An overwhelming 110 members of the Jordanian House of Representatives signed a petition demanding a pardon for a Jordanian soldier who shot and killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997.
Ahmad Musa Mustafa Daqamseh shot the girls during a school fieldtrip in Naharayim, near the Israel-Jordan border, and is currently serving a life sentence.
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"Along with the other six families, we intend to fight this," said Shlomo Bedayev, father of Shiri, one of the victims. "I want people to put themselves in my place and ask themselves if they'd be willing to come top terms with the release of a murderer who killed one of their family members."
"I don’t go a second of forgetting what happened," he added. "Every time I see the girls' pictures I cry; I've never shed a tear in my life. He must stay in jail for the rest of his life."
Yedioth Aharnoth front page after the shooting (Photo: Yedioth Ahronoth archives)
Nurit Fatihi, who lost her daughter Sivan, said: "I expected him to rot in jail, but I can't count on the Jordanian court and authorities to promote justice. We turned to governmental sources in the past, but it didn’t really help."
The parents intend to fight together. "We'll meet – all the parents – and see how we fight this," Nurit added. "Just like I will never see my daughter again, he doesn’t deserve to see his family. Every one of the girls would have a family and children by now."
Referring to the proximity of the Memorial Day, Miri Meiri, mother of Yeela noted that "This time of year only makes the pain harder to bear. Maybe they're doing it now on purpose."
"Seven girls were murdered; he should serve seven life sentences. I hope the government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will know what to do with this. It's been 16 years, but the pain just keeps getting worse."
Several days after the 1997 shooting, the late Jordanian King Hussein arrived in Israel for an unprecedented consolatory visit and together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the bereaved families.
Jordanian king visits wounded in hospital (Photo: Yedioth Aharonoth archives)
"Your daughter is like my own. Your pain is mine," the monarch said to one of the families as he knelt in their living room.
He later visited one girl who was wounded in the attack in the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. "I'm very sorry for what happened," the king told her, and gave her a gift – a hamsa.
Following the shooting, the soldier's testimony to his interrogators was released by Yedioth Ahronoth. "I don't know what happened to me," he said.
"I lost control and acted." The shooter, who claimed his actions were not prompted by anyone but himself, was sentenced to life in prison.
Hussein Mjali, Jordan's former justice minister, previously referred to the imprisoned soldier as a "hero," and added that "if a Jew killed Arabs they would have built a monument in his honor."
Chairman of the Almagor Terror Victims Association Meir Indor stressed that "The Israeli government and the Knesset must exhibit determination regarding his pardoning, and must do so before Memorial Day as a moral obligation.
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