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Thursday, October 23, 2003

Palestinian Woman Sentenced to 320 years for Bombing

AP/JERUSALEM - An Israeli military court on Thursday sentenced a Palestinian woman to 320 years in prison for her role in a suicide bombing at a Jerusalem pizzeria that killed 15 people, two of them Americans.

According to a transcript of the trial, Jordanian-born Ahlam Tamimi, 23, was the first woman to be recruited by the Izzadine el-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the violent Islamic Hamas movement.

The prosecution said that she helped plan the Aug. 9, 2001 bombing of the packed Sbarro restaurant and escorted the suicide bomber to the site, where he set off a powerful charge in the guitar case he was carrying. Among the dead in what the court judgment called "a satanic act" were toddlers, teenagers and elderly.

Hamas has claimed responsibility for most of the 104 suicide bombings against Israelis during the current three-year comment, killing more than 400 people.

The court said that Tamimi, who joined Hamas while a media student at a West Bank university, had a month previously planted a bomb in a downtown Jerusalem supermarket. That blast caused extensive damage, but no injuries.

She was sentenced to one 20-year term for each of the Sbarro victims and one more for her other activities.

The victims of the Sbarro Pizzeria bombing:

- Giora Balash, 60, of Brazil
- Zvika Golombek, 26, of Carmiel
- Shoshana Yehudit Greenbaum, 31, of the U.S.
- Tehila Maoz, 18, of Jerusalem
- Frieda Mendelsohn, 62, of Jerusalem
- Michal Raziel, 16, of Jerusalem
- Malka Roth, 15, of Jerusalem
- Mordechai Schijveschuurder, 43, of Neria
- Tzira Schijveschuurder, 41, of Neria
- Ra'aya Schijveschuurder, 14, of Neria
- Avraham Yitzhak Schijveschuurder, 4, of Neria
- Hemda Schijveschuurder, 2, of Neria
- Lily Shimashvili, 33, of Jerusalem
- Tamara Shimashvili, 8, of Jerusalem
- Yocheved Shoshan, 10, of Jerusalem

PM Sharon visits 8-year-old Haya Shijveschuurder, wounded in the Sbarro bombing,
in which five members of her family were killed, including both her parents.

UPDATE: Haya's grandmother, Tzira's mother, survived the concentration camps in Ravensbruck and Bergen-Belsen, her grandfather, Theresienstadt. See this AP article, offensively titled "WWII Survivor Lost 5 in Blast".

Haya's brother, a lovely young man, was in Boulder for Israeli Independence Day. It must have been in 2002. I'll never forget it. He spoke to the crowd about losing, in one moment, both his parents and three siblings. Another two sisters, including Haya, had been burned by the explosives and cut by the screws and nails packed inside the bomb, but survived. What I'll never forget is that day, in front of this boy, a rabbi said kaddish. For everyone. Including the Palestinians. Including the bomber. It made me sick, and the memory still haunts me. You say kaddish for dead Jews. You don't say kaddish for Arab Muslim suicide bombers. It wasn't right.

There is or was a fund for the Schijveschuurder orphans, but the link is broken. I'm trying to find out about it; stay tuned.