The Bus on Jaffa Road A Story of Middle East Terrorism and the Search for Justice

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-10-07
  • Publisher: Lyons Press
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As the morning sunlight crept over the limestone walls of Jerusalem’s old city, two young Americans flagged down a bus and got on. It was 6:45 a.m., February 25, 1996 -- an otherwise ordinary Sunday in Israel. Sara Duker and Matthew Eisenfeld settled into their seats as the door closed on Jerusalem’s Number 18 bus which would take them across the spine of this ancient city of hills. On this day, they had risen earlier than normal in the hope of spending the day touring an archeological site. After a few more stops, their bus turned on Jerusalem’s Jaffa Road and rolled up a slight hill and stopped again. A young man carrying an Israeli army backpack got on. No one paid much attention to him, witnesses said later. Young men with army backpacks are a common sight in Jerusalem, especially early on Sundays, as soldiers, who had gone home for the weekend, returned to their military bases. But this man was not an Israeli soldier. As the bus door closed, he reached into his knapsack and pulled a cord – and set off a huge bomb. Sara and Matthew died instantly. So did 21 others, including the bomber. Their grieving families set out to get answers and justice. Eventually, they discovered that Iran had financed the bombing that killed their children as well as others that preceded it. The families eventually filed a lawsuit in U.S. courts against Iran, asking for money from Iranian assets that had been frozen in the U.S. since the late 1970s. They won a judgment of $327 million against the Iranian assets. However, the U.S. government blocked their efforts to collect damages.

Author Biography

Mike Kelly, a journalist for more than three decades, is the author of two critically acclaimed books as well as numerous prize-winning projects and columns for The Record, a daily newspaper in northern New Jersey. His assignments have taken him to Africa, Northern Ireland, Malaysia, Israel and Iraq, as well as numerous news events in America including coverage of the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the Boston Marathon bombings.  After covering the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath, he embarked on a series of in-depth projects about the impact of terrorism on American life.  His work has been highlighted by the CBS Evening News, National Public Radio, MNBC and by Bill Moyers on PBS.   He is married and is the father of two daughters. He lives in Teaneck, N.J. 

Table of Contents

Prologue:  Author meets with the bombmaker, Hassan Salameh, 10 years after and his admission that he built the bomb and basically has no regrets


Part I:   The bombing and its immediate aftermath


Part II:   The battle in Congress and the courts by parents to hold Iran accountable, with the Clinton White House first supporting the parents in their court efforts and later opposing those efforts.


Part III:   The battle -- and eventual -- compromise with the Clintons that allowed the families to collect some money.   


Epilogue:  The bittersweet victory, with the families thinking that the were getting money from Iran but discovering that the money came from a US govt account, and also knowing that some victims of terror got paid and others did not. With regrets by the judge and others.  

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