Dear Secretary Blinken,
Thank you very much for your and President Biden’s continuing support for Israel during the ongoing crisis. Your steadfast dedication to ensuring a peaceful and secure future for the people of Israel is noted and appreciated by the American Jewish community.
We write today to reiterate how deeply concerned we are by the fact that Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, an FBI Most Wanted Terrorist responsible for the heinous 2001 bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, continues to find refuge in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The horrific attack on the Sbarro pizzeria claimed the life of sixteen innocents, three of them American nationals. These victims included a pregnant woman, a woman who remained in a coma for more than twenty years before succumbing to her injuries, and 15-year-old Malki Roth. The pain and anguish experienced by Malki’s family, Frimet and Arnold Roth, are shared by countless others in the American Jewish community and beyond.
We are heartened by President Biden’s commitment to conducting diplomacy rooted in America’s democratic values and dedication to upholding universal rights. We believe that these principles should extend to seeking justice for victims of terrorism, regardless of where the perpetrators seek shelter.
Jordan’s refusal to extradite Ahlam Tamimi represents a breach of the 1995 bilateral treaty between the United States and Jordan. Despite her confessions and incriminating statements, she has enjoyed immunity from justice, further exacerbating tensions and fostering an environment of hatred and extremism in the region.
We believe that the United States should prioritize Tamimi’s extradition in our bilateral relations with Jordan. We suggest a comprehensive review of the leverage that could be applied by the United States to signal the importance of compliance with U.S. law and principles. We urge the State Department to engage in a robust diplomatic dialogue with Jordan’s leadership, stressing the importance of upholding international agreements and commitments to justice.
Also of concern, Jordan’s Court of Cassation denied a 2017 US request for extradition by asserting that the country never ratified the extradition treaty with the United States. However, the ruling failed to acknowledge King Hussein’s ratification of the treaty at the time of its signing in March 1995. We request that the United States make this information publicly available to counteract misconceptions and bring clarity to the matter.
We also request that you raise the issue and seek tangible progress on Tamimi’s extradition with King Abdullah II.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations stands united in our unwavering commitment to combatting terrorism and ensuring justice for victims and their families. We trust that the United States will continue to demonstrate its leadership and moral integrity by pursuing this crucial matter.
Harriet P. Schleifer William C. Daroff
Chair Chief Executive Officer