A Palestinian terrorist who participated in two bombings in Israel in 1969 pleaded guilty to lying on her immigration form to the United States on Tuesday.
Odeh was convicted by an Israeli court in 1970 of 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.
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 membership in a terrorist organization on her citizenship application form and in an interview with an immigration officer.
“Had Odeh revealed the truth about her criminal history, as she was required to by law,” the Department of Justice said in a statement, “she never would have been granted an immigrant visa, admitted to the United States, allowed to live here for the last 22 years, or granted United States citizenship.”
“The United States will never be a safe haven for individuals seeking to distance themselves from their pasts,” said Steve Francis, Homeland Security Investigations’ special agent in charge for Detroit, who was quoted in the statement. “When individuals lie on immigration documents, the system is severely undermined, and the security of our nation is put at risk.”
The Justice Department said that Odeh will be deported to Jordan following an August 17 sentencing hearing.
Odeh has recently sought to position herself as an activist for gender equality and was one of the organizers of the International Women’s Strike in March, which adopted a platform calling for the “decolonization of Palestine.”
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. Guy Wintelir, an observer from the International Red Cross who attended Odeh’s trial, described it as being “fair.”
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.”
[Photo: Hamas on Campus / YouTube ]