five-year aid agreement with Jordan worth $6.4 billion, raising the annual amount of aid by $275 million to $1.3 billion. But while raising the amount of aid, the US has also been raising the stakes for Jordan. While the Trump administration has not been public and forceful in getting Tamimi extradited to the US to face justice, he has been increasingly willing to apply financial pressure.

During his confirmation hearing in June, Henry Wooster, Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Jordan, was asked about options for leverage to secure Tamimi from Jordan in order to bring her to justice:
US 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 US interests in Jordan and in the region.
The current situation may be the most that the US can get out of Jordan, which is supposedly fearful of a backlash.

Will it be enough?

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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