For more than a year, I’ve been detailing the increased involvement of former Christian Century editor-in-chief and current contributing editor James Wall with various Internet anti-Semites. But I think it’s finally time to pull off the mask, and name Wall for what he is: a terrorist sympathizer.
In his latest blog post, Wall goes all teary-eyed over Ahlam Tamimi, one of the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners released in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. He writes:
The Western public saw and read virtually nothing about the 477 Palestinians who were released from Israeli prisons, except for those stories that reminded the public that many of the prisoners, to use the term so popular among Israeli politicians, had “blood on their hands”.
This bias against Palestinians was so blatant that Jewish activist Noam Chomsky was moved to accuse the media of treating the released Palestinian prisoners as “unpeople”.
It is time to tell their stories, and to do so without apology.
Unfortunately, this is correct. All too many of the prisoners in question did not have their past exploits described by a press determined not to raise any questions about the appropriateness of the exchange, whether because of a desire to get Schalit home or because of a desire to see as many Palestinians as possible go free, regardless of past actions. So Wall tells Tamimi’s story, but leaves out the best parts:
However one-sided this struggle has always been, it is still a war between the fourth largest military force in the world, and an occupied population, some of whom employ military tactics to resist that occupation.
“Military tactics.” Remember that phrase.
Which brings us to Ahlam and Nezar, two Palestinian prisoners who had known each other briefly before both were imprisoned. They are members of a large, extended Tammimi family.
They had both attended Birzeit University, at different times. As prisoners in separate Israeli jails, they connected again through a correspondence that traveled a circuitous route to the village of each of their parents, and then back to the Israeli prisons where they were incarcerated.
It was through their correspondence that Ahlam and Nezar determined they were in love. Ahlam tells the story of their courtship:
“Each letter would take a month to reach Nezar and another month [for me] to get his response back. I would place the letter in the mail and send it to my family. My family would send it to Nezar’s family. Nezar’s family would send it to him.”“Nezar would go through the same process to send me a letter. Our letters were so precious, they took so much time and they were our only means of communication.
We would share experiences, express our love and share our virtual dreams of being and living together after our marriage. After exchanging letters and falling in love we both decided to get engaged even if we were both jailed for life”.
The Media Line reports on Ahlam’s story of the letters, an account she presented “with a broad smile and a sparkle in her eyes”.
Aw, isn’t that sweet?
Now that they have been released in the October 18 prisoner exchange, Ahlam and Nezar want to somehow have a “big wedding—as soon as they can finally see each other”.
Their formal marriage came in August, 2005.
The fathers of Ahlam and Nezar arranged the necessary marriage documents and sent the couple copies of the marriage contract. Ahlam reports that Nezar sent her wedding rings but Israeli prison administration officials “confiscated them all”.
Can you believe that? Mean, mean Israelis!
When Ahlam and Nezar were released on October 18, the IDF—not-so-helpfully–sent the couple to different locations. Nezar returned to a joyous hero’s reception in his home village of Al-Nabi Saleh, a farming center, where his extended family still lives.
Not helpful. Not helpful at all. How dare those nasty old Israelis try to keep these two lovebirds apart?
Ahlam, whose family also has roots in Al-Nabi Sahel, was born in Jordan, where her family had moved in 1967. As a condition of her release in the October 18 prisoner exchange, Ahlam was forced to fly to Jordan to join her parents’ family.
She was not allowed to travel with her husband to his family village, Al-Nabi Saleh. The couple was able to meet briefly at Cairo’s Airport’s Sheraton Hotel on their way to their separate destinations.
This then, is the story of three prisoners carefully selected by Israeli officials to be released from prison. Two of the prisoners, Ahlam and Nezar, were separately arrested, charged and sentenced by military courts. Each was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Their “crimes”, for which a military occupying power had served as jury and judge, were identified and punished according to a military court in a system operated by an illegal occupation.
Israeli sees the prisoners as threats to the security of the State of Israel. The Palestinians who were sent to jail, on the other hand, saw themselves as resisting an occupying army, taking actions they believed appropriate to deal with that occupation.
“Crimes.” Did you catch the scare quotes? How could two such lovely people be accused of “crimes” by that horrible occupying power and separated yet again after all those years apart? It makes you just want to go to the nearest Ahava store and pound on the counter, yelling, “how could you! You beasts!”
Oh, and note the apologetic: “…saw themselves resisting an occupying army, taking actions they believed appropriate to deal with that occupation.” One terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, right?
Wall writes, “this then, is the story,” but it’s not the whole story. Far from it. As Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story:
Ahlam Tamimi, sentenced to 16 life sentences for her involvement in the “Sbarro” suicide bombing on 9 August 2001 in Jerusalem, says she had no regrets and stressed she would, given the opportunity, do it again.
“It was a calculated act, performed with conviction and faith in Allah,” Tamini said in an interview posted on the Hamas website. “Jihad warriors are always ready to die as martyrs, to be arrested – or to succeed. I managed to overcome the barrier of prison and was released. Why should I repent?”
Of those terrorists who remain in prison after the Gilad Shalit deal, she said, “We left with our heads held high. All attempts to keep us in prison, and those who remain, will soon be forsaken.”
Tamimi, who was deported to Jordan upon her release as a part of a deal to exchange 1,027 terrorists for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, added “resistance is the only way to liberate Palestine. Israel understands only the language of arms.”
Tamimi was a 20-year old university student at the time of Sbarro bombing. She disguised herself as a Jewish tourist and escorted suicide bomber Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri to the restaurant in order to draw suspicion away from him.
The Sbarro attack resulted 130 wounded and 15 killed.
Wall’s account of mass murder:
Her crime, for which she was sentenced by a military court for multiple life terms, was for “choosing the location and securing transportation to reach that location” for Hamas member Ezz Al Din Al Massri, 20,who blew himself up in Sabarro restaurant in Jerusalem in August 2001, killing 16 Israelis and injuring 150. It was a massive act of murder to the Israelis and the outside world. To Israelis, Ahlam was guilty of aiding and abetting a crime of murder.
Now she is out of prison, looking for some avenue that would allow her to unite with her husband, who was was jailed in 1993 during his Birzeit University years.
Ahlam’s dream now is to settle down after a huge wedding that reunites her with her husband Nezar. “All I dream about now is to live with Nezar, settling down and raising our future children”. [Emphasis added.]
So, Massri’s suicide bombing was “a massive act of murder to the Israelis and the outside world.” In contrast, “To Israelis [but not the outside world–DSF], Ahlam was guilty of aiding and abetting a crime of murder.” No, actually to pretty much any civilized person she was guilty of that. I don’t know of a nation on Earth that would consider what she did any less than being an accessory to 15 murders and 130 attempted murders. And since she tells Hamas that “it was a calculated act, performed with conviction and faith in Allah,” that it was premeditated murder of civilians and an act she admits and for which she has no regrets, the fact that she was tried by a military court–a fact Wall mentions three times–is of no consequence whatsoever.
The PCUSA’s Israel Palestine Mission Network links to this appalling garbage on their Facebook page, which isn’t surprising. Perhaps IPMN believes that the mass murder of civilians can be explained away as well.
(Thanks to Deroy Murdock of NRO, who mentions Tamimi in a story this week about the exchange, and whose article provided the link to Israel National News, where the Hamas interview with Tamimi was quoted.)
UPDATE: Wall’s post has been up for three days. Normally, his fellow Israel-haters leave a dozen or so comments telling him what a great “journalist” he is. On this one, however, there’s only been one. Maybe he has crossed a line that even his followers can’t stomach.
UPDATE: One of Wall’s followers chimes in:
It is wonderful to see the photos of what actually happened. How sadistic are the Israelis for separating the couple.
Words fail me.