‘Equal Justice Under the Law’

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In late June of 1989, Stephen Frederick Rosenfeld, a former United States Marine, went for a hike in the beautiful Judean Hills near where he lived. Two Arabs approached him, and they began to engage him in a pleasant discussion. Within a short amount of time, they ended up stealing a pocket knife from his backpack and stabbing him to death.

Today, the Shin Bet, one of the Israeli intelligence agencies, published a list of 26 Palestinian terrorists who are to be released within the next 24 hours. Among them is Aj Haj Othman Amar Mustafa, one of the two terrorists who murdered Stephen Rosenfeld.


All of the other terrorists to be released have blood on their hands, but not all of it is American blood. Their crimes, however, were no less heinous. Take, for example, Abu Masa Salam Ali Ata of Fatah, who, in 1994, murdered Isaac Rotenberg, an elderly Holocaust survivor, wielding an ax to his head. Or, Rai’I Ibraham Salam Ali, of Fatah, who murdered 79-year-old Morris Eisenstadt, who was sitting on the beach and reading a book, also by ax.

We know that they will receive a hero’s welcome. How do we know this? We know this because of the jubilant celebrations that occurred in Gaza and Judea and Samaria, as well as throughout the Muslim world, when the IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit was traded for 1,027 Palestinian terrorists.

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Among those released then was Ahlam Tamimi, who on several YouTube videos has taken credit for the Sbarro Pizza bombing in Jerusalem in 2001, in which 15 civilians were killed, two of them American, a 15-year-old Malki Ruth, and a pregnant woman, Judith Greenbaum, 28.

Ms. Tamimi has bragged on several YouTube videos that she had been responsible for planning the Sbarro suicide bombing. She has been feted and welcomed home as a hero. She now lives in Jordan, where she has a television show that is sponsored by Hamas. She collects a salary from both Fatah and Hamas. On a recent Hamas show, after the Boston Marathon bombing, she was giving helpful hints to terrorist bombers.


Undoubtedly, this planned release will be perceived in the eyes of the radical Islamic terrorists, as another victory, not only, against Israel, “the Minor Satan,” but against “the Great Satan” — and as part of the ascendancy of Islamic hegemony and the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate.

Why did Israel agree to release these murderers? It is clearly a result of tremendous pressure from Secretary of State John Kerry, who, despite the fact that the entire Muslim world is imploding throughout the Middle East, despite the fact that more than 100,000 Muslims have been killed in the Syrian civil war, despite the fact that Egypt is going through a series of convulsions and counter-convulsions, despite the fact that Iran may well have crossed the nuclear threshold, is intent on trying to bring peace to the Middle East by resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Even if this were the case, the release of terrorists with blood on their hands is no way to bring peace. As Pope John Paul II said, “We can have no peace, without justice.”

For a very long time, I have been working on the issue of Americans who have been killed by Palestinian terrorists, and the pursuit of equal justice under the law. To make a  very long story short, my work resulted in the passage, with the help of Congress, of the Koby Mandell Act, named for a friend’s 13-year-old son, who was killed in 2001 by Palestinian terrorists.

The purpose of the legislation was to open up an office in the Department of Justice to ensure that all Americans who have been murdered abroad will have an advocate within the DOJ to make the extradition, indictment and prosecution of terrorists who have maimed or killed Americans overseas a top priority.

Previously everything to do with the issue of Americans killed or wounded abroad was handled by the State Department, whose mission is diplomacy. I had thought that if the name on the door, was “Justice,” there would be more of a chance of getting a clean crack at justice, which had not been contaminated by diplomatic or political factors.

The Koby Mandell Act was signed into law by President Bush in December 2004. In May 2005, the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism was opened.

In the past eight years, although more than 72 Americans have been killed in Israel or the disputed territories since the signing of the Oslo Accords, and although the legislative intent is clear regarding these Americans, not a single terrorist who has been involved in these dastardly acts has been brought to justice on these shores.

Instead, in all these years, the office did use its power to indict and prosecute the murderer of  a Christian missionary, John Spier, who was killed in Indonesia.

“Equal Justice Under Law” are the words that are etched on the Supreme Court. Equal: For all American citizens. That is, unless, you happen to be an American who was killed or maimed by a Palestinian terrorist in Israel or the territories. As Vickie Eisenfeld, whose son, Mathew, a Yale graduate, was killed because he happened to be on the wrong bus at the wrong time once said, “It makes me feel like my son’s blood is less American.”

And for those in the State Department who believe that there is a great distinction between the terrorists who harm Americans at home and those who kill Americans in Israel or the disputed territories, I recommend that they look up the helpful-advice tape that Ahlam Tamimi produced for future terrorist bombers.

Sarah N. Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, EMET, a pro-Israel and pro-American think tank and policy shop in Washington, D.C.

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