Parents Forum for Justice

January 19, 2012

The Honorable Eric H. Holder
Attorney General of the United States
Department of Justice
Robert F. Kennedy Building
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

We the undersigned are parents whose children, all citizens of the United States, were severely injured or killed by Palestinian terrorists in the past ten years. In almost every case, some of those responsible for the relevant attacks were captured, tried, convicted and sentenced – in many cases to multiple terms of life imprisonment – by the judicial authorities in Israel. Yet today many of these terrorists are free.

In order to gain the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli serviceman held hostage for more than five years by Hamas, Israel’s government entered into an agreement that resulted in the mass release of hundreds of convicted terrorists, including murderers who have American blood on their hands.

In the months since then, we have had to endure the sight of these unrepentant killers not only walking free but also being embraced as heroes, celebrated and honored by the communities to which they have now returned, and by the US-funded Palestinian Authority. Mr. Abbas recently appointed a released terrorist as a personal advisor; this same person having been implicated in the shooting deaths of three American citizens, including a young couple who left behind six orphans.

As you well know, the assault and murder of American citizens anywhere in the world is a crime under the United States Criminal Code. That said, no terrorists responsible for attacks in or around Israel that killed or maimed Americans has ever been prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

Some representative profiles of the convicted terrorists of whom we are speaking:

Ahlam Tamimi was convicted in Israel and sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment for her part in the Sbarro restaurant massacre that claimed the lives of two US citizens, Malki Roth – a girl of fifteen – and Judith Hayman Greenbaum, a pregnant woman carrying what would have been her first child. Tamimi is now free and living in Jordan, a country which has an extradition agreement with the US. Tamimi has repeatedly expressed how proud she is of the killings, has said she would do the same again if given the opportunity, and calls on others to follow in her steps. She has been publicly honored on several well-documented occasions as a hero. In addition to the two Americans killed, several of those injured were US citizens including: David Danzig, 21, of Teaneck, New Jersey; Matthew P. Gordon, 25, of New York; and Joanne (Chana) Nachenberg(who has been in a vegetative state for the ten years since the 2001 crime).
Yehonathon Bauer, a child and a US citizen, was severely injured on March 21, 2002 in an explosion that caused shrapnel to penetrate his head, damage his brain, impair his vision and seriously injure his American father. The bomb was exploded by a suicidal terrorist brought to central Jerusalem’s busy King George Avenue by two female guides, Sana’a Shehadeh and Qahara Al-Saadi, recruited for that purpose by the Palestinian Authority. Each was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Both were unjustly freed in October 2011. Both reside in the suburbs of Jerusalem that are under PA control.

On July 31, 2002, five American citizens (out of a total of nine dead) were killed in a massive explosion in the Frank Sinatra Cafeteria of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They were Janis Ruth Coulter, 36, of MA; Marla Bennet, 24, of San Diego, CA; David Gritz, 24, of Peru, MA; Benjamin Blutstein, 25, of Susquehanna Township, PA; and Dina Carter, 37, of North Carolina. Walid al-Hadi Anjas was convicted for the role he played in the terror attack and sentenced to 36 life terms. He is free today, after being released in October 2011.

Abigail Leitel, a 14-year-old Baptist schoolgirl born in New Hampshire and living with her American parents in Haifa, was killed on March 5, 2003 when a suicidal terrorist exploded a bomb on a Haifa city bus on which Abigail was riding. Fadi Muhammad Ibrahim al-Jaaba, Maedh Waal Taleb Abu Sharakh, and Majdi Muhammad Ahmed Amr were convicted of plotting the attack and sentenced to multiple life terms in prison (18, 19 and 19 respectively). All walked free in the Shalit exchange.

In September 2003, the crowded Café Hillel in Jerusalem was devastated by a bomb carried there by a Hamas terrorist. Among the seven people killed were Dr. David Applebaum, a noted emergency room medical specialist, and his daughter Nava who was to be married the next day. Both were citizens of the US. Ibrahim Muhammad Yunus Dar Musa who planned the attack was arrested, convicted and sentenced to a 17 year prison term. He was released in the October 2011 Shalit deal.

The location of most of the freed terrorists is known. Their guilt is a matter of record. In some especially galling cases, their admitted culpability has been proudly advertised in media interviews, in newspapers, on the web and on television. As far as we are aware, none of the convicted murderers has claimed in any venue to have been unjustly charged or innocent of the actions that put him/her behind bars. Several have said to the cameras that they plan to murder again and encourage others to do the same.

The Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism (“OJVOT”) was created by an act of Congress in 2005 and named for a 13-year-old Maryland boy, Koby Mandell, who was stoned to death by terrorists in Israel. The Office, manned by Department of Justice personnel, says on its website that its purpose is “to ensure that the investigation and prosecution of terrorist attacks against American citizens overseas remain a high priority within the Department of Justice.”Up to and including today, the total number of Palestinian terrorists indicted, extradited or prosecuted by the Department of Justice is exactly zero.

We call on you and on the Department of Justice to breathe life into those fundamental provisions of United States law. US anti-terror laws were a response to the ruthless murder of Leon Klinghoffer outside of US territory. These laws were enacted to ensure that American citizens abroad had the protections of US criminal law, wherever those Americans may be-including in Israel.

Justice for our children will require that the unjustly freed terrorists who murdered or maimed Americans will be promptly indicted, extradited, prosecuted and punished in the courts of the United States of America. We look forward to hearing of progress in these cases in the immediate future.


Mr. Seth Mandell
Mrs. Sherri Mandell
Mr. Robert W. Singer, NJ State Senator, 30th District
Dr. Alan Joseph Bauer
Mrs. Revital Bauer
Mrs. Debra Applebaum
Mr. Ron Gould
Mrs. Elise Gould
Dr. Richard Blutstein
Dr. Katherine Baker
Dr. Larry Carter
Mrs. Nancy R. Carter
Mr. David Nachenberg
Mrs. Frimet Roth
Mr. Arnold Roth
Mr. Mark I. Sokolow
Mrs. Ginette Thaler
Mr. Aron Trattnor
Mrs. Shelley Trattnor


Barack H. Obama, President of the United States
Hon. John Boehner
Hon. Eric Cantor
Hon. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Hon. Howard L. Berman
Hon. Mike Pence
Hon. Lamar Smith
Hon. John Conyers, Jr.
Hon. Jim Sensenbrenner
Hon. Mark Kirk
Hon. John Kyl
Hon. Patrick J. Leahy
Hon. Chuck Schumer
Hon. Lindsey Graham
Hon. Jim Jordan
Hon. Robert Turner
Hon. Daniel Shapiro
Hon. Mitch Connell
Hon. Darrell Issa
Hon. Jason Chaffetz
Hon. John F. Kerry
Hon. Richard G. Lugar
Hon. Robert Menendez
Hon. Jim DeMint
Hon. Marco Rubio
Hon. Richard Durbin
Hon. Herb Kohl
Hon. Chuck Grassley
Hon. Jeff Sessions
Hon. Tom Coburn
Hon. Joe Walsh
Ms. Heather Cartwright
Hon. Allen West