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'They are enemies': Jordanian MP defends 1997 killing of Israeli schoolgirls

A Jordanian Soldier Ahmad Daqamseh, who killed Seven Israeli Schoolgirls, during the trial in army base in Naour 30Km (18miles) west of Amman on Sunday June 15 1997.
AP Photo/Yousef Allan
'They mocked the Jordanian people, they mocked our religion,' said MP of slain Israeli schoolchildren

A Jordanian member of parliament has praised the soldier who shot dead seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997 as a hero because he was retaliating against Israel and the teenage girls were “enemies.”

Dima Tahboub, a spokesperson for the Islamic Action Front, the political wing of Jordan’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, was interviewed on Thursday by British journalist Tim Sebastian, infamous for his aggressive grilling of interviewees.

In March 1997 Ahmad Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier stationed on the border with Israel, opened fire on a group of pupils visiting from a girls school in the central Israeli city of Beit Shemesh, killing seven.

The then King of Jordan, Hussein bin Talal, visited the families of the victims in an expression of remorse unprecedented in the history of fraught Israeli-Jordanian relations.

In the interview aired on Thursday on Deutsche Welle’s ‘Conflict Zone’, Sebastian asked Tahboub, “You’re a mother. And you’re quite happy to have 13 and 14 year old girls, just because they are Israelis, killed? Unprotected children, killed?”

“Because they are enemies, they are enemies,” responded Tahboub, who is the Islamic Action Front’s English spokesperson and previously studied in the United Kingdom.

“They mocked the Jordanian people, they mocked our religion. A lot of 13 and 14 year old Palestinians were killed, why don’t you defend them also?”

Daqamseh was released in March after serving a twenty year prison sentence. Jordanian doctors determined that he was mentally ill, something Tahboub rejected in the interview.

“I saw him and he is not mentally unstable to us, he is not mentally unstable. I’m not a doctor, but a lot of the people still see him as a hero.”

“A lot of the Jordanian people still view Daqamseh as a hero, because he retaliated against the mockery of the Israelis,” she continued.

“Goldstein was considered a hero by the Israelis,” she claimed, referring to American-Israeli Baruch Goldstein, who carried out a terror attack at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron in 1994, killing 29 Muslim worshippers.

The 41 year old, whose husband was killed in a US air strike that hit the Al Jazeera bureau in Baghdad in 2003, also defended the three Arab-Israelis who killed two Druze-Israeli policeman in Jerusalem a week earlier, saying that “it didn’t get us anywhere to negotiate with the Israelis.”

Tahboub also had a key role in Jordan banning Lebanese indie pop band, Mashrouh Leila, from performing a concert in Amman last month, because the lead singer is openly gay.

The MP said she was representing a majority of Jordanians who do not wants gays in the country, and also insisted that “he’s not a gay. I’d like to call a spade a spade, he’s a homosexual to us.”

Sebastian, who conducted a similarly interrogative interview of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak last month, also pressed her on positions taken by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

However Tahboub insisted that she does not speak for the Brotherhood as a whole, although her party is its political branch in Jordan.

In 2003, Jordan’s King Abdullah called the Brotherhood “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and called keeping them marginalized a “major fight.” 

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