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Congressional letter urges Holder to try Palestinian terrorists

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — A letter authored by two members of the U.S. House of Representatives is urging Attorney General Eric Holder to bring Palestinian terrorists who have killed and wounded Americans to justice. 

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, joined with Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) to author the bipartisan letter sent Thursday. Another 50 lawmakers from both parties cosigned the letter.

Since the Koby Mandell Act of 2005 established the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism the same year, not one Palestinian terrorist has been prosecuted by the U.S., despite 71 cases of Palestinian terrorism against Americans since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Berman said in a news release.

In the letter, Berman and Walsh advise the Department of Justice to investigate cases and seek prosecution of Palestinian terrorists involved in the murder and wounding of American citizens, particularly terrorists who were released recently by Israel as part of the exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

“Murder and assault of American citizens anywhere in the world must be promptly and effectively punished by the United States in United States courts under United States law,” Berman and Walsh wrote in the letter. “We call on you to carry out this obligation or explain why such prosecutions are not appropriate for the United States to pursue.”

The Zionist Organization of America has made a similar appeal to Holder.

In correspondence earlier this year with the Parents Forum, a group of American citizens and parents whose children were killed or wounded by Palestinian terrorists in Israel, Holder said he had made clear to the Israelis that the Obama administration opposed the release of terrorists involved in attacks on Americans in the Shalit exchange.

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