TEL AVIV – Israelis are “human waste” that must be eliminated, an ex-Jordanian soldier who shot and killed seven Israeli schoolgirls said hours after his release on Sunday from a two-decade prison sentence.
“The Israelis are the human waste of people, that the rest of the world has vomited up at our feet,” Ahmed Daqamseh told al-Jazeera TV. “We must eliminate them by fire or by burial. If this is not done by our hands, the task will fall on the future generations to do.”
Daqamseh, who later returned to his home village of Ibdir and was met with a hero’s welcome, urged fellow Jordanians not to be duped by any promises of peace that would allow the Jewish state to exist.
“Do not believe the lie that is normalization with the Zionist entity. Do not believe the lie that is the two-state solution. Palestine is one land from the river to the sea, there is no state called ‘Israel,'” he said.
Daqamseh later told Jordan’s Al-Rad newspaper that he was not planning any future attacks.
“My position regarding Zionists is known. I did what I did 20 years ago and that’s it,” he said.
Daqamseh murdered the girls and wounded five more, including a teacher, in a 1997 shooting spree while they were on a school trip to the “Island of Peace” near the Jordan-Israel border. The attack happened three years after Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel.
A Jordanian military court later deemed Daqamseh mentally unstable and sentenced him to life in prison – which is typically 25 years in Jordan – rather than the death penalty.
Then-ruler King Hussein condemned the attack and paid a condolence visit to the families of the schoolgirls.
Jordanian politicians have in the past lobbied for Daqamseh’s early release.
In 2011, Israel summoned the Jordanian ambassador after it emerged that Jordan’s newly appointed Justice Minister and Daqamseh’s lawyer Hussein Mujalli, said the terrorist was a “hero” who did not deserve prison.
Daqamseh was released early on Sunday morning from the Bab al-Hawa prison some 60 miles north of the capital Amman. According to his brother, the family home was packed with relatives, friends and neighbors.
“He is in good health, wearing a black suit among his relatives and close family including his 78-year-old mother,” his brother Bassem said.
Videos on social media showed the terrorist posing for selfies with well-wishers and cars honking in celebration.
Hezi Cohen, who lost his daughter Nirit in the attack, said: “This morning takes us back 20 years, to that horrible day.”
“I’d like to tell the [Israeli] prime minister and defense minister: Our children’s blood should not be worthless. You should have acted vis-à-vis Jordan to prevent this release at any cost,” he added.
Orit Cohen, whose sister Keren was killed, said: “Who says that tomorrow he [Daqamseh] won’t carry out another attack and murder more Israelis?”
Israel Fatihi, whose daughter Sivan was killed in the attack, said Daqamseh “was called a hero in the Jordanian parliament at the time of the murder. If that’s what they said in parliament, what can we expect from the family?”
Israel’s “peace with Jordan is between us [Israelis] and the royal family — not the people or the parliament,” he said.
He recounted the visit by King Hussein while the family were mourning Sivan’s death. “We told him we really appreciated his visit,” Fatihi said.
Nurit, Fatahi’s wife and Sivan’s mother, said their daughter was a “very happy” child who “took everything easily.” She added that she misses “her laughter, her smile, her joy of life.”
“Despite the murder we are for peace,” she said.
Keren Ofri Mizrachi, who was shot in the attack but survived, said the killer’s release from prison had flooded her with difficult memories. Both she and her twin sister were shot at close range.
“I saw the look of murder in his eyes,” she told Channel 10.
“I have chosen to live. I won’t allow anybody or anything in the world break me. I am strong, I am a proud Jew. I have a family and children, they are my strength,” Mizrachi added.