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>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
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
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
"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
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