NEW YORK – Convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh vowed to continue “the struggle” for “the right of return, for self-determination and for the establishment of a democratic state on the historic land of Palestine” after she leaves the United States.That departure is expected in the next few months, thanks to a plea bargain she agreed to last week.Odeh, who was imprisoned in Israel for her involvement in 1969 terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, made the comments in Chicago on Sunday at the closing session of the controversial Jewish Voice for Peace weekend summit.
After being released in a prisoner exchange in the 1980s, she moved to the United States. But since 2014, she has faced the country’s justice system for immigration fraud for concealing her arrest, conviction and imprisonment for the 1969 bombings.She agreed to leave the country in exchange for no jail time. Odeh said she did not disclose her past because of post-traumatic stress disorder from being tortured in prison.Speaking in broken English and crying at the podium, she said: “A revolution of anger sweeps over me these days, and my heart screams against injustice. I thought when I came to the US and made it my second home it would be the last station in a journey of struggle that I shared with my Palestinian people in response to the Nakba [catastrophe] and the occupation of 1967.”“I was an infant during the Nakba, but I heard many stories of pain and bitterness from my family who were forced along with 750,000 other Palestinians to leave their homes, lands, lives and memories they had built for generations,” she said. “Now I face a similar Nakba, forced to leave the country and the life that I built for myself over 23 years in the US. But I will continue my struggle for justice for my people wherever I land.”Jewish Voice for Peace vocally supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.The group came under fire in recent weeks after announcing Odeh’s participation, saying it was “proud” and “honored” to be her host.JVP was strongly condemned by American Jewish organizations and by Israeli officials for giving a platform to someone who is unapologetic for her role in killing Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe in the 1969 Jerusalem Supermarket bombing.A memorial service for the two victims was held adjacent to the conference – despite opposition from JVP – by the Israel advocacy group Stand- WithUs. Letters from their families criticizing JVP were read during the event.Odeh received a standing ovation at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, where the summit was held. “Zionists aren’t going to stop... The Palestinians there and the Palestinians and our supporters here have to stop them with our resistance and our organizing,” she told some 1,000 people, vowing to “expose Israel for the criminal apartheid state that it is.”“We have to understand that we are targets but also that we have the support of millions of others around the world who share our vision of historical Palestine liberation from Zionists, where all Palestinian refugees can return to their original homes and where everyone there can live with dignity and equal rights,” Odeh said.
Anti-Israel activists, supporting the boycott or BDS movement, protest in New York, July 24, 2014 (credit: REUTERS)