WASHINGTON (Jan. 21)
Members of Congress, Jewish leaders and the parents of American citizens killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel are urging the Clinton administration to demand that Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat extradite the suspected perpetrators for trial.
Nine Americans have been murdered by terrorists in Israel since the Oslo accords were signed in 1993.
The families of some of those victims joined together on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to issue an impassioned plea for justice.
The news conference, arranged by the Zionist Organization of America, was held in advance of President Clinton’s meeting with Arafat at the White House on Thursday.
The Oslo accords require the Palestinian Authority to transfer accused terrorists to Israel for prosecution, but Arafat has not complied.
Lawmakers and parents of the victims are calling on Arafat to surrender the terrorists, some of whom are currently being held in Palestinian custody or living under Palestinian control, to authorities in the United States.
The 1986 Anti-Terrorism Act permits the United States to prosecute those who murder American citizens abroad.
About 20 lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright this week urging the administration to “make all diplomatic and legal efforts to guarantee that the terrorists guilty of killing and maiming Americans are brought to justice.”
“There’s a simple message here,” said Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), who sits on the House International Relations Committee.
“If you murder innocent Americans and tear innocent families apart, the United States of America will never forget and will demand justice until justice is realized.”