Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh with Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh with Sheikh Yusuf al-QaradawiREUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

It is reported that the US is pressuring Qatar to expel the Hamas leadership residing there, because they have not agreed to release the hostages.

However, why just call for Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and cohorts to be expelled; why not indict them under US law and demand they be extradited to the US to face justice?

It must be remembered that in December of 2004, Congress passed the Koby Mandell Act, which was signed into law, by President George W. Bush. The law was named after Israeli-American citizen Koby Mandell, who was brutally murdered by a Palestinian Arab terrorist, on May 8, 2001. Congress found that, in the period since 1968 and through the passage of the law, numerous American citizens have been murdered or maimed by terrorists around the world, including more than 100 in Palestinian terrorist attacks occurring in Israel or in territories administered by Israel or by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The law also noted that the US Government had not devoted adequate efforts or resources to the apprehension of terrorists who have harmed American citizens overseas, particularly in cases involving terrorists operating from the PA administered areas. Congress found the situation was especially grave in the areas administered by the PA, because many terrorists involved in the murders of Americans were walking free there and some were even given positions in the PA security forces or other official PA agencies. The law noted there were also a number of schools, streets, and other public sites have been named in honor of terrorists who were involved in the murders of Americans.

The operative provisions of the Act (Section 3) included setting up a special office within the Justice Department tasked with prosecuting terrorists who have harmed Americans overseas.

On February 2, 2016, then Congressman (now Governor) Ron DeSantis, as Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held a Hearing on the matter of “Seeking Justice For Victims Of Palestinian Terrorism In Israel”. In his opening statement, he said:

""Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, more than 64 Americans, including two unborn children, have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists in Israel and the disputed territories. Some of them were tourists, some were students, some were living and working in Israel. Many were Jewish, but some were not. The stories of these American victims are heart wrenching."

In 1996, Matthew Eisenfeld was a young graduate of Yale University who was studying abroad in Israel. He and his girlfriend, Sara Duker from New Jersey, had the misfortune to ride the number 18 bus that was blown up by Palestinian terrorists. Matthew's mother, Vicki, later bemoaned the quote, "lack of justice. It makes me feel like my son's blood is less American,'' unquote.

In 2002, Americans Dina Carter, Benjamin Blutstein, Marla Bennett, Janis Coulter, and David Gritz were studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. They were eating in the school cafeteria when Palestinian terrorists detonated a bomb inside the cafeteria, killing them all.

Malki Roth was a beautiful and talented 15-year-old girl, who was eating at the Sbarro Pizza Restaurant on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem on August 9th, 2001, when a Palestinian Arab suicide bomber blew himself up. He took 15 civilians with him, including Malki and another American, Judith Greenbaum, who was pregnant at the time. The person responsible for planning and executing this dastardly attack, Ahlam Tamimi, has boasted about this many times on video, yet, she resides in Jordan and hosts a television show for Hamas…

In 2001, Koby Mandell was a 13-year-old American boy who went on a hike with an Israeli friend, Yosef Ishran. They didn't come home, and their parents were worried. Their bodies were later found in a cave. They were so brutally bludgeoned that dental records were needed to positively identify the bodies. More than 10 years ago, the memories of American victims of terrorism, such as Koby and others, provide an inspiration for a bill bearing Koby's name, which became the legislative source for the opening of the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism within the Department of Justice.

The American people overwhelmingly believe that terrorists who kill Americans abroad must face justice. To this end, the office was designed with a purpose of ensuring, quote, ``that the investigation and prosecution of terrorist deaths of American citizens overseas are a high priority within the Department of Justice…

Yet, DOJ has not been able to cite one example for this committee of even a single terrorist that has been prosecuted in the United States for any of the 64 attacks against Americans in Israel. Indeed, many of these terrorists roam free as a result of prisoner exchanges or evasions. This is not what Congress intended. This is not what the American people want. And this does not provide the justice to the victims' families that has been so tragically elusive…

Chairman DeSantis questioned a representative of DOJ at the hearing. In sum and substance, it was confirmed that although, since 1993 through the date of the hearing, at least 64 Americans had been killed and 91 wounded by terrorists in Israel and in the disputed territories, none of the terrorists were indicted, extradited, or prosecuted during this time period.

It’s now been years since the Hearing, yet sadly and indeed stunningly, the answer is there are still no actual prosecutions against Palestinian Arab terrorists killing or wounding Americans in Israel or Judea and Samaria. Even the passage of the Taylor Force Law, did not change the seemingly endemic culture at the State Department and DOJ passively to accept the existence of terrorism and not to root it out and bring the perpetrators to justice. Thus even such rudimentary steps as reducing the funding of the PA and Hamas, as required under the Taylor Force Act to cause the despicable pay to slay program to be ended, have been evaded.

Shockingly, even as American citizens and others continue to be murdered, kidnapped, raped and maimed by Hamas terrorists, as occurred on October 7, 2023, even those directly involved in the atrocities continue to be rewarded under the provisions of the PA’s repugnant pay-to-slay program.

Until now the poster child for this US governmental nonfeasance might have been Tamimi. She’s unrepentant and even brags about her heinous crimes. She is also on the FBI’s most wanted lists; but, nevertheless, she has yet to face American justice.

Unfortunately however, now we also have evil Hamas, including Haniyeh and his cohorts, who continue to walk free in Qatar and enjoy their billions in ill-gotten gains derived, in no small measure, from US and other aid sources.

It should be noted that besides clear violations of explicit US laws, including against murder and kidnapping, the taking of hostages is also prohibited by the International Convention against the taking of hostages, dated December 17, 1979. Similarly, financing of terrorism is prohibited under the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, dated December 15, 1997.

In addition, there is the Treaty the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, dated January 12, 1998, which criminalizes the use of an explosive or incendiary weapon or device that has the capability to cause death, serious bodily injury or substantial material damage as was done by Hamas on October 7th. In this regard, it is important to note that the criminal offender is not only the person on the point who directly commits the offence; it also includes those who organize or direct others to commit the offence covered under the Treaty or in any other way contribute to the commission of one or more offences by way of persons acting with a common purpose.

It’s time to extradite Haniyeh and his cohorts and require them to face justice. Allowing them to escape is not only immoral it is tantamount to condonation. We should not delay in bringing these evil criminals to justice.

Young Americans would also benefit from witnessing a real trial that brings to light and confirms beyond a reasonable doubt the evil deeds perpetrated by villainous Hamas. It seems so long ago in 1961, when the trial of arch-villain Adolf Eichmann occurred. I still remember how the adults around me discussed it day by day and recounted the shocking testimony. The naked and awful truth of the Holocaust was laid bare. It shook up a post war generation unschooled in the lessons of the Holocaust and the absolute evil of the Nazis.

A public trial of the evil that is Hamas and its leadership might have the same salutary effect of educating a post 9/11 generation and piercing through the arrogant subversion of truth and the moral inversion that seems to have taken hold among some who are indoctrinated in the propaganda propagated by Hamas and its cohorts.

Bring Haniyeh and his cohorts to justice. Now.

Leonard Grunstein, retired attorney and banker, founded and served as Chairman of Metropolitan National Bank and then Israel Discount Bank of NY. He founded Project Ezrah and serves on the Board of Bernard Revel at Yeshiva Univ. and the AIPAC National Council. He has published articles in the Banking Law Journal, Real Estate Finance Journal and more