An attorney who has represented American victims of Palestinian terrorism has a suggestion for some of those Hamas operatives recently released in exchange for the freedom of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit: If the United States can apprehend them, prosecute those responsible for killing American citizens.
Some of those killers were sent to Jordan, which has an extradition treaty with the United States, writes Nathan Lewin Sunday in the New York Sun.
"No provision of any extradition treaty should preclude bringing these criminals to justice in the United States," Lewin argues. "The Jordan treaty bars extradition for 'political offenses,' but it would be hard to claim that the mass terrorist killings of civilians in Jerusalem and Haifa were only 'political offenses.' At the least, Jordan should be put to that test."
American casualties are fairly common in Hamas attacks, including the 2001 bombing of a Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem, the 2003 bombing of a bus in Haifa and the suicide bombing of a Jerusalem café that same year.
Terrorists responsible were serving life prison sentences after being convicted in Israeli courts.
U.S. laws dating back to the 1990s make it a crime to kill Americans outside the United States and to bomb Americans abroad.
Congress passed such legislation "to insure that those who murdered American citizens like Judy Greenbaum, Abigail Leitel, and the Applebaums [father David and daughter Nava] would not be able to avoid just punishment for their crimes," Lewin writes. "That goal can now be realized only if the United States Department of Justice takes prompt and effective action."