By DAVID?BEDEIN

The Bulletin

When U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, heard the story in 2002 of Palestinian terrorist Nasser Abu Hamid, PLO Marwan Barghouti’s right-hand man, he was stunned.

In December 2002, Abu Hamid, a high-ranking arch-terrorist for whom murdering Israelis was his life’s mission, was sentenced by an Israeli court to seven life sentences and another 50 years imprisonment.

This was the second time he had been sentenced to such a heavy punishment. Abu Hamid, commander of the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, was sentenced in the early 1990s to nine life sentences for hair-raising and contemptible acts, but was released three years later in a gesture by the Israeli government to the Palestinian Authority, which was known at the time as a “confidence building measure.”

Shocked by the Israeli pardons to terrorists, the Republican senator from Pennsylvania submitted an unusual request to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft: To demand that Israel immediately extradite Hassan Salame, the No. 2 man in the Iz a Din al-Kassam Brigades, Hamas’ executive wing.

Salame was sentenced in 1996 to 50 life sentences for his responsibility for the massacre of several dozen Israelis, including three U.S. citizens. In this case too, some of the terror attacks planned and executed by Salame were unprecedented in their cruelty and results, and shocked U.S. public opinion.

In stating his reasons for the request, Specter wrote the following: “There is no reason in the world for this murderer not to be extradited to the US, in order to be punished for an offense that bears the death penalty. In other words, Specter was saying to Israel: What you do with your justice system is your own problem, but America cannot afford to be a partner to this. We have principles of our own.”

Yesterday, after it was reported that Hassan Salame’s name features on the list of 1,300 Palestinian prisoners designated for release, the Bulletin sent a letter to Sen. Specter to inquire as to whether that he will once again demand that Salame be extradited to the U.S., where he will not be released before he finishes serving the sentence for his heinous crimes.

David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2007

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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