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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 21, 1997, Vol 5, Number 131

Jordanians Protest Killer's Life Sentence

By Douglas Roberts (VOA-Amman)

University students in Jordan's Capital Amman staged a brief demonstration Sunday to protest the imprisonment of a Jordanian soldier, convicted of killing seven Israeli school girls in march.

The soldier, Corporal Ahmed Daqamseh, was charged with the premeditated murder of the girls, who were shot to death during an outing in Naharayim on the Jordan River. Daqamseh faced the death penalty, but the court handed down a life sentence because he is allegedly mentally unstable.

The court found that the act was not premeditated, and the five-man tribunal believed Daqamseh suffers from what it called an "antisocial personality disorder." The court also convicted Daqamseh of plotting to kill Israelis since 1993, threatening to shoot his fellow soldiers the day of the attack, and disobeying army orders.

As part of the sentence, he was demoted to private and dismissed from the army. Under Jordanian law, a life sentence is equivalent to 25 years in prison at hard labor. The verdict cannot be appealed, but King Hussein has the power to reduce the sentence or cancel it. Daqamseh, who pleaded innocent, claimed he fired at the schoolgirls because they mocked and disturbed him as he prayed. Daqamseh fired nearly three clips of ammunition at the girls from the Bet Shemesh AMIT school, until his gun jammed and he was overpowered by comrades.

David Bar-Illan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's communications director, said the trial was an internal Jordanian affair. But he said that Israel does have complete trust in the integrity and the sense of justice of King Hussein and the Jordanian courts.

King Hussein led a chorus of official condemnation in the wake of the killings. After flying to Israel to offer his personal condolences to the families of the victims, the king publicly chided Jordan's military command, saying Daqamseh should have been shot on the spot.

The prosecution demanded the death sentence at the outset of the two month long trial. But the military tribunal ultimately ruled that the soldier was mentally disturbed, and gave him a life prison sentence instead.

For many Jordanians, even that was too much. Hardline politicians here openly called Daqamseh a hero, and praised him for resisting continued Israeli occupation of Arab territory. Commentator Hani al-Hourani of the New Jordan Research Institute says few Jordanians would condone the killing of innocent children. But at the same time, he adds, many here felt sympathy for Daqamseh and believe the prison sentence was too harsh.

"Our leaders rushed to normalize relations with Israel," says one commentator here, "but the people were not ready."

Cabinet Discusses PA-Sponsored Terrorism

By Arutz Sheva

The Israeli cabinet convened Sunday morning in Jerusalem with the terrorist activity of Arafat's police force topping its agenda. Informed sources say Israel has irrefutable proof that Palestinian Police commander Colonel Ghazi Jabali is responsible for the operations of the uniformed terror cells.

Maariv reports that Arafat himself gave the orders to send Palestinian policemen to murder Israelis after he visited Shechem last week. The PA-sponsored terrorists who were caught on their way to an attack at Har Bracha admitted taking part in last week's shooting at the car of Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the rabbi of Elon Moreh. Levanon and his family were unhurt in the shooting.

In answer to a question regarding the reports that Arafat himself is behind the terrorist actions of Palestinian policemen, David Bar-Illan, director of communications in the prime minister's office, told Arutz Sheva: "It will be difficult to deal seriously with the agreement if it turns out that the acts of terror were committed with the full knowledge of the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.

"It is clear that if we do not receive a satisfactory explanation, it will be very difficult to proceed with important issues. We would like to hope that the worst case scenario here is a failure of governmental authority, rather than terrorist attacks at the express behest of Arafat."

Anti-Semites Find New Ways to Convey Message

Violent outbreaks of anti-Semitism declined in most countries last year but extremists turned to new means, particularly the Internet, to convey their message, a report said. The Anti-Semitism World Report surveyed 60 countries and found that, while some forms of religious hatred decreased, it persisted in cyberspace, through Holocaust denial, in neo-Nazi youth culture and in Islamist anti-Semitism. Yet, because of the volume of information on the web, anti-Semitic material constituted a very small part of the overall content and it was counteracted by anti-racist information.

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