Ahlam Tamimi — Free to Commit Jihad Against the Jews
In October, 2011, a female Palestinian terrorist named Ahlam Tamimi – who had assisted in the bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem 10 years earlier – was released from an Israeli prison and shortly thereafter immigrated to Jordan.
Though, in 2003, she received 16 consecutive life sentences for her accompanying Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri to the bustling fast-food restaurant in the center of Israel’s capital — where he blew himself up, killing 15 innocent Israelis and tourists (among them seven children and a pregnant woman) and wounding another 130 — Tamimi was freed in what came to be called the “Schalit deal.”
For more than five years, beginning in 2006, Israel had been engaged in fruitless diplomatic and military efforts to force the terrorist organization Hamas to return abducted IDF Cpl. Gilad Schalit from captivity in Gaza. Fearing that the young man’s time was running out – and helpless in the face of mass public pressure by Schalit’s parents and the public, the Israeli government ultimately agreed to the demand of the jihadists calling the shots. This involved exchanging 1,027 mostly Palestinian terrorists for the single soldier.
Two hundred and eighty of these terrorist prisoners had been incarcerated for carrying out deadly attacks against Israelis; Hamas operative Tamimi was prominent among them. Nor was she notorious in Israel alone. Since two American citizens had been victims of the Sbarro carnage, Tamimi was also known in the United States.
Earlier this month, on March 14, the world was reminded of Tamimi, when the FBI announced that it had placed her on its list of “Most Wanted Terrorists” and the US Justice Department requested that Jordan extradite her to the United States to stand trial for conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against American nationals on foreign soil, resulting in their death.
On March 19 – as the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported — Tamimi tweeted: “If USA afraid about its citizens, mustn’t sending them to Palestine [sic].”
On March 20, the Amman Court of Cassation – akin to the Supreme Court — rejected the US’s extradition request.
On March 22, a buoyed Tamimi gave an interview to the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated weekly newspaper Assabeel, in which she said – according to a MEMRI translation from the Arabic — “…After my release as part of the released-prisoner deal, I lived my life normally, with my released-prisoner husband Nizar Al-Tamimi [also freed in the prisoner exchange]. We started a family, completed our studies, and then began [looking] for work. We led the normal life that was denied us when we were in the Zionist prisons… When the Americans demanded to arrest me, I was surprised, because I didn’t know that the victims [of the Sbarro bombing] included two Americans. I know that the Zionists came [to Israel] from all over the world and they had no [other] place, but I did not know the victims’ nationalities…”
However, she went on, “We released prisoners do not complain, because we know that the path of jihad has many obstacles and many rewards, [but also] many tests. I placed my trust in Allah, but it was a shock and was accompanied by great rage, because I hate injustice and will not agree to be rearrested after incarceration in the Zionist enemy’s prisons. I then launched my legal jihad, which is a different form of jihad, after the jihad in Palestine…”
Tamimi also rejected being classified as a terrorist, calling it a “sick thought” induced by the attempt on the part of the “Zionist entity… to exert ideological influence, through organizations that believe in normalization, the rights of the other, and freedom of speech.”
Finally, Tamimi offered her advice to Palestinian and Jordanian women. “Our war with the Zionist enemy is an ideological war, from the days of the Prophet Muhammad to this day…. Believe in your idea and believe that your children are part of the generation of the coming liberation [of Palestine]…a word or idea that you plant in your son could be the cause of real change in the future…Jordan is a vein of Palestine, and once you know that you wish to be a martyr on the land of Al-Ribat [the frontier zone of the war between Muslims and non-Muslims], you will have to struggle [to gain] this martyrdom. You must view all of your actions, whether in or out of the house, [as an act] for Allah… ”
Tamimi was a 20-year-old student and part-time journalist at the time of the Sbarro bombing. In the immediate aftermath of the bloodbath, she recounted smiling broadly when she heard news of the Jewish death toll continue to rise. Upon her arrival in Jordan, she told a Hamas website that she “would do it all over again. It was a calculated action that was conducted out of persuasion and faith in Allah.”
Thanks to the “Zionist enemy” – which does not have the death penalty and so values the life of each of its citizens that it exchanged more than 1,000 murderers for Schalit — Tamimi has been a free woman since the age of 30. And thanks to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with the “Zionist entity” in 1994, Tamimi will continue to enjoy state protection to preach jihad and martyrdom against the Jews.
Let her story, and that of Israeli policy, be a lesson – and a warning.
Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.