Fourteen years ago, a school in Beit Shemesh took their students to the Island of Peace – Naharayim, on a school trip. Fourteen years ago, a Jordanian soldier saw the students, and opened fire, killing 7 young girls. I remember that day so well, and the days that followed. I watched the news and kept asking my husband to explain something that could not be explained.
How, I kept asking him…how does a parent send a child to school in the morning and bury her that night? That thought, that image, haunted me for years. What helped, a bit, was the amazing action of the Jordanian king. King Hussein did the unthinkable – he came to Israel. He insisted. He was deeply ashamed and angered by what his soldier had done and so he came to Israel, to Beit Shemesh, to the homes of the parents of these young girls and made a condolence call.
There he was, in Israel – and all our hearts thanked him. He eased so much of the pain. Not of the loss, but of the hatred that must have been in that horrible man. He promised Israel justice and he delivered. Ahmad Moussa Dakamsa would be brought to justice, King Hussein promised us, and he would serve for his crime. “Your loss is my loss,” he told the families. Two years after the terrorist attack, one of the mothers gave birth to a baby girl and named her Jordan, as a testament to how touched she was by King Hussein’s visit.
For fourteen years, Dakamsa sat in jail. It is nothing, 14 years, compared to the lives he stole, the families he left devastated. But it is all that man can deliver. The Ultimate Judge still awaits Dakamsa, but in this world too, he was to have served a punishment.
And now, now the Justice Minister of Jordan (and isn’t that an absurd title to give such a man?) has said that Dakamsa is a hero and should be released. The Israeli government has expressed shock and outrage. The Israeli government has demanded an explanation.
I am trying to convince myself that it doesn’t matter. That sitting in jail wasn’t sufficient a punishment anyway and that Dakamsa’s true punishment will be so much more eternal, so much worse. And I am left with one thought – all that King Hussein did will be undone – if his son, King Abdullah does not handle this correctly.
If he is half the man his father was, he will condemn the Justice Minister, dismiss him, fire him, shame him. He will announce that Dakamsa will not serve one day less than his full term and will be remembered for the shame he brought Jordan.
If Dakamsa is a hero to the Jordanian people, the Jordanian people should be deeply ashamed. More, King Hussein of Jordan came to Israel to say that he was ashamed. This shame has been multiplied beyond all measure by the absurd and shocking words of a man who is clearly as filled with hatred as the original killer.
No, Justice Minister Hussein Mjali, Dakamsa should not be freed and no, he is not a hero. He is a murderer, worse, a terrorist who killed innocent little girls. If this is a hero of today’s Jordan, King Hussein must be turning in his grave.