When the deal to release Gilad Shalit was announced, I spoke of the gut wrenching pain that was felt by people who were in favor as well as those not in favor of the deal. No one feels more pain from upcoming release of terrorists then Arnold and Frimet Roth whose 15-year-old daughter Malka Chana Roth, was murdered at the Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem, a little more than ten years ago.
One of the terrorists to be released in the Shalit deal, Ahlam Tamimi, was a key player in the murder of her Malka Chana Roth.
As Malka’s dad, Arnold explains, while Tamimi is described in the MSM as simply the person who drove the terrorist to Sbarros she was a very involved key player in the terrorist attack. On the day of the massacre (9th August 2001), she personally transported the bomb (10 kg) from a West Bank town into Jerusalem, concealed inside a guitar case. Taxi cabs brought her and an accomplice by the name of Al Masri, a young, newly-religious fanatic, to an Israeli security checkpoint and from there into Jerusalem.
To reduce suspicion, they dressed as Israelis and the bomb was not detected. Tamimi, who inspired, planned and engineered the Sbarro attack, personally led her “weapon” – Al Masri – to the target she had carefully selected at Jerusalem’s busiest intersection. The target was a pizza restaurant, selected because it was located in the heart of Jerusalem and on a hot summer vacation afternoon it would be teeming with women and children. Tamimi instructed Al Masri to wait fifteen minutes before detonating the explosives to give her sufficient time to flee the scene safely. He followed her orders.
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As to this being (as some journalists have implied) an act of momentary madness or lack of sound thinking, take into account that a short time prior to Sbarro attack, Tamimi carried out a ‘dry run’, placing an explosive inside a downtown Jerusalem supermarket (Hamashbir Lazarchan) which exploded causing damage but resulting in no injuries. According to a journalist I met who had interviewed her some years ago, she is a charismatic and influential woman who played a central role in Neve Tirza, until now the prison for Palestinian Arab female security prisoners. And, he told me, a monster.
Malka’s Mom, Frimet Roth wrote this in Haaretz today:
I am writing these words moments after belatedly watching a recorded video that went to air on Israel’s Channel 2 News on Friday night.
It shows the Hamas terrorist, Ahlam Tamimi, being asked: “Do you feel sorry for what you did?”
She answers her interviewer without a trace of hesitation:. “No. Why should I feel sorry?”
The interviewer persists: “Would you do it again if you had the chance?” Her unwavering response: “Yes.”
Tamimi was reaffirming the declaration she made originally in 2006: “I do not regret what I did”, is the way she put it then.
One summer vacation day in August, 2001, Tamimi murdered my fifteen year old, daughter along with 14 other innocent men, women and children who were having lunch at the Jerusalem Sbarro pizza restaurant.
I wonder whether PM Netanyahu has heard Tamimi’s statements. Could he possibly have agreed to free an unrepentant, cold-blooded murderer, sentenced to 16 life terms after she publicly committed to murder again? Perhaps he simply hasn’t seen the interview.
Or perhaps the Prime Minister did see it and wasn’t moved. After all, several months ago my husband and I sent him a letter detailing the crimes of which Tamimi was convicted and pleading with him to refuse to release her.
In that letter, we reminded him that she is generally described mistakenly as the “driver” or “helper”. We noted that she was actually the planner and engineer of the attack. She personally transported the 10 kg bomb concealed in a guitar case in a taxi from Ramallah to Jerusalem, met up with Al Masri, the suicide bomber, and handed him the case.
The two then walked together, disguised as tourists, to the center of the city. They stopped at the target Tamimi had selected. She instructed Al Masri to wait fifteen minutes before detonating the explosives. She wanted him to give her enough time to escape the scene safely, she explained later.
Prime Minister Netanyahu never responded to our written plea. He did not attempt to explain to us why he decided to include Tamimi in this horrific deal despite her uniquely demonic credentials: a mass murderer who has served nine years and has publicly proclaimed her lack of remorse and intention to murder again.
Now the day nears when we fear Tamimi will board the bus to a free life in Jordan, when her own prediction of 2006 – “I will be free again” – is realized.
We feel desperate.
We beg Mr Netanyahu to grant us a few minutes of his time and hear us out. In any sane country with a fair judicial system, even paroled murderers are not released without granting the victims’ loved ones a chance to address the parole board.
I thought Israel is such a state. I pray that I was not wrong.
Whether he is willing to change his mind regarding the release of this terrorist or not, it seems to me that Bibi Netanyau should meet with the Roths. Either to convince them of the correctness of his decisions, or to change his mind based on their logic. Whichever way, the incomprehensible pain of the pain of these parents has been increased by this murderers release as part of the Shalit deal, the Prime Minister should be doing what he can to try and comfort the Roth family.