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May 13, 2022 1:08 pm

Biden Meets With Jordan’s King Abdullah Amid Renewed Demand for Palestinian Terrorist’s Extradition

avatar by Ben Cohen

Jordan’s King Abdullah II listens during a meeting in Amman, Jordan, May 26, 2021. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

US President Joe Biden met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the White House on Friday, as a long-standing demand for the extradition of a wanted Palestinian terrorist currently residing in Amman resurfaced from a member of Congress.

Abdullah’s arrival in Washington, DC, came amid renewed tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank. An IDF counter-terrorism officer was killed on Friday morning during a gunfight between Israeli troops and armed Palestinians in the flashpoint city of Jenin, while in Jerusalem, Palestinian demonstrators battled with Israeli police during the funeral of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead while reporting on an Israeli raid in the West Bank on Wednesday.

A statement released by the White House following Friday’s meeting between Biden and the Jordanian monarch emphasized that “Jordan is a critical ally and force for stability in the Middle East, and the President confirmed unwavering US support for Jordan and His Majesty’s leadership.” The statement noted that the two leaders also discussed “urgent mechanisms to stem violence, calm rhetoric and reduce tensions in Israel and the West Bank,” as well as Jordan’s role in advancing regional cooperation on infrastructure, energy, water, and climate projects.

Earlier in the week, however, a Republican Congressman announced that he would introduce legislation to limit US assistance to Jordan until the Kingdom of Jordan recognizes the validity of the 1995 extradition treaty between the two countries. Jordan is presently harboring Hamas terrorist Ahlam al-Tamimi, five years after the US Department of Justice issued a warrant for her arrest. Al-Tamimi was behind the Aug. 9, 2001 suicide bombing of the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem which claimed the lives of 15 people, among them two US citizens — 15-year-old Malki Roth and 31-year-old Judith Shoshana Greenbaum.

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Greg Steube, the Florida congressional representative sponsoring the legislation, said in a statement that King Abdullah had consistently “rejected requests from US officials at the highest levels to hand over the terrorist who faces charges in Washington.” He said that al-Tamimi had been turned into “an icon among Jordanians and Palestinian Arabs.”

Steube accused Jordan of “failing to comply with a 1995 treaty which requires them to extradite individuals like Ahlam al-Tamimi who faces trial for terrorism under US law.” He said his legislation would “ensure our foreign assistance to Jordan is abruptly halted until Jordan is in compliance with our extradition treaty.”

The proposed legislation received a warm endorsement from Arnold and Frimet Roth, the parents of Malki Roth. “Seeing the woman behind the savagery of the Sbarro bombing finally stand trial in the US ought to get the wholehearted backing of everyone who cherishes justice,” Frimet Roth said.

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