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?