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From Jifna to Santa Fe

by on October 11, 2020

This is a story about a lack of justice that falls under the category of “on this day”. If it weren’t for being “on t his day” in history, I’m afraid, I would know nothing of this story.

This is a story about Alex Odeh, who was born in Jifna, Palestine, (not far north of Jerusalem and Ramallah) in 1944. For reasons that only tangentially impact the story, Alex immigrated to the U.S. in 1972.

Alex Odeh, picture from Wikipedia

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which made me aware of Alex Odeh, says he joined the ADC in 1982. In 1985 Mr. Odeh was in Santa Fe, California on behalf of the ADC, here’s where “on this day” becomes another part of history.

Arriving to the ADC office on October 11, 1985, “Odeh was assassinated when a pipe bomb exploded as he opened the door” the ADC says. The ADC article remembering Odeh confirms that “the FBI classified the bombing as an act of domestic terrorism and designated the investigation as one of the highest national priority. However, despite solid leads, as well as advancements in technology and forensics that could aid in the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators, no arrest has been made.”

Why Odeh? Why was Odeh assassinated?

The ADC says that “the FBI identified members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL)” as suspects, although no arrests were made in the case. The JDL, in theory, killed Odeh because on the previous day a hijacking of a plane – which the JDL blamed on the Palestinian Liberation Front – involved the death of a Jewish American.

The short answer is that Odeh was killed for advocating for Palestinian rights.

Referring to an article by David Sheen in The Intercept, the ADC says that “two of the prime suspects currently live in settlements in the Occupied Territories in the West Bank. Another suspect is in American prison after being extradited from Israel on mail bombing charges, will likely have his parole end soon and escape justice for the death of Odeh by returning to Israel.

Although the an eye for an eye makes the world blind it’s amazingly disappointing that no one has been prosecuted for the the death of Odeh when the FBI know who the suspects are, and that the reason no one will ever face prosecution is because Odeh was advocating for Palestinian rights.

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