An underlying premise of the Wye accords that were signed by the US, Israel, the Palestine Authority and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan at the White House on October 23 was that the CIA will play a definitive role to make sure that terrorists are brought to justice. Yet on the very day that the Wye accords were ratified by the Israeli government, Joyce and Stanley Boim, American Israelis in Jerusalem, were more surprised to learn that the Israeli government was asking for the PA to arrest Amjad Hanawi, who had already been convicted in a PA court in February, 1998, of murdering their teenage son, David, back in May, 1996.
Amjad had been arrested after the Boims carried out a campaign both in Israel and the US to get him arrested.
Only after the Boims sued the Israeli government did the Israeli government make the initial August 1997 request for Hanawi’s arrest.
Only after President Clinton made a personal call to Arafat did the PA finally arrest him in February, 1998.
After I learned from PA sources two months ago that the PA had released indeed Hanawi, I asked for comment from the press section of the US consulate. I got none.
After Israeli intelligence finally confirmed that Hanawi had been released, the US consulate press office still would provide no comment. Neither would an Israel-based representative of American intelligence.
The US consul had a different answer for the Boims. For the past two months, the US consul simply told the Boims that the US assumed that Hanawi was in jail. The consul would not tell the Boims as to whether a US government official had been to the jail to ascertain that Hanawi was indeed still in jail.
“We cannot visit foreign jails”, the US consul told the Boims.
Then there are Esther and Yehudah Wachsman, whose son, Nachson, was kidnapped and murdered in 1994, at the order of Muhammad Deif, a Hamas official from Gaza. Esther is an American citizen, as was her late son, Nachshon. Esther appealed to the US government to demand that the American government intervene to demand that Arafat order the arrest of Deif.
When President Bill Clinton came to Israel, in March 1996, he met therefore met Esther and Yehudah at the grave of Nachshon, which lies only a few feet away from the tombstone of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. It was on that occasion that Clinton made a solemn promise to the Wachsmans that the peace process would not continue unless and until Arafat orders the arrest and hand-over of Muhammad Deif.
In July, 1996, Yehudah Wachsman met with Arafat’s Gaza police chief, together with a translator provided by the Palestine Authority. I was witness to the meeting. Yehudah asked Arafat’s police official if Deif would be arrested. However, the Palestinian police official informed him that Arafat had given orders not to apprehend Deif.
A week later, Esther Wachsman flew to Washington, where she met with Clinton’s national security advisor, Anthony Lake, when she informed Lake of what Yehudah had been told.
Lake said that he would personally intervene with Arafat on this matter. He did.
Arafat’s response was to order the arrest and torture of the man who translated the meeting between Arafat’s Gaza police chief and Yehudah Wachsman.
Since that time, Esther Wachsman’s letters to Clinton have gone unheeded.
At the Wye plantation plantation press center, I asked US government spokesman James Rubin if the President of the United States would fulfill the commitment that he gave to an American citizen, Esther Wachsman, to demand from Arafat that he arrest Muhammad Deif and place him on trial for the kidnapping and murder of an American citizen, Nachson Wachsman. Rubin’s answer was that “we cannot deal with issues like that”.
At a time when the CIA is supposed to provide assurances that it will deal with all matters of terror, the question remains: Even In the case of the murder of two US citizens, has the way that the US intelligence community has dealt with the murder cases of David Boim and Nachshon Wachsman represent any indication as to how the US will continue to relate to Israel’s security concerns ?