Neither side is giving in, following praise by Jordan's new justice minister for the murderer of seven Israeli girls and calls for his release from prison.
On Monday, with the Arab world celebrating the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s government in Egypt, Jordan’s new Minister of Justice said that the Jordanian soldier serving a life sentence for killing seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997 was a "hero."
The murderer had defended his septuple murder by saying that the girls mocked him as he prayed.
Hussein Mujalli, who was named minister last week and who represented the murderer in court, said, “I support the demonstrators' demand to free Ahmad Dakamseh. He's a hero. He does not deserve prison.” He also said that Israel is a “hostile state [and] a terrorist state.” Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel, in 1994, released a statement saying that Mujalli’s remarks do not represent its official position.
The Almagor Terror Victims Association sent a letter to the Jordanian Ambassador in Israel, asking him to meet with representatives of the bereaved families. Chairman Meir Indor said that the letter also asked for a meeting with King Abdullah, “expressing the hope that he would show the same noble spirit that his father, King Hussein, showed when he paid condolence calls to the girls’ families in Beit Shemesh.”
The latest to condemn Mujalli was the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), which announced, "Mujalli's cold-hearted comments, in which he glorified a heinous terrorist act carried out by a murderer, were absolutely shocking. Ahmad Dakamseh's senseless act of violence targeted innocent children and cut their lives short in one tragic and horrifying moment.” NCYI President Shlomo Z. Mostofsky called upon the Jordanian government to remove Mujalli from his position in light of his comments.
Arab Lawyer Defends Murderer: "He Was Distressed"
MEMRI (the Washington, D.C.-based Middle East Media Research Institute) has publicized a clip from Lebanon’s Al Jadid/New TV from April ’09, when Dakamseh was hunger-striking. A lawyer is shown calmly explaining that Dakamseh is considered to be a hero, and that he had done “the most basic thing he could have done.”
“We are proud of him as a soldier of this country,” the lawyer said. “What he did was the very least a soldier can do to defend his religion and country.” He lectured that the girls had made a mockery of “Muhammad, Islam, and of Dakamseh himself,” and had acted “in an immoral manner,” and that “all this generated strong provocation, which is legally called extreme emotional distress. When someone under extreme emotional distress kills a person, this serves as grounds for a pardon or a mitigated sentence. We are talking about a state – an entity – occupying Jordanian, Egyptian and Syrian lands, and Palestine in its entirety. On this occupied land, the [girls] did inappropriate things. The most basic thing he could have done, in defense of his country, his honor as a soldier, and his religion, [smiling in emphasis of the obvious nature of his logic] was to open fire as a natural response.”