By Morton A. Klein
The Zionist Organization of America praises President Trump and Attorney General Sessions’s Department of Justice for bringing murder charges and issuing arrest warrants on Thursday, April 13, against two Palestinian-Arab terrorists from the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA), for brutally murdering an American woman in Israel in 2010. ZOA appreciates the actions to address Palestinian-Arab terrorists’ attacks against Americans–an issue that was neglected by the previous administration.
In December 2010, the two 39-year-old Palestinian-Arab terrorists, Ayad Fatafta and Kifah Ghanimat, brutally abducted, bound, gagged (by stuffing jacket strips into her mouth), and stabbed to death (with numerous stabs, including a dozen stabs to her chest) Ms. Kristine Luken, a Christian U.S. citizen who was hiking in the Jerusalem Forest, near Bet Shemesh and Jerusalem. The two Palestinian-Arab terrorists also abducted, bound, gagged, and stabbed multiple times with a long, serrated butcher knife Ms. Luken’s friend, Ms. Kay Wilson, a female Jewish British—Israeli citizen. The terrorists finally left Kay Wilson for dead, but she miraculously survived and reached help, barefoot, bleeding, and still bound and gagged. Ms. Wilson suffered serious injuries, including broken ribs and lacerations to internal organs.
After the terrorists were arrested by Israeli authorities, terrorist Kifah Ghanimat told the Israeli authorities that he and terrorist Fatafta brought knives to Israel a few days before they attacked the two women hikers, and that Fatafta told him that “they were going to kill every Jewish person that they met.”
The two terrorists were part of a Palestinian-Arab terrorist ring that was also responsible for at least one other murder, two attempted murders, rape, theft, and other violent acts.
In 2012, an Israeli court convicted terrorists Ghanimat and Fatafta of murder and other offenses in connection with the abduction and stabbing of Ms. Wilson and murder of Ms. Luken. The court sentenced terrorist Ghanimat to two lifetime terms of incarceration plus 60 years, and Fatafta to one lifetime term of incarceration plus 20 years.
Unfortunately, one or even two or more life sentences from an Israeli court is insufficient to ensure that these terrorists will remain in prison. Israel has previously released from prison Palestinian-Arab terrorists convicted of brutal murders in exchange for an Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas, or in exchange for dead bodies of kidnapped Israelis, or as a “peace gesture” in a fruitless attempt to start peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority–notwithstanding the fact that the PA incites these sorts of brutal attacks against innocent Jews and Christians. The “international community” has often pressured the Israeli government to release convicted Palestinian-Arab terrorists.
Thus the U.S. Department of Justice’s filing of a complaint and issuance of an arrest warrant on Thursday is an important step to help assure that vicious Palestinian-Arab terrorists Fatafta and Ghanimat will remain in prison for life. ZOA urges the U.S. Department of Justice to also issue an extradition request to Israel, to turn these Palestinian-Arab terrorists over to the U.S., if Israel ever considers releasing them.
Morton A. Klein is president of the ZOA.