The Marzook Ploy

February 7, 1997 - The Jewish Press

The world seems somewhat bewildered at Mousa Mohammed Marzook's reported decision to abandon his fight against Israel's efforts to have him extradited from the United States. But from where we sit, it all makes perfect sense.

Marzook, a leader of Hamas, has been in a federal detention center here in New York since July 1995, when he was arrested upon his return from a trip abroad. He had been a resident of Virginia for approximately 15 years when he was abruptly added to the America "watch list" of suspected terrorists. Following his arrest, Israel sought Marzook's extradition to stand trial for his alleged terrorist activities. Israel has charged that Marzook had a hand in Hamas attacks from 1990 to 1994 which resulted in the deaths of a number of Israelis.

Marzook concedes that he is a leader of Hamas, but maintains that his involvement was only political, and that his principal role was to raise funds for Hamas' educational and health programs for Palestinians. However, United States District Judge Kevin Duffy ordered his extradition, holding that there was probable cause to believe that Marzook knew of Hamas' violent plans and provided funds to carry them out. Marzook has been jailed while his appeal of the ruling proceeded.

Marzook is fooling no one. He has either been told or has figured it out for himself that a secret deal has been or will be struck as part of Olso for the release of Palestinian terrorists now jailed in Israel. Certainly, he has heard of Prime Minister Netanyahu's recent post-Hebron confirmation that Israel will comply with Oslo's call for the release of certain imprisoned female Arab terrorists. Hence, Marzook has every incentive to get himself to Israel as soon as possible.

All this also brings to mind the plight of the hapless

Jonathan Pollard, who languishes in a federal prison for giving aid and comfort to - Israel

. Ironically, if even a small portion of the new reports of American pressure on Israel to conclude the original Olso Accords and the more recent Hebron agreements are true,

American fingerprints on the deal to release Hamas terrorists are unmistakable.

Yet the American Government continues to keep Mr. Pollard imprisoned though his crimes were committed in order to help a friendly state, and he is now a citizen of that state.

We are still hopeful that President Clinton will yet appreciate this anomaly. Indeed, New York's senior United States Senator, Patrick Moynihan, has just announced that he will stand for reelection for a fourth term. As a member of the President's party, perhaps part of his campaign could be freedom for Jonathan Pollard.

Note: Israel has just completely withdrawn the extradition order aginst Marzook.