Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

As the father of a young woman who was killed by terrorists in the Middle East, I applaud the Clinton administration's offer of a $2-million reward for information leading to the capture of the terrorists who killed four American citizens in Pakistan. But I wonder why the administration has failed to take such steps in other cases of Americans who have been murdered abroad, including my daughter?

My daughter, Alisa, 21, was killed - along with seven other innocent people - in a Palestinian Arab terrorist bombing in the Gaza Strip in 1995. Last year, the Israeli government reported that Nabil Sharihi, the terrorist who "helped prepare (the) bomb" used in that attack, is being sheltered by Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority, which controls most of Gaza.

Seven other Palestinian Arab terrorists involved in the killings of 11 American citizens during 1993-1998 are also in Palestinian Authority territory. Yet Arafat has refused to hand them over to Israel for prosecution (as the Oslo accords require), and the Clinton administration has refrained from asking Arafat to hand them over to the U.S., even though they could be prosecuted here under the terms of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996.

Some administration officials have claimed that they have insufficient evidence to pursue Sharihi and the other Palestinian Arab killers of Americans. I am skeptical about this claim, because I know that in at least 4 cases, Israeli courts have reviewed the evidence of these Palestinian terrorists and found it sufficient to issue arrest warrants. But if the Clinton administration is concerned about the quality or quantity of the evidence they currently possess, the logical next step would be to offer a large reward, just as the U.S. did in the Pakistani case, advertise the reward in Palestinian Arab newspapers, just as the U.S. placed large ads in the Pakistani press; and offer potential informers protection and relocation, just as the U.S. has done in Pakistan.

There should be not double standard. The U.S. should pursue Palestinian killers of Americans just as vigorously as they have pursued Pakistan killers of Americans.

Stephen Flatow

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