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Arnold Roth talks about what he sees as a personal failure to protect his daughter Malki, who died 20 years ago at the age of 15 along with 14 other civilians (including two Americans) in a Jerusalem terror attack known as the Sbarro Massacre . It’s difficult to hear, especially when the perpetrators of the attack have long been known and one of them, Ahlam Tamimi, is living as a virtual celebrity in her native Jordan after having her sentence commuted during the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange .
The instinct is to correct Roth and insist he not blame himself, but it seems disrespectful to question the ways people grieve the life-altering loss of a child. That’s a pain only those who have suffered it can understand. Which is one reason Roth is appealing to President Joe Biden on the eve of his meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II on Monday , to ask him to consider taking a hard line with the important Middle East ally harboring Tamimi, especially considering Jordan has long been a partner in battling terrorism in the region and the U.S. can rightfully ask for her extradition.
“Here we have the King sheltering a woman with this amount of blood on her hands, who has been mollycoddled and given a life most people in Jordan would die for,” Roth says. “We’re hoping Biden, who ran on a platform of principles and values, and who understands the loss of a child…will confront [the issue of terrorism] with a head of state who is sticking a finger in the eye of the U.S.”
Roth is referring to a 1995 extradition treaty between Jordan and the U.S. that led, thanks to the Roth family’s dogged persistence, to the DOJ filing charges against Tamimi in 2013. By 2017, Jordan was denying they had ever ratified the treaty. But Roth, writing at journalist Bari Weiss’ Substack , counters that claim with what he calls “a bombshell.” Writing in regal style and invoking the “guidance of God,” the late King Hussein declared in a July 13, 1995, document addressed to the U.S. […]
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