Monday, March 9, 2015

The French get it right, demand extradition of a murderer.

Palestinian Authority sheltering Paris terror suspect

By Stephen M. Flatow/

After January’s Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris, the Obama administration pledged to assist the French authorities in every way possible. Now it has a chance to make good on that promise.

The French government recently issued arrest warrants for three Palestinian terrorists involved in an earlier attack on a Jewish restaurant in Paris—and one of them is being sheltered by the Palestinian Authority (PA). That earlier attack should be of particular interest to the United States government, since two American citizens were among the victims.

On August 9, 1982, Palestinian terrorists firing submachine guns and hurling hand grenades attacked lunchtime diners at the Jo Goldenberg Restaurant, in the Jewish quarter of Paris. Six people were murdered, 22 wounded. Among the fatalities were two women from Chicago: 66-year-old Grace Cutler and 31-year-old Ann Van Zanten, a curator at the Chicago Historical Society.

If the names Grace Cutler and Ann Van Zanten are not familiar to you, don’t be surprised. They are among the more than 100 Americans who have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists since the 1960s but have been almost completely forgotten. They are not even mentioned on the U.S. State Department’s website, where rewards are offered for information leading to the capture of killers of Americans abroad.

Sadly, the State Department has never shown any serious interest in bringing Palestinian killers to justice. Evidently it fears that putting such terrorists behind bars in America would anger the PA and create a crisis in American-Palestinian relations. And so justice remains trampled in the dust.

The only instance in which the U.S. government issued an arrest warrant in such a case was in the wake of the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro, and the murder of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer. That, however, was before the U.S. had a relationship with the Palestine Liberation Organization and before the PA existed.

Eight years later, the Oslo accords were signed, the PA was established, and the U.S. began pouring $500 million per year into the new Palestinian regime. As part of the deal, veteran terrorists such as Achille Lauro mastermind Mohammed Abbas were declared “moderate” and permitted to move to PA-controlled territory.

When members of Congress protested, the Bill Clinton administration lamely claimed that the statute of limitations had expired on prosecuting Abbas. The Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service weighed in, with a detailed report in 1996 which concluded that since Mohammed Abbas was fugitive from justice, the statute of limitations did not apply. Unfortunately, neither Congress nor the American Jewish leadership pursued the issue.

As the years passed, and the number of American victims of Palestinian terrorism increased, Jewish leaders began to take an interest in the issue. In August 2002, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations officially called on the U.S. government to demand that the PA surrender suspects in such attacks. The George W. Bush administration ignored that request and so far, the Obama administration has, too. But it remains the official position of the organized Jewish leadership.

Now, the French authorities have forced the issue by issuing arrest warrants for the three killers in the 1982 Jo Goldenberg attack. The suspects’ names were not announced, but their places of residence were. One lives in Ramallah, the capital of the PA. Given the enormous size of the PA police, security, and intelligence forces—among the largest per capita in the world—it is inconceivable that the PA does not know how to find him.

If PA President Mahmoud Abbas is not prepared to hand the terrorist over to the French, the U.S. should issue its own warrant for his arrest, since Americans were among those murdered. If Abbas claims that the PA police are unable to locate him, the FBI should send its agents to Ramallah to search for him. And the organized Jewish leadership should do everything in its power to galvanize the Obama administration to act.

(Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is a candidate on the Religious Zionist slate ( in the World Zionist Congress elections.)

You read this article here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What to do about Ramallah

A comment about the recent insult suffered by a NYC Councilman

We all share the outrage of New York City Councilman David Greenfield at being asked by U.S. diplomats to remove his yarmulke during a visit to Ramallah on Sunday.

Greenfield and other City Council members were in Israel on a solidarity mission sponsored by a major New York Jewish organization.

Perhaps it’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah – but not just because of the yarmulke incident.

Four years ago, Palestinian Media Watch reported that the Palestinian Authority established a Dalal Mughrabi Square in the center of Ramallah, which is the PA’s capital city.

Every New York City Councilman, and every New York-based Jewish organization, should be thoroughly familiar with the late Dalal Mughrabi, since she was the leader of one of the most notorious Palestinian terrorist attacks in which a New Yorker was murdered.

On March 9, 1978, Mughrabi led a squad of 13 Palestinian terrorists who set out from Lebanon towards Israel, in small boats. They were members of Fatah, the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization. At the time, Mahmoud Abbas – today the chairman of the Palestinian Authority – was the PLO’s second in command.

The terrorists landed on a northern Israeli beach, where Gail Rubin, a Jewish nature photographer from Manhattan, was taking photos of rare birds. Her work had been exhibited at the Jewish Museum in New York City and other prominent venues. She also happened to be the niece of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-Connecticut).

One of the terrorists, Hussain Fayadh, was later interviewed by the Lebanese Television station Al-Manar and recalled what happened:

“Sister Dalal al-Mughrabi had a conversation with the American journalist. Before killing her, Dalal asked: ‘How did you enter Palestine?’ [Rubin] answered: ‘They gave me a visa.’ Dalal said: ‘Did you get your visa from me, or from Israel? I have the right to this land. Why didn’t you come to me?’ Then Dalal opened fire on her.”

Mughrabi, Fayadh, and their 11 fellow gangsters then walked over to the nearby Coastal Road and hijacked an Israeli bus. During the course of the attack they murdered 36 passengers, 12 of them children. Mughrabi herself was killed by Israeli troops.

Fayadh survived, was sentenced to life in jail, but then released in a prisoner exchange. In 2013, he was hired as an adviser to PA chairman Abbas. (Meaning that he is paid, at least in part, from the $500 million the U.S. government sends Abbas each year.)

The Dalal Mughrabi Park in Ramallah is just one of the many ways in which the Palestinian Authority glorifies Gail Rubin’s murderer. The PA has sports tournaments and summer camps named after her. Official PA Television frequently broadcasts programs depicting Mughrabi as a hero and martyr.

Earlier this year, Abbas’s Fatah organized a public celebration of Mughrabi’s birthday. The event was broadcast on Fatah’s Al-Awdah TV. Students participating in the celebration were interviewed for the program. One of them said this of the killer: “She is our role model, an example for every Palestinian young woman. Dalal did everything we dream of doing.”

A second student declared: “Dalal Mughrabi is inspiring. She inspires us and gives us the strength to complete the journey after her.”

The director of a PA government agency, the Palestinian Poets and Writers Association, chimed in that Mughrabi is “the Purple Gazelle, the Flower of the Land.” (Translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch.)

I do not know what moved a prominent New York Jewish organization to sponsor a trip that included a visit to Ramallah. Gail Rubin’s memory deserves better. Here are a few ways in which Gail might be honored:

* New York’s Jewish organizations should announce they will not sponsor any visits to Ramallah until the name of Dalal Mughrabi Park is changed to Gail Rubin Park.

* Jewish leaders should pledge to refrain from meeting with Mahmoud Abbas until he fires Hussain Fayadh, the accomplice to Gail’s murder.

* Councilman Greenfield and his colleagues on the New York City Council should name the block that includes 115 East 65th Street in Manhattan “Honorary Gail Rubin Place.” That’s where the “State of Palestine Observer Mission to the United Nations” is situated.

Well, that's what I think.

You can read this on-line here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sokolow case: Palestinian terrorism verdict shatters long-held myths and illusions

Palestinian terrorism verdict shatters long-held myths and illusions


By Stephen M. Flatow/


The illusion is shattered. When confronted with claims of complicity in terror attacks, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) can no longer lift their hands and say in puzzlement, Who, me?


The jury in the just-decided terrorism caseSokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization, which awarded $218.5 million to 10 American families victimized by Palestinian terrorism in Israelhas said the opposite. Yes, the PA and the PLO do bear responsibility for the death, pain, and suffering brought about in a series of terror attacks against innocent civilians a decade ago. The myth of PA and PLO innocence has been shattered, I hope for all time.


Some other myths have been shattered, including the myth that suicide bombers are lunatics”—in the words of Israels late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, as he told my wife and I when he visited us in our home a month after Islamic Jihads murder of our 20-year old daughter Alisa in April 1995.


A lunatic is mentally ill and does not know right from wrong, or cannot appreciate the consequences of his or her actions. The lunatics who carried out Palestinian terror attacks didnt design and manufacture the bomber vests, or stuff a backpack with explosives and then conduct the attack on their own. The bomber vests and backpacks were designed and made by terrorists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinethe last two being the largest groups in the PLO, and the first two aided by the PLO.


The men and women who strapped explosives impregnated with ball bearings, nuts, bolts, and screws to their bodies, and shouted Allahu Akbar (God is greater) as they pushed the detonator, fully appreciated the consequences of their actionsthey wanted to kill Israelis. As many as they could, in any location they could find. So what if it was a pizza shop, or a bus, or a university cafeteria? So what if an American citizen or an Arab Israeli got caught in the attack? Who cared? They didnt, and neither did those who recruited them and then drove them to the target.


When the FBI went to Gaza to investigate the murder of my daughter, what cooperation did the PA provide? None. And when the PA had the ability to arrest Alisas murderers, what did it do?  Only because it wanted to relieve the pressure America brought to bear, it arrested and then furloughed her killers.


And what else has the PA done to combat terrorism in the years since the 1993 Oslo Accords? It refused Israeli requests, required under the Oslo Accords, to turn over to Israel those Palestinians wanted by Israel in connection with terror attacks. It pays terrorists who serve time in Israeli prisons and send a monthly pension payment to the families of so-called martyrs. It honors the murderers of innocent civilians by naming parks and sporting events after them. It turns a blind eye to those who planned and carried out terror attacks from within PA-controlled territory until the construction of the security fence by Israel put an end to them.


And what will the court ruling do?


First, it will help the Western world to understand that the long-held fiction that the Palestinians are not responsible for their actions must be discarded. He didnt get many things right about the Middle East, but what Edward Said called the orientalism of the Westthe treatment of Palestinians as children who did not know betterallowed the PA and PLO to duck from responsibility for terrorist acts carried out under their watch, and worse, with their supervision and/or material support.


Second, it should convince the U.S. government that the victims must be allowed to collect their financial awards. If not out of the of the $400 million in U.S. aid money sent annually to the PA, the reparations should come out of other assets of the PA in the U.S. and assist the victims to reach PA money in Europe.


Third, hitting the PA hardin the pocketbookshould force the Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, et al., to accept the fact that they cannot continue to pay terrorists sitting in prison or provide stipends to the families of murderers. More importantly, it might force the Palestinians living under their thumbs to say, once and for all time, no to the continued sponsorship and glorification of terrorists.


While no amount of money will ever bring back the murdered children, fathers, mothers, and loved ones, nor adequately compensate the survivors, the jurys message was clear: terrorism has a price, and the terrorists and their sponsors must pay for itnot with lip service, but in hard, cold cash.


Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is a candidate on the Religious Zionist slate ( in the World Zionist Congress elections.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rocks kill a child

This is a sad follow-up to a previous post entitled Murder by stoning: Palestinian terrorists’ forgotten weapon in which I discuss the use of rocks and stones as weapons.

Rocks are still being thrown at Israeli civilians in cars and soldiers at "peaceful" demonstrations, more like riots, by Palestinians in the disputed territories.  But a news story from the New York Times brings home the sad fact that rocks do kill.

It's the story of Adele Biton a
4-year-old Israeli girl who was critically injured in a car accident caused by Palestinian rock throwers two years ago died on Tuesday [February 17, 2015] after a severe bout of pneumonia that relatives said was complicated by her neurological trauma.
This should put to rest the lie that rock throwing is not a serious effort to kill innocents.  As

The report can be read here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Overlooking a safe haven for Palestinian terrorists

At his confirmation hearings, U.S. Defense Secretary-designate Ashton Carter expressed concern about safe havens for terrorists in Afghanistan, Libya, and Pakistan. Yet for some reason, he neglected to mention the Middle Eastern regime that is one of the worst offenders when it comes to granting safe haven to terroriststhe Palestinian Authority (PA).

Discussing the vacuum that will be left when the last American troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan, Carter testified at the Senate hearings that the Obama administrations counter-terrorism strategy begins foremost with preventing the creation of safe havens for terrorists. 

Carter also expressed concern about the terrorist safe haven in Libya and pledged to hold Pakistan accountable for permitting terrorists to operate from its territory. So when will the U.S. hold the PA regime accountable?

The Oslo Accords (Annex IV, Article 2, par.7f[1]) specifically require the PA to honor all Israeli requests for the extradition of terrorists. During 1996-1998, Israel filed such requests for 36 terrorists. The PA simply ignored them.

PA officials tried to deflect the pressure by claiming the PA itself was  imprisoning the terrorists. This was not a valid legal reason to ignore the extradition requestsbut they hoped to convince Western skeptics that since the terrorists were behind bars, it didn't matter whether they were in Israeli or Palestinian jails.

But it did matter, because the Palestinian jails turned out to be a joke. In March 1998, the Jerusalem Report revealed that the PA constructed an elaborate ruse in its Jericho prison in order to fool a visiting Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official who wanted to see if two particular terrorists were behind bars. The terrorists in question were placed in a cell just before the CIA man arrived. Afterwards, the killers returned to leading normal lives outside the prison walls, where they were often seen at coffee shops and markets in the town, in the company of family members and friends.

Slowly, grudgingly, U.S. officials began to acknowledge the problem. Then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in 1997 that the PA did indeed have a system of revolving-door justice when it came to handling terrorists.

I know something about this first-hand. My daughter Alisa was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. Two of the terrorists who were publicly identified by Israel and the United States as suspects in the attack, Nabil Sharihi and Adnan al-Ghoul, were at one time briefly detained by the PA, and then set free. Three other identified suspects in the attack, Yousef Samiri, Hassan Hamadan, Nasser Hindawi, were likewise enjoying the safe haven of PA territory.

To make matters worse, some terrorist suspects were being rewarded with jobs in the Palestinian Security Forces or other branches of the PA regime. Abd Al-Majid Dudin, a prime suspect in the bombing that murdered Connecticut schoolteacher Joan Davenny in 1995, was appointed as a guard in the very jail where he was supposed to be a prisoner.

There was a crescendo of criticism in 2001. In March of that year, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations urged the Bush administration to put the PA itself on the U.S. governments terrorism list. In April, 87 U.S. senators and 209 members of the House of Representatives signed a letter calling for a reassessment of our relations with the Palestinians, in response to the PAs sponsorship of terrorist attacks and releases of jailed terrorists. In December, President George W. Bush himself acknowledged that the PAs jails have bars in the front and revolving doors in the back.

But then the issue faded from the headlines. Those strongly worded condemnations turned out to be just words, with no follow-up, no suspension of U.S. aid to the Palestinians, no consequences of any kind. When Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died in 2004, a new narrative arose: Arafat had been a bad guy, but his successor Mahmoud Abbas, is moderate.

The truth is, however, that the same policy of sheltering terrorists that began under Arafat has continued under Abbas. The Israeli extradition requests have been ignored. The revolving doors in the PAs prisons have not been replaced with genuine bars. Terrorists still roam PA territory freely. The only difference is that nobody talks about it.

Every once in a while, a little something slips out. Last March, for example, the New York Times published a report about Israeli troops going into the PA-ruled area of Jenin in pursuit of terrorists. The reporter needed to explain why it is that the Israelis, and not the PA police, were doing the pursuing. The reason, she said, was that although the Jenin refugee camp is under the full control of the PA, the Palestinian [security forces] did not generally operate in refugee camps.

The Jenin refugee camp is a notorious hotbed of terrorism. According to the BBC, Palestinians call it the Martyrs Capital and at least 28 suicide bombers came from the camp during 2001-2003 alone. Yet it is what might be called a No-Go Zone for the PA security forces. Jenin is, in other words, the epitome of a safe haven for terrorists.

Americas anti-terrorism policy must be consistent if it is to be effective. No safe havens for terroristswhether in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, or the PAshould be tolerated.

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is a candidate on the Religious Zionist slate ( in the World Zionist Congress elections.