Almost exactly nineteen years ago, on August 9, 2001, 15 people were brutally killed, including 7 children, and about 130 were injured in a suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria at the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road in downtown Jerusalem.
An additional victim, a young mother who is also an American national, has been comatose ever since the bombing.
Concealing the explosives in a guitar case which he had carried with him into Jerusalem, the terrorist entered the restaurant just before 2 p.m. on a sunny day when the venue was packed with people, and detonated the bomb. The heavy bomb, which was packed with nails, screws, and bolts to ensure maximum damage, completely gutted the restaurant, which was full of lunchtime diners.
This cowardly act claimed the lives of the below named innocent victims, including five members of the Schijveschuurder family who had made aliyah from The Netherlands:
Giora Balash, 60, of Brazil
Zvika Golombek, 26, of Carmiel
Shoshana Yehudit Greenbaum, 31, of the U.S.
Tehila Maoz, 18, of Jerusalem
Frieda Mendelsohn, 62, of Jerusalem
Michal Raziel, 16, of Jerusalem
Malka Roth, 15, of Jerusalem
Mordechai Schijveschuurder, 43, of Neria
Tzira Schijveschuurder, 41, of Neria
Ra’aya Schijveschuurder, 14, of Neria
Avraham Yitzhak Schijveschuurder, 4, of Neria
Hemda Schijveschuurder, 2, of Neria
Lily Shimashvili, 33, of Jerusalem
Tamara Shimashvili, 8, of Jerusalem
Yocheved Shoshan, 10, of Jerusalem
The terrorist was killed in the blast. The mastermind and the orchestrator of the attack is Ahlam Tamimi; she made her way back to Ramallah after dropping off the bomber to the location she had handpicked for him. Tamimi was a 21-year-old newsreader at a Palestinian Arab television station in the summer of 2001. She would later claim credit for the attack, admitting to “scouting the location of Sbarro… and bringing the bomber to its entrance.”
Tamimi was arrested weeks after the attack and tried in an Israeli court, where she confessed to all the charges. She was sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment. Despite appeals not to free her, she was conditionally freed, among the other over one thousand terrorists, in a lopsided 2011 deal in which Israel secured the release of Gilad Shalit, who was held hostage by Hamas for five years.
Tamimi was repatriated at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s order to her home in Jordan, where she is beyond Israel’s reach, even though the government of Israel knows exactly where she lives. Prime Minister Netanyahu called this arrangement “exile.”
While in “exile,” Tamimi began hosting a weekly show on the Hamas satellite TV station Al Quds, which broadcasts to every Arabic-speaking country. She says the program, Nasim al-Ahrar (Breeze of the Free) will champion the cause of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. Airing on Friday nights, it enables Tamimi to incite others to commit terror attacks similar to the one she perpetrated – the massacre of 15 innocent men, women, and children, and hundreds of wounded at Jerusalem’s Sbarro restaurant.
As published in the Israeli media: “This child-killer’s hour-long TV shows are posted on YouTube. Seated in the Al Quds studio, composed and measured, Tamimi fields phone calls from prisoners’ families throughout the Arab world and hosts studio guests. She revels in her newfound celebrity. On her first segment, Tamimi welcomed Saleh Arouri, director of the Hamas prisoners’ portfolio, who told viewers that the way to secure the release of more Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails was by continued “resistance” and kidnappings of more IDF soldiers.”
Tamimi never repented for her acts of terror and continues to incite terror.
In recent weeks and months, the outrage at Jordan’s King Abdullah’s refusal to extradite Tamimi to the United States, despite a long-ago signed extradition treaty between the USA and Jordan, has gained some momentum. Leading the effort to see justice for the victims of the deadly Sbarro bombing are Frimet and Arnold Roth, who lost their 15-year old daughter Malki in the bombing.
Sadly, the government of the State of Israel has miserably failed, morally and ethically, to bring closure and justice to the victims of Islamist terrorism. As someone who survived a strikingly similar deadly bombing -together with my dear wife during our first year of marriage- not long before, and just down the street from the Sbarro location, I urge you to help ease the burden of the families who lost their loved ones in this particular terror attack by finding space and time in your hearts and busy schedules to sign the petition. Please go to this website: www.chng.it/wybykmxWkb.
You too can pursue justice to make our world a better and safer place by joining forces with the families of the victims in their just quest to see justice meted-out.