People ask why Israelis do not trust the Arabs across the river. Maybe this has something to do with it.

Jordan king urged to pardon killer of Israeli schoolgirls

20 July 2008
AMMAN - King Abdullah II was urged on Sunday to pardon a Jordanian soldier who is serving a life sentence for killing seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997.

"After around 12 years in prison, Ahmad Dakamseh deserves your majesty's special pardon," a group of 70 Islamists, unionists, lawyers, human rights activists and former officials said in a signed letter to the king.

In March 1997, Dakamseh fired an automatic weapon at a group of Israeli schoolgirls as they visited Baqura, a scenic peninsula on the Jordan River near the Israeli border, killing seven and wounded five others as well as a teacher.

The attack came almost three years after Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty, only the second between an Arab country and the Jewish state.

"Following the recent release of Arab prisoners, we hope to see Dakamseh free again," they said, referring to Israel's prisoner swap with Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group last week.

Israel handed over its last five Lebanese prisoners, including convicted murderer Samir Kantar, and the bodies of 199 Lebanese and Palestinian fighters, in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers who were captured in July 2006, sparking a devastating 34-day war in Lebanon.

The signatories Islamic Action Front secretary general Zaki Bani Rsheid, former prime minister and intelligence department director Ahmad Obeidat, Jordan Bar Association head Saleh Armouti, and Hani Dahleh, president of the Arab Human Rights Organisation.

"The current political stage requires a policy that would make people happy and ease their socio-economic and political pressures. Pardoning Dakamseh will have a great effect on people," the letter said.

The motives of Dakamseh, who was 30 at the time and a married father of three, were never clear. The then King Hussein cut short a visit to Europe and rushed home where he condemned the attack and later travelled to Israel to offer his condolences to the families of the slain schoolgirls.

It is interesting that the Arab Human Rights Organization president is a prominent signer... what about the rights of Israelis?

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Hi Donna,
I, too, had a very soft spot for King Hussein and was very saddened by his death. I have often wondered if the conflict would be closer to peace if he was still around.
hi folks, this is a painful discussion. there is 'right' here on both sides, whether you emphasize more the ethics of justice and punishment, satisfaction of victims' need for justice, or, on the other side, the ethics of forgiveness, compassion and the higher priorities of peacemaking, saving lives by letting go of the past. As far as Jordan, Donna is absolutely right, you don't judge a whole country by those who have signed this. But Seth is right that they are indeed prominent citizens. Seth, this is war, and there are many people on both sides who are incapable of feeling the pain of the other. Everyone from one side tends to see their jailed people as victims, no matter what they have done. Don't know what to make of Marwa's easy dismissal of justice after a few years in jail. I dont believe in capital punishment anymore, too dangerous and too flawed, but I am not sure that anyone who has murdered deserves to see the light of day again. I would like them to lead a productive life and a penitent life in jail but not free. But that is in an ideal setting. We are not in an ideal setting. There are endless murderers on both sides who should be in jail. But we cannot survive such absolute justice. We would have to put all the heads of Israel's military in jail for the wanton cluster bombing of the Lebanon war for example. Just this alone is an impossible requirement of absolute justice. Alas, i think justice is an ideal to be approximated, but only when its severe face does not lead to more death and dying. taking it that far seems illogical.
these are difficult things. Glad we are in agreement as peacemakers on strengthening the goodness on both sides to create the consensus for a new relationship. We must create a consciousness in every Jew and Arab of absolute equality. There is no other way to conquer the cycle of pain and revenge. i know king hussein understood that, no matter what else he had to do as head of state in these dirty wars, and that is why i care for his family. if we can build with that commitment to absolute equality then maybe we will not have to figure out someday the justice question of what do with a man who shoots little girls, or a soldier that shoots a man who is bound and gagged at close range.
Hi Seth,

What this story proves is that the Late King Hussein behaved in this case like a very ethical and humane peace partner.

We have no reason to think that the current Jordanian leadership will behave otherwise. Dakamseh has already paid a price for his actions. Sufficient? That depends on many things that I really do not know.

Be well...
The Jordanian justice system will do whatever it does, and we will often find that such decisions aren't to our liking. Many would see the death penalty for being caught with drugs in Malaysia as excessive. Here we have a lobby group, not a government, in action.

I'm far more concerned with some of the Palestinian responses to the recent release of prisoners. Here's the clip (and translation) of discussions with Fatah Representatives in the Palestinian Legislative Council, Jihad Abu Zneid and Najat Abu Bakr, as they celebrate the release of Dalal Al-Maghrabi's remains on PA TV. Dalal died whilst destroying a busload of civilians on Israel's coastal road. Now, Fatah and Mahmud Abbass really are supposed to be peace partners, and are the official "moderate" representatives, as opposed to Hamas. For me, this is the worry in trying to achieve peace. It contrasts with Israel's current investigation of a soldier and a high ranking officer accused of shooting a Palestinian prisoner in the toe with a rubber bullet, something I expect them to receive jail terms for.

coming back from Jordan I wish all of our peace partners will have Jordanian attitude .

I think that Israel, as Arabs needs to pardon a lot of crimes to each other and actually your preference to high-light this minor issues raise the question These are our peace partners?.

A nation that will not recognize forgiveness will stay at constant war, and your post point a figure on Jordan is actually self presentation of the Jewish-Israeli stiffness and closed heart. We Israeli should invest to be a peace partners before we criticizes others.

Neri habibi, where is this beautiful picture from?

Till the Jordan Parliament votes to change the peace agreement between Jordan and Israel I will keep respect this agreement.

You made a judgment against Jordan as a country depend at less than 100 Jordanians request and attitude.

May I do the same towards Israel and judge against Israel as a country if I found less than 100 Israelis hold the same attitudes?

a glass filled to the half of it with water..
someone else says .. half of the glass is empty

with peace


The "These are our peace partners?" goes both ways, what would you answer to this question when this item like this come up

BTW, the shooting solder was released.
As bad as that is (and yes it is a terrible deed) he did not kill seven school children. He shot a man with rubber bullets, rarely fatal. The man should be tried for assault. As for 12 years being enough, that is total crap. A premeditated murder in most civilized countries gets you 20 to life, 7 premeditated murders get you the death penalty. How can Jordanians want this type of person in their midst? And it isn't only 70 Jordanians asking this. It is 70 prominent public figures, including the president of the AHRO.
you know that we had some same story with killing, just check our EGOZ activity and other issues.

Since the conflict continue without forgiveness we will not be able to end it, and this is for Israel Palestine and many others. even if you think the Israeli side is more "just" you can recognize that getting a peace condition is not a just act, its a human responsibility act where a new future come instead our bloody history.
Yes, but it might save the next set of girls he murders. Do you really think he has learned the errors of his actions? Look at Kuntar's own words. He says he is going to go back to his old ways and his people cheer him for it.



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