A Palestinian-American has been murdered—but not the one whom Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has been tweeting about.
Here’s what Rep. Tlaib tweeted on May 11: “[Al Jazeera reporter] Shireen Abu Akleh was murdered by a government that receives unconditional funding by our country with zero accountability.” And: “An American journalist clearly marked with press credentials was murdered. Doing and saying nothing just enables more killings.”
It’s good to know that a United States congressmember cares when an American citizen is killed overseas. But why is it that Rep. Tlaib cares only about someone whose death she can falsely blame on Israel, while showing zero interest in a Palestinian-American who was murdered by the Palestinian Authority?
On September 27, 1995, a few months after my daughter Alisa was murdered by Arab terrorists, a 52 year-old Palestinian-American man named Azzam Muhammad Ibrahim Muslih was arrested by the PA police in the village of Ein Yabrud. Muslih was the owner of a grocery store in Dallas, Texas, and was known to be a generous contributor to community projects in Ein Yabrud, his home town.
As I describe more details of the Muslih case, I am only going to cite pro-Palestinian Arab sources, so that nobody can think that this account is part of some kind of anti-Palestinian vendetta.
Two days after the PA arrested him, Muslih’s dead body was delivered to his family. “Relatives said Mr. Muslih's body bore a bruise on the forehead and wounds on the lips and right ear,” the New York Times reported. There were also cigarette burns on his body, the family said.
“Under heavy pressure from United States officials,” the Times continued, “the Palestinian police force in Jericho said today that it had begun an investigation.” I wonder why it required “heavy pressure” from the U.S. for the PA to even investigate the matter? Considering that the PA was then receiving $500-million annually from the U.S. (today the figure is about $350-million), you would think that it would not have to be pressured into investigating the death of a U.S. citizen.
According to Human Rights Watch, the PA’s attorney general “explained” Muslih’s death this way: “He headed a gang of thieves that is also responsible for the death of people....He was confronted with all the evidence that proved his guilt, and as a result he was shocked [and suffered a heart attack].”
In response to the U.S. pressure and unfavorable media reports, the PA allowed Muslih’s body to be exhumed and autopsied by the Mandela Institute. The examiners found that Muslih “had suffered broken bones in his chest, as well as signs of violence in several places on his body.” Hmm. That doesn’t sound to me like “shock” from being “confronted with evidence.”
The State Department didn’t buy that flimsy explanation, either. It concluded in its annual human rights report for 1995 that Muslih “died in the custody of [PA] intelligence officers in Jericho.”
The PA then announced that it had “arrested” five of its security agents. Two were acquitted. Two were convicted and sentenced to one year in prison. That’s right, one year behind bars for taking part in the torture-murder of an American citizen. The fifth murderer was sentenced to seven years.
How much do you want to bet that he didn’t spend anywhere near seven years in prison? According to a 2001 report by Human Right Watch on the Palestinian Authority justice system, the PA has a “revolving door policy” in which it briefly arrests individuals in response to “pressure from Israel or the international community,” and then quietly releases them when the issue has faded from the headlines.
Muslih’s family filed a lawsuit in the United States against the PA. Because of legal complications related to jurisdiction, the suit eventually went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the family lost on a technicality. They filed a second suit, which they ultimately lost on a different technicality.
So, the Palestinian Authority got away with murder. The murder of an American citizen.
Which brings us back to the hypocritical congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib. She has already proclaimed Israel to be guilty of the “murder” of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, even though no full investigation of her death can be carried out—and it can’t be carried out, because the PA is withholding the bullet and other evidence.
Meanwhile, a murder of a U.S. citizen in which there was an actual investigation and autopsy, and which the State Department concluded was committed by PA intelligence officers, does not interest Rep. Tlaib in the slightest.
The fact that the PA escaped paying restitution to the Muslih family means nothing to Tlaib. The fact that the killers received a slap in the wrist at best (and probably much less than that) is of no concern to Tlaib. She has never said a word about the case, and never will. Because the deaths of Palestinian-Americans are of no concern to her unless she can blame the Jews.
Stephen M. Flatow, is an attorney and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terrorism.”