Why does BBC promote my daughter’s murderer?
In August 2001, Ahlam Tamimi brought a guitar case filled with explosives to the Sbarro Pizza shop in Jerusalem. She handed it to a suicide terrorist who detonated it in the pizzeria, murdering 15 people, 8 of them children. Asked about the families and children she murdered, Tamimi answered she had “no regrets.” When told that she murdered 8 children she broke into a big smile.
Tamimi is the unrepentant child murderer who BBC Arabic TV chose to help last week by broadcasting her appeal to the King of Jordan to help her reunite with her husband. A Jordanian radio station had abruptly cut her off, refusing to let her deliver her message.
As soon as he discovered this BBC broadcast, Arnold Roth, whose 15-year-old daughter Malki was one of the children murdered by Tamimi at Sbarro, called Palestinian Media Watch. He wanted to alert us to how the BBC’s Arabic-language TV channel had willingly served as mouthpiece for the terrorist responsible for the killing of his daughter.
Terrorist murderer Tamimi was sentenced to 16 life sentences, but was released after only 10 years as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal between the Israeli government and Hamas. (See below.)
BBC’s service to a convicted murderer illustrates how major powers in the news industry abuse their influence and support terror and terrorists.
PMW invited Mr. Roth to write today’s bulletin:
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The life of my daughter’s killer has an incredible trajectory. I wonder whether anything like it has ever been seen before.
Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi is a Jordanian by birth and education. In the short period that she lived in the Palestinian Authority areas, she was a university student and a part-time news-reader for an Islamist television station in Ramallah.
Simultaneously, she became active in Fatah and then crossed over to Hamas. She boasts that she was the first woman admitted to Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which is responsible for the murder of hundreds in suicide bombings. And she immediately set about finding opportunities to kill Jews.
The first one ended in failure. She left a beer can filled with explosives in a supermarket in the center of Jerusalem in July 2001. Something went wrong and the only injuries were to her ambition and pride (though she subsequently lied, boasting in TV interviews that she caused a massacre that “the Zionists” covered up).
She demanded of her operators a second chance to kill with a much larger explosive and on Aug. 9, 2001, less than two weeks later, Hamas provided her with both. She was 21 years old. The terror attack she orchestrated murdered 15, including 8 children, one of them my daughter Malki.
Fast forward to last week’s BBC broadcast.
On Oct. 8, 2020, a program called “Trending” on BBC’s Arabic TV service beamed throughout the world an item about Tamimi for the purpose of creating sympathy for the child murderer. They told the oh-so-sad tale of how her husband Nizar Tamimi - who is also a released terrorist - had been forced by Jordanian authorities to leave Jordan for Qatar on Oct 1.
The program is part of BBC World Service programming funded by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The BBC host told viewers that Tamimi is “back” in the headlines, skipped or twisted the important background details about Tamimi’s murderous terror, and then described how she phoned in to a popular Amman-based radio station and tried to appeal directly to King Abdullah II to intervene and return her husband to Jordan.
As the Arabic-to-English transcript below shows, this was illustrated by video clips showing what happened in the studio of the radio station and then some soft-focus images from Tamimi’s life.
It’s an outrageous piece of naked agitprop - political propaganda. Here are some of the points BBC’s “Trending” skipped, distorted, or simply got wrong:
None of the murdered victims of Tamimi’s terror attack were mentioned directly or indirectly in the BBC report. Nor did they say she killed anyone. The BBC’s editors airbrushed the victims out of this shabby narrative.
The BBC says Ahlam Tamimi was “accused” of taking a role in the Sbarro terror attack, implying doubt, and was sentenced to 16 life sentences. In reality, Tamimi stopped being “accused” when she boastfully pleaded guilty to all the charges brought against her in an Israeli court. But BBC hid this from its Arabic speaking viewers.
Tamimi has gloated in public and repeatedly boasted of what she did. She has called the massacre “my operation” and since she chose the site, brought the terrorist and the explosives – it is clearly her murderous “operation.” When asked about the families and children she murdered she said in front of the cameras that she has “no regrets” and she would do it again if she could. She has left no doubt as to what motivates her in life.
Why 16 consecutive life terms? For the 15 lives Tamimi snuffed out by delivering a human bomb to a pizza shop that she chose because of the children who could reliably be found there at 2 in the afternoon on a school vacation day. A 16th life belonged to a young mother who brought her two-year old child into the pizzeria – and who remains in a vegetative coma today. Not dead but surely not alive.
After her premature release from Israeli prison, Tamimi hosted a weekly TV show of her own for nearly five years, between February 2012 and September 2016, filmed in Jordan and produced by Hamas and Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood. Though Jordan has a notoriously unfree media, Tamimi’s program had the full knowledge and approval of Jordan’s government. Distributed globally “Breezes of the Free” (Nasim Al-Ahrar) advocated for support of Palestinian Arab terrorist prisoners, many of them murderers like Tamimi.
In taking up child-murderer Tamimi’s cause, BBC is picking up the baton from Hamas TV.
If the BBC comes through this latest scandalous chapter unscathed, there will be many losers. For giving a sympathetic megaphone to one of the world’s most loathsome, unrepentant child murderers, the BBC must be brought to account. The power of its brand, its high operating budget, and its smooth-talking self-justification may make this hard to accomplish. However, the public cannot remain apathetic or BBC will continue to feel free to glorify murderers of Israelis and Jews at will.
Together with PMW, and in the name of our murdered child, my wife and I call on BBC management to review what has just happened, to internalize the lessons of its terror glorification. BBC must immediately remove the videos from YouTube, and issue a sincere public apology to the families of Tamimi’s victims whose memories BBC has desecrated by promoting their murderer.
Seeking Justice for the terror victims:
Ahlam Tamimi is also a fugitive from US justice, one of 28 people and only two women on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list, since 2017.
My wife and I have devoted years to generating greater awareness of the screaming injustice that this murderer’s freedom embodies, together with the backing she gets in the Arab world.
This doesn’t go easily and there is considerable push-back. But while the outcome of our campaign to have Tamimi extradited is far from certain, we have seen progress. But no one can deny the obstructive role played by parts of the media, like this BBC program that provide this monstrous woman with the oxygen – public attention, sympathy, and support – that is vital to her mission of staying free and inciting more terror.
If powerful media voices like the BBC would join the campaign to have this child-murderer spend the rest of her life in prison, achieving justice will be easier. We will keep trying. Our goal is to see justice done and the toxic influence of Tamimi blunted, this charismatic force for evil in the world. If we succeed, there will be many winners.
In 2018, the US State Department announced a $5 million prize under its “Rewards for Justice” program for information leading to Tamimi’s arrest or conviction. But she has never been in hiding, not even for a day. She doesn’t need to be because the Kingdom of Jordan is quietly and effectively keeping her free and safe.
The US is serious about wanting Tamimi to stand trial on Federal terrorism charges in Washington. It has repeatedly but unsuccessfully pressed Jordan to honor the Extradition Treaty signed between the Clinton Administration and the current king’s father, King Hussein. Jordan’s government has handed over a succession of Jordanian fugitive terrorists to the US under that treaty, but not Tamimi. The BBC is not alone in knowing these facts and suppressing them.
The BBC should have known this and told its viewers what informed observers understand: A Tamimi extradition is hard for Jordan because she is so popular. Those dead Jewish children count for a lot in Jordanian public opinion.
A popular Jordanian TV program called Caravan paid lavish tribute to both Tamimis two years ago in a prime time show similar to “This is Your Life”. At a certain point, the presenter (as I wrote in an article at the time) could barely restrain her enthusiasm for the details of their murderous achievements: "This is admirable!” she said. “You, the people of the struggle, elevate the name of Jordan!"
The US Congress, on a bipartisan basis, brought into law less than a year ago a powerful sanction that reports say it may yet impose: see "US considers withholding aid to Jordan to force extradition", Associated Press, June 16, 2020).
We additionally call on BBC to counter the damage it has done by supporting a terrorist, by using the force of its international media presence, to raise the call to demand that Jordan take the moral step of extraditing the murderer to the US to stand trial for murder. BBC should counter the platform they gave to the terrorist, by inviting family members of the victims into their studios to raise the call for justice. It is the least BBC could do now – after raising the voice of terror to the international media.
Ahlam Tamimi - Palestinian female terrorist who led suicide bomber Izz Al-Din Al-Masri to the Sbarro pizza shop in Jerusalem where he murdered 15 people, 7 of them children, and wounded 130 on Aug. 9, 2001. Tamimi has explained that she chose Sbarro because she expected it to be full, and she expressed disappointment at initial reports indicating few victims: "They said...there had been a Martyrdom attack at the Sbarro restaurant, and that 3 people were killed... I was a bit disappointed, because I had hoped for a larger toll." Tamimi was sentenced to 16 life sentences, but was released in October 2011 as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal between the Israeli government and Hamas. In that deal, Israel released 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held hostage by Hamas for more than 5 years.
Gilad Shalit was an Israeli soldier who was kidnapped and held hostage by Hamas for more than 5 years. During that time, he was denied visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross and was not allowed communication with his family, in violation of his rights under the Geneva Convention. Numerous human rights organizations criticized Hamas for confining Shalit under conditions that were contrary to international humanitarian law. In October 2011, the Israeli government agreed to release 1,027 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prison in exchange for Shalit.
The following is more of the transcript promoting Ahlam Tamimi on BBC Arabic
Video title on BBC’s YouTube Channel: “#BBC_Trending – a radio station cut off a phone call with Ahlam Tamimi because of her appeal to King of Jordan [Abdullah II] during a live broadcast”
Video description on BBC’s YouTube Channel: “‘Ahlam Tamimi, your voice is loud’ – responses of solidarity on Jordanian and Palestinian sites with Palestinian Ahlam Tamimi.”
BBC Arabic host: “Ahlam Tamimi, the Jordanian prisoner of Palestinian origin… has returned to the headlines following the expulsion of her husband Nizar to Doha [Qatar]… The story of the relationship between these two people is that they first met in the Israeli military courtroom, and were engaged inside the prisons… After their release as part of a prisoner exchange deal in 2011… they got married and settled in Amman [Jordan]…When Ahlam spoke [on Jordanian radio] about the decision to expel her husband, and about her rights, and when she directed a request to [Jordan’s] king to solve her problem, the broadcasters cut off the call … The staff of the [BBC] program Trending reached out to Ahlam to hear her request to the Jordanian king, which was cut off ... Let’s listen.”
Released terrorist, led suicide bomber to target. 15 people murdered, Ahlam Tamimi: I, Jordanian citizen Ahlam Tamimi, turn once again to His Majesty King Abdullah II in order to be united with my husband Nizar Tamimi on the blessed land of Jordan. It is my right to be beside my husband…
Text on screen:
She was born in Zarqa in Jordan to Palestinian parents in 1980.
She was the first woman who joined the Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing.
The Israeli forces arrested her in 2001.
She was accused of participating in the bombing operation at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem .
She was sentenced to 16 life sentences that add up to 1,584 years…
She and her husband were released in a deal that included 1,047 (sic., 1,027) Palestinian prisoners…
In 2013 she was put on the wanted terrorists’ list of the US Department of Justice due to her involvement in the murder of Americans… The Jordanian authorities have rejected America’s extradition requests.[YouTube channel of BBC Arabic, Trending, Oct. 8, 2020]