An Arab-American Brutalized — by Palestinian Police
An Arab-American visiting the disputed (West Bank) territories is brutalized by the police–yet the Obama administration, the United Nations, and the international community are all silent.
No, we’re not talking about Tariq Abu Khdeir, the 15-year-old from Florida who threw firebombs at Israeli policemen last week and received, in return, a black eye and a fat lip. Tariq’s injuries have of course received enormous international attention, including a huge photo on the front page of The New York Times (top of the fold). The Obama administration has announced that it is “profoundly troubled” that Tariq was roughed up, and is angrily demanding a full investigation.
Rather, we’re talking about another Arab-American — who was murdered by the police — but whose fate is of no interest to the powers that be, because the police who mistreated him were from the Palestinian Authority.
This sad but little-known story begins in 1995, when U.S. citizen Azzam Rahim, of Texas, decided to visit his native village, near the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Ramallah. For unknown reasons, the PA police arrested him. Two days later, his dead body was returned to his family, complete with cigarette burns and broken bones. The Clinton Administration dragged its feet, but eventually confirmed that Rahim had been tortured to death by the PA police.
Yet there was no international outcry. No demands from the State Department for a full investigation by the PA. It seems that Arab-American victims of violence are of interest only when Israel can be blamed. If the PA is responsible, everyone is silent.
The story doesn’t end there. The Rahim family sued the Palestinian Authority in U.S. court. The suit went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which finally ruled on the case two years ago, in 2012.
Can you guess whose side the Obama Administration took in court? Surely the administration that is so angry about the mistreatment of the Arab-American rock-thrower last week would have gone to bat for the Arab-American torture victim. Surely the administration which in general is opposed to any kind of torture — even of terrorists who have knowledge of impending attacks — would act against the torturers of Azzam Rahim?
Not a chance. It sided with the PA. That’s right — the same Obama administration that now lambasts the Israeli police for giving a black eye to a firebomb-thrower, went to court in 2012 to argue in support of the PA police, who tortured an innocent American to death. And Obama won: the Supreme Court agreed that because of a technicality, the torture victims have no legal right to sue the torturer.
The Rahim family, however, is not alone. Azzam was one of more than one hundred Americans who have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists, Palestinian policemen, or Palestinian terrorists who double as policemen. (There are quite a few of those.) They were American citizens who did not suffer black eyes or fat lips, but were murdered. They were American citizens who were not throwing firebombs or rocks at policemen, but who were completely innocent.
Their photos never appear on the front page of The New York Times, either above or below the fold. They are never the subject of angry demands by the Obama administration for full investigations. When their families have sued the terrorists or their sponsors for damages, the Obama administration never goes to court to help them.
The administration has never once asked the Palestinian Authority to extradite any of the terrorists involved in killing Americans. In fact, not one of the more than 100 murdered Americans is even mentioned by name on the U.S. government’s “Rewards for Justice” web site, where rewards are offered for information leading to the capture of Americans harmed by terrorists abroad. None of the killers are mentioned by name either–even though many of them have been publicly identified by the Israeli government.
When it was learned that one of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists, 16-year-old Naftali Frankel, was an American citizen, the least the Obama administration could have done was announce a reward for information leading to capture of the perpetrators. There was at least a chance that some reward-seeker with information might have come forward.
But no such reward was offered.
Naftali Frankel and the other two teens had the bad luck of being targeted by Palestinians. If, instead, they had thrown firebombs at Israeli policemen and ended up with fat lips, the administration would surely have taken a greater interest.
The authors are members of the board of the Religious Zionists of America.