Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saying goodbye, then and now, to a victim of terror

20 years is a long time, and the attitude of the Israeli government in one small respect has changed since Alisa was murdered in 1995.  Some thoughts about the murder of Ezra Schwartz from the Times of Israel.

What a difference 20 years can make. It was late Tuesday evening, April 11, 1995. 36 hours earlier I had arrived in Israel to be by the side of my daughter Alisa who had been mortally injured in a bus bombing. Now I was being ushered by Israeli protocol people into the VIP lounge at Ben Gurion Airport to await my El Al flight that would return me with Alisa’s body to the States. I sat on a couch at one end of the room, next to a military chaplain who didn’t speak a word of English. On the opposite side were members of the press who asked a few questions. Frankly, I don’t remember what those questions were, or what I said in reply.

Read the full post here. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

France and Israel: Obama’s double standard



(Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.)


Israel's prime minister has called the latest terrorist attacks "an act of war." He called the attackers "barbarians," vowed to wage a war of "no mercy" against them, and ordered bombing strikes on "terrorist training camps," even though they were located adjacent to medical clinics, a museum, and a soccer stadium. 


Remarkably, neither the Obama administration nor the United Nations condemned Israel's strong response to the terrorists. Has the world finally come to its senses? Does it finally understand that Islamic terrorism, whether against Israelis or anybody else, is an attack on us all?


Actually, no. Because I misspoke. 


It was French prime minister Francois Hollande, not Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the latest terrorism (in Paris) an "act of war."  It was Hollande who called the attackers "barbarians," and vowed to wage a war of "no mercy" against them. It was the French air force that bombed medical clinics, a museum, and a soccer stadium located near terror camps in the ISIS-controlled Syrian city of Raqqa. 


When Netanyahu says that Palestinian Islamic terrorists have carried out "acts of war," he is accused of exaggerating the threat. When he calls the killers "barbarians," he is denounced as a racist. If Israel strikes terrorist sites that are situated near civilian areas, Israel is accused of "war crimes" and "disproportionate" responses. 


Remember when Secretary of State John Kerry sarcastically grumbled, "Hell of a 'pinpoint' attack" after one Israeli strike in Gaza? We don't hear Kerry calling the French bombing of those Raqqa medical clinics a "hell of a 'pinpoint' attack." We don't hear National Security Adviser Susan Rice demanding that Hollande apologize for describing Islamic killers as "barbarians." We don't hear President Obama calling for "both sides" to "exercise restraint" as he always does when Israel responds to Arab terrorists.


On the contrary: Obama administration officials are boasting that the U.S. provided "military intelligence" that assisted the French in their bombing of Raqqa. This, a cynic might say, makes the Obama administration complicit in the bombing of a medical clinic, a museum, and a soccer stadium.


Israel has always understood the nature of this conflict. Now, it seems, France does, too. 


Yes, every terrorist attack is an act of war. No, the terrorists are not "the JV team," as President Obama once put it. 


Yes, the terrorists are barbarians. No, we should not "show respect even for one's enemies" and "try to understand…and empathize with their perspective and point of view," as Hillary Clinton said in her December 3, 2014 speech at Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C.


Yes, terror targets must be struck, regardless of whether or not they are situated near civilian sites. 


And yes, the terrorists must be fought with "no mercy" and completely destroyed--not merely "contained" or "degraded," as President Obama often says.


France's leaders have belatedly awakened to the fact that the civilized world is at war with the forces of Islamic terrorism. Israel is one front in that war. France is another. And if the Obama administration does not wake up and fight, then America will soon become the next front.



The online version may be found here.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

In This Case, I Can't Be Diplomatic; I Lost a Child to Terrorism; Now I'm Losing U.S. Support

The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Date:Nov 7, 1999

Late in the evening of April 10, 1995, the day we lost our daughter Alisa to a suicide bomb, I received a long-distance telephone call from another father. He expressed his condolences and wondered aloud if he would show the same strength that I was displaying if his own daughter had been killed.

Before we hung up, Bill Clinton also told me he would help us obtain justice.
That is not how it has turned out.

Alisa, a 20-year-old student at Brandeis University on a trip to Israel, was traveling in Gaza when her bus was rammed by a van packed full of explosives. The driver was identified as a member of Islamic Jihad, a militant Palestinian organization funded largely by the government of Iran.

Alisa was the only American among the eight dead. President Clinton's apparently heartfelt sympathy--repeated when we met privately in March 1996--was only one of many expressions of support my family and I received from U.S. officials in the aftermath of that horrible crime. And soon, we were given hope for more concrete assistance.

Under a law passed a year after Alisa died, American citizens were given for the first time the right to use U.S. civil courts to sue foreign governments that sponsor terrorist attacks. At the signing ceremony, Clinton spoke movingly of our country's commitment to use all tools at its disposal to fight terrorism. This law would be my tool, I thought. I would use the institutions of a just society to seek justice.

But when I tried to use the law, I found the U.S. government wasn't really in my corner. In my attempts to demand that the sponsors of terrorism pay for their actions, I have received help only as long as my interests don't conflict with the administration's goals.

I did not take lightly the significance of suing a foreign country. In fact, I do not think I would have filed suit at all but for the very clear signals I had received that the Clinton administration would be on our side.

There were some cautionary notes. Early on, sympathetic State Department officials had been helpful in providing me with information about Alisa's killers. But when I asked them for assistance in beginning my lawsuit, their roundabout answer indicated that career diplomats might not be enthusiastic about our plans.

Nevertheless, Clinton still seemed encouraging at our next meeting- -a few minutes alone during a New York fund-raiser in June 1996. I handed him a letter requesting government assistance in my lawsuit. As he put it in his jacket pocket, the president told me that he was behind me and my family.

In February 1997, I went to court. Acting as administrator of Alisa's estate, I filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington against the Islamic Republic of Iran, its president, its supreme spiritual leader and its minister of information. Because we had to pick a figure, we sought $100 million in damages. We served papers on the defendants via the Swiss Embassy in Tehran; the State Department actively assisted in getting the documents to the Swiss and ensuring that they were properly served.

Though the Iranian government never responded to our filing, we still had to make our case at trial. We presented 22 witnesses over two days in March 1998. And two weeks later, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth found in our favor and awarded $247.5 million in damages. Should we ever receive that money, my family has earmarked it for three causes: sending students to Israel; studying post- traumatic stress syndrome; and offering rewards for the capture of perpetrators of terrorism.

To say that I was heartened by events so far would be an understatement. Here I was, an average taxpayer, receiving what seemed to be the full support of the mighty United States of America in my quest to find justice for the death of my daughter and some meaning in its aftermath. All that remained was making the Iranians pay, which we expected to do using standard procedure: locate their assets in the United States, get a U.S. marshal to serve a writ, and obtain an order to have the assets sold.

That very afternoon, however, we were stunned by criticism from an unexpected quarter: Asked about our court victory, State Department spokesman James Rubin was quoted as telling reporters that the United States did not believe in judgments against foreign countries, but in negotiations with them.

Somehow, my use of a federal law, passed overwhelmingly by both houses of Congress and signed by the president, was being characterized as a violation of the foreign policy of the United States.

At first, I did not appreciate how serious the opposition was going to be. But things got worse. Because we could not attach those assets protected by diplomatic immunity, we went in search of commercial assets in the United States owned by the government of Iran. But when we asked the Treasury Department for help, the office of the secretary refused. It would be "too burdensome" to help us locate assets, I was told in June 1998.

We met with national security adviser Samuel Berger. It was disheartening, to say the least. He professed to know nothing about the lawsuit, and therefore used the time merely to express sympathy.

That September we had another setback. A victims' rights law had just been passed, which we believed would give us the ability to seize a wider range of Iranian government assets. But the law also gave the president the right to waive its provisions in the name of national security. And President Clinton--the man who called me the night my daughter died, who said he was behind us in our quest for justice--exercised that option.

Even as he denied us the right to seize Iranian properties, however, he promised--in an accompanying press release--that his administration would help "the Flatow family" locate "commercial Iranian assets" in the United States.

When cooperation was still not forthcoming, I wrangled another short meeting with the president this past February. I told him we needed answers to questions that we had put to the State Department about whether three banks were owned by the Iranian government. I must have gotten through because a few weeks later I got my answer-- yes.

But such help had critical limits. For example, the government identified property owned by a foundation in Maryland that, it said, was controlled by Iran. When I went to Maryland to investigate, the head of the foundation denied any Iranian connection. So I appealed to the State Department to write an affidavit, something I could use in court. It declined. I am stymied.

Relations with the administration have reached a low. We've become the odd man out in what I thought would be a partnership. More than a year after obtaining the judgment, I'm still being opposed in my efforts to make the Iranians pay the price prescribed by U.S. law.

About 10 days ago, there was a hearing on our case before the Senate Judiciary Committee. To my ears, the administration officials who testified seemed only interested in delaying our efforts.

Am I frustrated? Yes. I think back over the time spent on trains from New Jersey to Washington, catching naps at Reagan National, walking the halls of the House and Senate office buildings to garner support for my part in our country's fight against terrorists and their sponsors.

I understand that the political realities have changed, that there is a new regime in Iran, one that has the potential to join the community of civilized nations. I understand that the State Department might not want to derail any diplomatic initiatives in that direction. And I would understand if department officials had simply said, "Bear with us during this difficult time and someday we will help you."

Instead, they continue to say that carrying out my judgment would endanger the security of the United States. If that's true, I'm the bad guy.

Is my cause worth the struggle? Of course it is. The only way we are going to defeat terrorists is by committed pursuit. To do anything less will allow these killers to get away with murder.

President Clinton once told me I was brave and courageous. I asked him if there was anything he wouldn't do for his daughter. He said no. "Just because Alisa is not here with us does not mean that we stop doing things for our children," I told him. And that is true-- even if it means we have to challenge our own government to rise above that which is politically expedient.

Stephen Flatow is a lawyer in West Orange, N.J.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Appeasement, standing up for yourself. The New York Sun

Iran, nuclear weapon development, sanctions.  It is a tough pill to swallow.  What will come from the announced agreement?

One thing I am sure of is the editor of the New York Sun gets it right when he says that appeasement fails.

Read the full editorial, Esther 4:14 - The New York Sun

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Palestinian terrorists get a free shot

My latest column discusses the anomaly of a soldier being investigated following a rock throwing attack and an attack that could have been much worse but for the rock thrower's aim.

Some thoughts:
An Israeli soldier who shot back at an Arab who was trying to murder him is now under investigation, following protests by self-described human rights activists. Given the focus of the activists’ concern, perhaps it would be more accurate to call them terrorists’ rights activists. 
At least 14 Israelis have been murdered by Arab rock-throwers since the 1980s. One of the best-known cases involved Esther Ohana, a young woman who was a passenger in a car that was stoned in 1983. She was struck in the head and killed by one of the rocks. The fact that she was delivering invitations to her wedding made the episode all the more poignant and unforgettable.
Kids who throw rocks because they are drunk are bad enough. Kids who throw rocks because they are being politically and religiously indoctrinated to hate Jews are far more dangerous. But so long as human rights groups are mainly concerned about whether the would-be victims shot too soon, so long as most of the news media ignore or minimize such attacks, and so long as Jews around the world focus on other news, attackers like the one in Baqa al-Gharbiya will keep getting away with it.
Read the column on-line here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Feeding at the Iranian business trough, the French get in line as sanctions end

A headline in today's Times of Israel announces -
France preparing to resume business with Iran
Foreign minister will reportedly travel to Tehran quickly if accord signed; 100 companies plan September delegation
So, here we go.  Many years ago I wrote about the weakness in sanctions when they are not universally followed.  I accused countries such as Italy for lining up at the Iranian business trough and feeding as if there was no tomorrow.  Every dollar spent buying Iranian goods and products, mostly oil, went into the coffers of a government bent on destruction.

If the French think they are immune from Iranian sponsored terrorism, they are mistaken.  To add insult to their future injury, think about it, French francs flowing to Iran will be paying for the deaths of Frenchmen.

That's what I think.

You can read the full article here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Teaching Palestinians to hate Israel and Jews does not bode well for the future

A recent study of Germans who grew up during the Nazi error has determined that the hatred inculcated in them then still resides in them today.

Palestinian children are being taught that Jews are evil and Israel must be destroyed.  A frightening parallel to pre-war Germany.

Here's my latest commentary:
What German and Palestinian kids have in common

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Palestinians No One Talks About

Fascinating insight into the plight of Palestinians living in Arab countries.  A free people? A citizen of those countries? No and no.

From the Gatestone Institute-
The international community seems to have forgotten that Palestinians live not only in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but also in a number of Arab countries, especially Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.
Western journalists covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict regularly focus on the "plight" of Palestinians who are affected by Israeli security policies, while ignoring what is happening to Palestinians in neighboring Arab countries.
These journalists, for example, often turn a blind eye to the daily killings of Palestinians in Syria and the fact that Palestinians living in Lebanon and other Arab countries are subjected to Apartheid and discriminatory laws.
A Palestinian who is shot dead after stabbing an Israeli soldier in Hebron receives more coverage in the international media than a Palestinian woman who dies of starvation in Syria.
And it goes on and on.  Read The Palestinians No One Talks About

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How Israelis commemorate terror victims

The video commentary says it all.  The video was provided by Women in Green and was made at a park in Israel dedicated to the three boys murdered by Hamas in 2014.  You will not hear cries for revenge, instead you will see people celebrating life.

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.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How to respond to honors for Palestinian killer of U.S. senator’s niece

Did you know that the United States Senate has been underwriting a series of events publicly glorifying a Palestinian terrorist who murdered an American citizenin fact, a senators niece?  Well, it is, and this outrage must come to an end.

The terrorists name is Dalal Mughrabi. On March 9, 1978, she headed a squad of 13 Palestinian terrorists who set out from Lebanon towards Israel, in several small boats. They were members of Fatah, the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). At the time, Yasser Arafat was chairman of the PLO and Fatah, and Mahmoud Abbas was his second in command. Today, Abbas is chairman of the PLO and Fatah, and president of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The terrorists landed on a northern Israeli beach, where Gail Rubin, an American Jewish nature photographer, 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 then U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-Connecticut).

One of the terrorists, Hussain Fayadh, later explained to the Lebanese Television station Al-Manar 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 didnt you come to me? Then Dalal opened fire on her.

Mughrabi, Fayadh, and the others walked to the nearby Coastal Road and hijacked an Israeli bus. They murdered 36 passengers, 12 of them children. Mughrabi was killed by Israeli troops. Fayadh survived, was sentenced to life in jail, but was then released in a prisoner exchange.

On May 29, 2013, the Jerusalem Post revealed that Fayadh had been hired as an adviser to Abbas, which means that some portion of his salary comes from the $500 million that the U.S. governmentwith the Senates approvalsends to Abbass PA each year.

Those U.S. funds are also used in part to finance the PAs ongoing public glorification of Mughrabi. The PA has sports tournaments and summer camps named after her. In 2011, the PA established a Dalal Mughrabi Square in the center of its capital city, Ramallah. Official PA television frequently broadcasts programs depicting Mughrabi as a hero and martyr.

Earlier this month, Abbass Fatah organized a public celebration of Mughrabis birthday. The event was broadcast on Fatahs Al-Awdah TV, which is headed by Fatah spokesman Ahmad Asaf. Students participating in the celebration were interviewed for the program. One said this of the killer of Senator Ribicoffs niece, 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 Al-Awdah reporter cheerily added, Martyr Dalal Mughrabi raised the Palestinian flag from the heart of occupied Palestine. On her birthday we renew the promise to her and its fulfillment. Another student then described the work of the Sisters of Dalal Committee, a branch of the Fatah student movement. She was followed by the director of a PA government agency, the Palestinian Poets and Writers Association, who poetically hailed Gail Rubins murderer as the Purple Gazelle, the Flower of the Land. (Translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch.)

Here are three steps that the Senate should take in response to this outrageous insult to the memory of one of its members:

1. No U.S. Senator should step foot in Ramallah until the PA changes the name of Mughrabi Park.

2. An amount equivalent to Hussein Fayadhs salary and Al-Awdah TVs annual budget should be deducted from the next installment of U.S. aid to the PA. Perhaps the money would be better spent if it were turned over to the families of Mughrabis victims.

3. The Senate should ask the U.S. Treasury Department to add the officers of Al-Awdah TV and the Sisters of Dalal Committee to the official U.S. list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists. The list consists of persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism. Surely someone who publicly glorifies a terrorist qualifies as a supporter of terrorism. The designation would prevent those individuals from entering the U.S. and would freeze any assets they have in this country.

These are, of course, just a few initial steps. Much more can be done. But if nothing is doneif the Senate continues to tolerate this outrageit will send a message to terrorists everywhere that they not only can get away with celebrating the murder of a senators niece, but can even get Senate-authorized funding at the same time.

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.
This article can be read online here.