After 3 Long Years:
State Department Offers Rewards to Capture Palestinian Arab Killers of Americans
After a three-year public information campaign by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the State Department has finally notified the families of several American victims of Palestinian Arab terrorism that it will offer monetary rewards for information leading to capture of their children's killers. "We strongly praise the Bush administration for taking this important step in the war against terrorism," said ZOA National President Morton A. Klein. "This will dramatically raise public awareness about the fact that Yasser Arafat's regime is harboring terrorists who have murdered Americans."
The State Department's website, dssrewards.net, offers multi-million dollar rewards for information leading to the capture of foreign terrorists who have murdered Americans overseas, but until now it has conspicuously never offered rewards to help capture the Palestinian Arab terrorists who have murdered more than 80 Americans since the 1960s, 21 of them since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993.
As a result, the ZOA launched a public campaign, beginning in late 1998 (during the Clinton administration), to persuade the State Department to change its policy. The ZOA's campaign included numerous full-page newspaper advertisements; mobilizing Members of Congress; meetings between ZOA leaders and officials of the State Department and Justice Department; letter-writing campaigns; press conferences (including a March 2000 press conference featuring then-Senator John Ashcroft, who was the leader in the U.S. Senate on the Rewards issue); and public rallies.
This week, the State Department formally notified several families of American victims of Palestinian Arab terrorism that it will be offering rewards to capture their children's killers. Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Flatow of New Jersey received a letter from James A. Larocco, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, notifying them that a reward will be offered for information leading to the capture of the Palestinian Arab terrorists who murdered their daughter, Brandeis University student Alisa Flatow, in a bus bombing near Kfar Darom in April 1995.
Assistant Secretary Larocco wrote to the Flatows: "We would like to publicize on a long-term basis, on the Rewards for Justice website, the offering of a reward in connection with the international terrorist act of April 9, 1995 that resulted in your daughter's tragic death."
ZOA president Klein said: "The posting of these rewards is a major step forward in the fight to deter terrorism against Americans. For the first time, the State Department is acknowledging that the U.S. should pursue Palestinian Arab killers of Americans just as vigorously as it pursues other foreign terrorists who have murdered Americans. We look forward to seeing rewards offered in all the cases in which American citizens have been harmed by Palestinian Arab terrorists."
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