The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they do grind, and convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmieh Yousef Odeh learned that the hard way on November 10 when a Detroit jury found her guilty of committing immigration fraud. She faces up to 10 years in a federal penitentiary and deportation following her incarceration.
The story began on Friday, February 21, 1969 when two unsuspecting Israeli university students, Leon Kaner, 21, and Edward Jaffe, 22, stopped at a Jerusalem supermarket to pick up some last minute provisions for a hike the two were planning to take. They never made it and were blown to bits by a bomb placed in coffee cans on a shelf. Nine others were injured in the blast. Jaffe and Kaner, as well as the nine injured civilians, were targeted for no other reason other than the fact that they were Jews with the temerity to live in their ancestral land.
A second bomb, timed to go off just as first responders arrived, was diffused by security forces. A third bomb placed near the British consulate office in Jerusalem was also discovered and destroyed in a controlled detonation, though another bomb placed near the same vicinity some days later did manage to cause structural damage.
The terrorists had chosen Friday to carry out their act of depravity because they knew the supermarket would be packed with civilians shopping for the upcoming Sabbath. It was their intent to cause a bloodbath and inflict maximum civilian casualties. In a testament to Israeli resiliency, the supermarket, belonging to the “Supersol” supermarket chain, opened for business just two days later.
On March 1, 1969, Odeh, her sister and three others were arrested for the bombings. All were members of the notorious Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist group designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
Odeh was convicted of all charges and spent the next 10 years in an Israeli prison. She was released in 1979 as part of a prisoner exchange with the PFLP and spent the next four years living in Lebanon. Following that, she moved to Jordan and then made her way to the United States where her father lived.
In 1995, Odeh, who, according published reports has as many as 9 aliases, filled out an application for an immigrant visa and alien registration and falsely checked off “no” when asked if she was ever convicted of a crime. She also falsely stated that she resided exclusively in Amman Jordan since 1948 when, in fact, she spent at least 10 years in Israel and another four in Lebanon.
In 2004, she applied for US citizenship and filled out an Application for Naturalization where she again lied about her prior arrest, conviction and incarceration. She also checked off “no” when asked if she ever belonged to a terrorist organization. Her application was approved and she was sworn in as a United States citizen in December 2004.
In 2013, Odeh secured employment as an Obamacare navigator in Illinois, a job that required her to assist people with healthcare options, but her employment was revoked once federal authorities commenced proceedings against her. In October 2013, she was indicted on charges relating to immigration fraud, to wit, lying on her 1995 and 2004 applications.
The high-profile case took a number of odd twists and turns. A plea deal that would have involved just six months of incarceration and would have permitted Odeh to remain in the United States for another six months following her release was rejected by the defendant. Then, the initial presiding magistrate, Judge Paul Borman, recused himself from the case because some of his family members owned shares in Supersol and Borman wished to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
Despite the hitches, trial was set for November 4, 2014. Odeh took the stand and claimed that when she filled out the applications she thought the questions referencing arrests, convictions and incarcerations referred to criminal acts on U.S. soil. Her testimony however, was soundly refuted by documentary and testimonial evidence. She also acknowledged somewhat paradoxically that while her answers were erroneous, they were not lies.
Of course, Odeh was not without her supporters. The usual assortment of Islamists and radical leftists who always manage to find common ground when it comes to killing Jews rallied to her defense. They hooted and hollered, claiming that Odeh was a model citizen who was the victim of a US-Israeli conspiracy. Odeh’s cult-like devotees and terrorist apologists risibly noted that “the immigration charge was nothing but a pretext to attack this icon of the Palestine liberation movement.”
The jury, however, saw it otherwise and cut through Odeh’s pernicious lies and the shenanigans of her supporters and found her guilty of committing immigration fraud. Odeh served a paltry 10 years for participating in a heinous crime that resulted in the murder of two young university students and the maiming nine other civilians. While another 10 years won’t bring back the victims, it does send a powerful deterrent message to terrorists seeking entry into the United States. As William Hayes, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, aptly noted, “The United States will never be a safe haven for individuals seeking to distance themselves from their pasts.” In this case, Odeh’s murderous, terrorist past finally caught up with her.
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