Alan M. Dershowitz’s Perspective: Israelis are now transitioning from their annual day of remembrance to the day they celebrate their independence. But even in celebrating 65 years of statehood, Israel never forgets the sacrifices it has made over the course of its existence.
As Israelis mourn the 25,000 soldiers – young men and women – who have been killed in the course of defending the Jewish state against aggression and terrorism, Jordanian leaders (not including the king, at least thus far) are making a hero out of a Jordanian soldier who murdered seven Israeli school girls and wounded six others during a peace program in 1997.
Ahmed Daqamseh, who expressed pride in his mass murder, was convicted of these crimes but spared the death penalty, despite the fact that Jordan executes large numbers of criminals for relatively trivial offenses.
Now after serving approximately two years for each of the murders, he is seeking his release and he has the support of a large majority of Jordanian parliamentarians, who regard him as a hero. The very word “hero” was used by the Jordanian justice minister in joining the chorus calling for his release.
Daqamseh’s mother has said, “I am proud of my son and I hold my head high. My son did a heroic deed and has pleased Allah and his own conscience. My son lifts my head and the head of the entire Arab and Islamic nation. I am proud of any Muslim who does what Ahmed did.”
Daqamseh himself has said, “I have no regrets.” He continued, “The only thing I am angry about is the gun, which did not work properly. Otherwise, I would have killed all of the [children].” He also said he would do it again if given the opportunity.
The 13 school girls who were shot by the Jordanian soldier were on a peace mission at a place ironically called The Island of Peace. It is the man who shot these 13 school girls – who wishes he had killed more, and promises he would do it again – who is being celebrated as a hero by Jordanian public officials.
The silence of King Abdullah speaks loudly about the widespread popular support that exists for this mass murderer of Jewish children.
In justifying his support for Daqamseh’s release, the justice minister said, “If a Jew murdered Arabs, [the Israelis] build him a statue.” In fact precisely the opposite is true.
When a Jewish extremist (not a soldier) murdered Arabs at prayer, the Israeli government not only did not build him a statue, it forbade any statue from being built by private sources and has demonized the killer (who was himself killed), as a mass murderer deserving of no lionization.
Another indication of the widespread support for Daqamseh is that 110 out of the 120 members of the lower house of Jordan’s Parliament have called him a hero and demanded his release.
They are seeking “freedom for the soldier hero” and saying “we are all Ahmed Daqamseh.”