A Palestinian terrorist who was convicted of killing two university students in a Jerusalem bombing accepted a plea deal that will force her to leave the United States, her legal representatives announced Thursday.
Rasmea Odeh, who was also found guilty in 2014 of lying on her U.S. immigration form, will avoid jail time and instead be deported to Jordan.
Odeh was first tried in Israel for bombing a Jerusalem supermarket on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1969, killing university students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner and injuring nine other people. She was sentenced to life in prison over that attack, as well as a bombing of the British Consulate. Exhibits presented at her trial included physical evidence such as bomb-making material that was found in her bedroom by Israeli police. Guy Wintelir, an observer from the International Red Cross who attended the trial, described it as being “fair.”
Odeh was released in a prisoner exchange between Israel and the PFLP in 1980, then immigrated to the U.S. in 1995 and applied for citizenship in 2004. She did not mention her conviction and imprisonment in Israel on her immigration forms.
Odeh was convicted of immigration fraud in 2014—though a federal judge ordered in December that she should receive a new trial. Odeh was set to argue that the confession of guilt that was used to convict her in Israel was coerced through torture, a claim disputed by Israeli authorities. The plea deal means that there will be no trial and she will be deported to Jordan.
Recently, Odeh sought to position herself as an activist for gender equality and was one of the organizers earlier this month of the International Women’s Strike, which adopted a platform calling for the “decolonization of Palestine.” She was scheduled to speak at the national convention of the group Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports the controversial Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel, later next week. It is unclear whether her acceptance of a plea deal will affect her scheduled appearance.
Although Odeh maintains that she was convicted in Israel on the basis of a confession obtained through torture, Cornell University professor William Jacobson, proprietor of the Legal Insurrection blog, compiled voluminous evidence in 2014 demonstrating Odeh’s association with the PFLP, responsibility for the bombing, and inconsistencies in her narrative—including her claim that she gave a false confession after 25 days of torture, when according to Israeli records she confessed a day after she was arrested.
In a 2014 post-trial filing opposing Odeh’s release pending sentencing over her immigration fraud conviction, the U.S. prosecution noted that her “claim that she was not involved in the bombing is demonstrably false.”
In [the 2004 documentary] Women in Struggle, Aisha Odeh, who was charged with defendant in Israel, admitted that she placed the bomb at the Supersol. In addition, she stated that her role was implementing rather than planning, and she thus was less involved than others. Aisha Odeh stated that Rasmieh Odeh and Rashidah Obedieh had gone and studied the location in advance. … That version of events is precisely what Defendant Rasmieh Odeh admitted in her statement to Israeli authorities.Interestingly, Aisha Odeh’s recent admissions of the truth are in contrast to what she stated in Israel. In the trial within a trial, she made the same false claims of non-involvement and torture as did Defendant Rasmieh Odeh. For instance, Aisha Odeh testified that she had nothing to do with the bombings, and that she only knew a person named Rashidah from jail. Her statement in Women in Struggle now shows the falsity of that earlier testimony, which was coordinated with Defendant Rasmieh Odeh’s.
The prosecution added that Rasmea “has given interviews throughout the years to various other publications in which she admitted her role” in participating in terrorist attacks on behalf of the PFLP, and noted other demonstrably false claims Rasmea has made. This included her “testimony at the instant trial, in which she claimed one of the two sisters who was arrested with her in Israel died in custody,” when in reality one of her sisters was let go after 18 days in custody, while her other sister was released after a year and a half.
Most recently, Rasmea was implicated by her co-conspirator Aisha Odeh in a 2013 interview on Palestinian Authority TV, in which Aisha admitted to participating in the Jerusalem supermarket attack and named Rasmea as one of her accomplices.
[Photo: Hamas on Campus / YouTube ]