Wednesday, September 07, 2022


Ned Price, US State Department spokesman, reacting to Israel’s report on the Abu Akleh shooting, said that the United States has made it a priority to get involved and try to help when civilians get hurt during military operations: “The United States has made it a priority to mitigate and respond to civilian harm caused by military operations,” said Price.

That seems to be true in regard to the accidental shooting death of journalist and American citizen Abu Akleh. But it seems that some American citizens are more equal than others. A recent letter from the parents of Sbarro terror victim and American citizen Malki Roth requesting a meeting with President Biden, went unanswered.

From the AP (emphasis added):

“Something is obviously terribly wrong with how the pursuit of America’s most wanted female fugitive is going,” the Roths wrote in their letter, sent to Biden through the U.S. Embassy.

“We want to explain this to you better in a face-to-face meeting,” they added. “We want you to look us in the eyes, Mr. President, and tell us how Jordan’s king can be a praiseworthy ally.”

 . . . There was no immediate comment from either the White House or the Jordanian Royal Hashemite Court.

Roth’s letter was sent days after the family of a Palestinian-American journalist killed while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank lashed out at Biden over his administration’s response to her death.

Relatives of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh expressed “grief, outrage and (a) sense of betrayal” in a letter accusing the U.S. of trying to erase Israeli responsibility for her death.

A U.S. investigation concluded that Abu Akleh was likely killed by Israeli fire, but also said there was “no reason to believe” she was deliberately targeted. Israel says Abu Akleh was killed during a gun battle with Palestinian militants, and it is unclear who fired the deadly shot. The Palestinians say Israel intentionally killed her.

The White House declined to comment on the letter or the [Roth] family’s request for a meeting during his visit.

Maybe making a priority of mitigating and responding to civilian harm doesn’t apply when the civilian and American citizen happens to be a Jewish child. At least, that is my conclusion. And what really rankles is the fact that Abu Akleh’s death was a work accident. For a journalist like Shireen Abu Akleh, entering a combat zone in order to write up a conflict is part of the job. Abu Akleh knew the dangers. She is not the first journalist to be shot and killed while covering a military operation, nor will she unfortunately be the last.

Reporters like Abu Akleh, literally and knowingly take their lives in their hands to cover such stories. And they revel in it. It’s exciting. There’s a cause involved. Audiences eat it up which means more attention to them. “Journalists can’t hide the seductive draw of the bloodworks. They can’t help themselves. They love war,” wrote Politico’s Jack Shafer in Why Journalists Love War.

Abu Akleh entered a shooting zone because she wanted to, even though she knew she could be shot. There is no doubt she thought about it: imagined her death, and the events leading up to and after that not implausible event. Whether Shireen thought she would be shot by accident or on purpose, by her own or by Israelis is anyone’s guess. But she would have been well aware it could happen. She was not a civilian accidentally caught in the fray. She entered the fray of her own volition.

Malki Roth, on the other hand, did not know, when she entered the Sbarro pizzeria with her best friend, that she was entering a conflict zone. She didn’t know when she chose her destination that arms would be used in the vicinity, and that she might be blown up. She was a teenager--a child, really--who wanted to have a slice of pizza with a friend, during the final days of her summer vacation.

Ahlam Tamimi planned and helped to execute the terror attack that killed Malki Roth. Released by Israel as part of the prisoner exchange for captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, Tamimi now lives in Jordan. As Tamimi is no longer in Israel's hands, it falls to the United States to seek justice in this case. Why? Because Tamimi is directly responsible for civilian harm to American citizens--for example, Malka Chana Roth--and while America twiddles its thumbs and looks away, Tamimi is free to commit more such terror attacks and kill even more American children, God forbid. 

The FBI offers a reward for the capture of Tamimi. But the offer is only symbolic: a meaningless gesture. King Abdullah of Jordan has been wined and dined at the White House by Democrat and Republican administrations alike. No one says boo to Abdullah in regard to his harboring of a monster who has murdered Americans. No president has spoken to Abdullah of children deliberately murdered because they were Jews. Nothing is ever said of the failure of Jordan to honor its extradition treaty with the US.

In essence, there is a reward, not a reward. State doesn’t really care how you look at this. They’ve got their priorities: Shireen yes, Malki no. Because State does not, apparently, prioritize mitigating and responding to the deliberate murder of Jews. If there were a basic formula to this, it might be: Arabs=Kosher, Jews=Treif—that is if anyone ever gave it any active thought. The truth is that State, as a body, has always been irredeemably antisemitic.

As a result of this institutional anti-Jewish bias, the world watched as US government officials pressured Israel to investigate what Israel was already investigating: the shooting death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The world did not, however, see anything about Jordan’s failure to extradite the terrorist responsible for murdering American citizen Malki Roth. The world didn’t see or hear about the extradition issue because the media doesn’t care to cover the Roth family’s campaign for justice. Is it because in this case, the victim was Jewish?

"Increasingly, you're hearing members of the Jewish community saying things like 'the world doesn’t care about Jewish lives,’” says CAMERA Communication Director Jonah Cohen. “You see the sentiment expressed in recent books such as Dara Horn’s 'People Love Dead Jews' and Fiamma Nirenstein’s 'Jewish Lives Matter.'
 It’s heartbreaking, and the media is feeding this sentiment. Nothing so illustrates the problem as the difference in media coverage between Abu Akleh and Malki Roth,” says Cohen. “The former gets wall-to-wall coverage, while the latter takes a grassroots campaign to get attention. CAMERA, in fact, had to take out advertisements in several newspapers so that Malki would not be forgotten.”

Arnold and Frimet Roth are determined that no one will forget their daughter. But it is difficult for them to stomach the double standard of US officials. The US exerted intense pressure on Israel in the matter of the accidental death of a journalist who knowingly entered a war zone. Meanwhile, no pressure is brought to bear on Jordan, and no US official holds Abdullah to account for his harboring of a terrorist who deliberately murdered children, among them Malki Roth, an American citizen. Arnold Roth, speaking to the disparity in the way US officials treat these two situations, notes that the US has no jurisdiction in the matter of Abu Akleh’s death.

“The Abu Akleh clan have pursued what they call accountability with fierceness and with heavy suggestions that not only did someone Israeli do the killing but that it was deliberate and focused on her. In reality, no smoking gun has been found. The Aljazeera reporter’s death came in a flurry of live gunfire captured on video coming from two opposite directions.

“They have a problem however, and it’s not one of proving what happened. It’s simply that this took place outside the territory of the United States. The US has no jurisdiction in Shireen Abu Akleh’s death-by-shooting,” says Roth, who reveals what it has been like for him to watch the attention showered on the Abu Akleh family by American government officials.

“It’s been distressing to watch high-level US officials and politicians respond to the waves of Abu Akleh outrage with boundless support, sympathy and understanding.

“Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Washington with representatives of the Abu Akleh clan in July 2022 after personally inviting them there. The report is that he ‘expressed deepest condolences and commitment to pursue accountability for her tragic killing’ [JTA, July 27, 2022].

“Did I say distressing? It’s very, very different from how those very same officials along with their predecessors in office have treated us.

“Mr Blinken and his State Department colleagues – a long line of them - have maintained total public silence in the face of repeated efforts by my wife Frimet and me to engage on a different matter of accountability – one that is absolutely a matter of US justice.

“Failed US justice,” says Roth, who points out that while some questioned whether Abu Akleh’s death was accidental, there is no question at all that Malki Roth was killed in a deliberate act of terror.  

“Our daughter Malki was murdered at the age of 15 in a pizzeria bombing. There is not the smallest doubt that this was terrorism. Also: that it targeted children, that the goal was to inflict the heaviest possible loss of life; that it met with appallingly widespread approval in Palestinian Arab and Jordanian society; and that the exploding man (misleadingly called a suicide bomber in the news industry) who is a legend today in Palestinian Arab society was brought there to kill by a Jordanian woman.

“Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, an avowed Hamas terrorist, is the Jordanian woman. A journalism student at the time she chose the site for the atrocity and brought the bomb to the door of the pizzeria, she has made a spectacular career out of confessing her central role. She continues to inspire audiences throughout the Arabic-speaking world with the re-telling of the details.

“For instance, she chose the site because of the many Jewish youngsters likely to be there on that particular school-vacation afternoon. She has explained that the Arab/Israeli conflict is a religious one and that what she did in planting the human bomb had great religious significance. She has no regrets about doing what she did, Heaven forbid, except this: a sincere-sounding regret that she did not manage to achieve a larger death toll.

“But the 15 dead, including seven children and a babe in the womb of her mother, were ‘the crown on my head,’ entitling her to join ‘the annals of history by committing the best act.’ She said that in a YouTube clip that is still viewable, delivered to a gathering of Islamist zealots, all of them woman and many of them girls, in Turkey less than a year ago,” said Roth, who has been stymied in his quest for US justice since Tamimi’s release from an Israeli prison in 2011.

Roth recites the details of how he and his wife have been shafted by the US government, and what comes through is the way officials tried to keep things quiet—how they tried to make the Roths think they were actually doing something about this, when they were not (emphasis added):

“The US charged Tamimi in 2013 and then kept the indictment sealed – a total secret – for the following four years. It unsealed them in March 2017 and made her only the second woman on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list. From then until July 2022, no US government figure even once mentioned her name in public, let alone the disgraceful reality of an American ally - Jordan – brazenly breaching the treaty between them because of a technical “flaw” that does not exist and that, even if it did, was a Jordanian flaw, caused by the Jordanians, fixable by the Jordanians right up until this morning – and never fixed.

“Meanwhile quiet efforts were rumored to be underway, intended to persuade Jordan (where she was born, where she lives and works today) to hand Tamimi over to US law enforcement as the treaty demands.

“But no one in the Trump or Biden administrations addressed any of this in all the years since the charges were laid. That has been maddening for us.

“Then this,” said Arnold, referring to all the attention focused on the accidental shooting death of Abu Akleh.

Of course, the plausible deniability of American officials is key to the game of evading the Roth family while looking as if official America actually gives a damn. As if to underscore the point, Arnold quotes a startling public statement by Jake Sullivan, head of the National Security Council in the White House. As reported by the AP, Sullivan said: "The US government continues to seek her extradition and the Government of Jordan’s assistance in bringing her to justice for her role in the heinous attack."

“Continues to seek”? says Roth, with some astonishment. “That’s a challenging way of framing this. How does it fit, for instance, with President Joe Biden’s lavish and repeated praise of Jordan’s ruler in the most public of ways?

“In fact, we have a long list of questions that only senior American government figures can answer. The details of our efforts to engage, to get responses, to encourage the doing of American justice, are many. And we have consciously avoided making them public.”

Things have changed, however, and the Roths have stepped up their campaign to get America to sit up listen, and act. The way the Abu Akleh affair was handled must have felt like an insult to their daughter’s memory, but that wasn’t really the catalyst that infused their fight for justice with new vigor. The catalyst was the realization of just how much time has passed in the annals of American inattention to their plight. “Now that 2,000 days have elapsed (a depressing milestone that was passed last Sunday) since those Department of Justice charges were made public in Washington,” says Roth, “we feel it’s time we spoke out.

“We are preparing ourselves for that now.”

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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