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A Terrorist's Best Friend

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AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool

Today is the 21st anniversary of the suicide bombing in which our son, then 7, and I were wounded. There is no greater supporter of Palestinian terrorism than the U.S. government.


At 4:20 pm on March 21st, 2002, a Palestinian policeman detonated himself on King George Street in downtown Jerusalem. The bomber was brought to Jerusalem by two women and sent from Ramallah by an officer in the Palestinian Authority intelligence service. I have written about the bombing and its aftermath previously. A New York jury found the PA and the PLO guilty of the attack and awarded us over $100 million in trebled damages. After multiple appeals, our case goes on today, nearly 20 years after it was filed.

The United States ostensibly fights terrorists throughout the world. Yet, it is the U.S. that is the single greatest contributor to Palestinian terror, more so than Iran, Syria, or other “terror” states. Let’s look at an attack that occurred last week. David Stern, a former US Marine living in the settlement of Itamar, was shot in the head in his car in the Palestinian town of Huwara. Stern returned fire and made his way to a checkpoint before being taken to a hospital. The U.S. ambassador, Tom Nides, duly noted that Stern was a U.S. citizen and, like many others, asked for prayers for his recovery. Nides did not condemn the attack or the attacker. Why would he? Nides and many in Washington see the Palestinians as a wronged people and terror is in their minds a fair tactic for redressing historical wrongs and fighting a “right-wing” government currently running Israel. I wrote to Ambassador Nides last May to tell him that a senior Palestinian minister had been actively involved in our attack. I asked that he and his colleagues refrain from meeting someone involved in the attempted murder of civilians, including two American citizens. Not only did I not receive a response, the same fellow, Hussein al-Sheikh, was allowed into the US and met with Tony Blinken.


And as to Tony Blinken, after we and nine other families won our lawsuit in 2015 in the southern district of Manhattan, the U.S. State Department filed a statement of interest asking the judge to go easy on the appeal bond for the Palestinian Authority. They claimed that too high a bond would end the PA and lead to anarchy. Who signed that statement? None other than under-secretary Tony Blinken. The PA bought Abu Mazen a plane for $55 million the week after the judge agreed to the State Department request to reduce the bond from $700 million to $10 million

Two weeks ago, a cousin of mine living in Israel called to ask for advice. Having been in a terror attack and having navigated the system, we have become a resource at times for others. This cousin had four young children at a bus stop two months ago when a bomb exploded there. One boy was hit in the head with shrapnel and all four were traumatized by the experience. They refuse to get on a bus to go to school. My cousin said that she had been contacted by the U.S. embassy and by the FBI. I was happy to hear that the red-white-and-blue was proactive in reaching out to her, but I told her not to get her hopes up with respect to the FBI. There have been well over 200 terror attacks in and around Israel in which a U.S. citizen has been killed or injured. The Republican Study Group actually used to keep a running list of such attacks during the Second Intifada. The FBI is legally required to open a file for any American injured or killed in an overseas terror incident. And they do open such files. How many terrorists have been indicted? I know of one. How many have been extradited? Zero? Obviously the same for prosecution and incarceration. I have spoken to people in the FBI and at the Department of Justice, and they have no shortage of excuses—the Israelis get first dibs, the Israelis don’t share all of the evidence, there is some agreement between Israel and the U.S. not to try the same terrorist on the same charges in different countries, lack of access to the prisoners, and more. All of this might be true, but if the U.S. wanted someone, they would get him or her. The U.S. has more than a handful of levers it can use to get the Israelis to cough up any terrorist desired, but the problem is that there is no desire. The U.S. does not want to prosecute these cases and Israel is more than happy to oblige.


Each year, except for a few during the Trump years, the U.S. sends hundreds of millions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority. Much of this money is used to pay the salaries of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails; the guys from our attack have made a fortune while in jail. The Taylor Force Law was supposed to address these payments, but the U.S. government has just ignored it. Even if the monies were reduced, whatever the U.S. sends simply frees up other monies to support terrorists and their families. The U.S. is one of the largest supporters of the Palestinian terror enterprise and this fact has been true for every administration of late—both Republican and Democrat. The monies not taken during the Trump years were the result of a law that would have made the Palestinians agree to be tried in cases like ours in the U.S.: it was the PA that did not want the money, not Trump’s Arabist State Department refusing on principle to send money to the bad guys.

The U.S. talks a good game about fighting global terror. U.S. troops are in multiple hot spots around the globe to fight ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other Islamic terrorist organizations. But for all of the U.S. efforts, the U.S. still is a major provider of funds to the Palestinian Authority, who was found guilty on all counts in a federal courtroom for its role in wounding and killing American victims. Tom Nides can’t condemn Palestinian terror; it would be like someone condemning Google while holding a lot of Google stock. The U.S. continues to endanger Israeli and U.S. citizens by supporting a terror body that glorifies the murder of innocent civilians. Every year we remember the day in which we were injured and thank G-d for our recoveries. We will continue to fight the terrorists in court and in any way we can. I wish that our leaders in Washington could say the same.


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