On Tuesday, a 69-year-old Arab female pleaded guilty to having illegally obtained her American citizenship in 2004.
Initially coming to America on an immigrant visa in 1994, Rasmieh Odeh swore an oath of allegiance to the Constitution and the nation’s laws in 2004.
During her immigration process, Odeh did not disclose her 1970 conviction in Israel for terrorist crimes related to a 1969 bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket in which two Israeli Jews were murdered. In an interview with an immigration officer, she denied having any criminal history or affiliation with any terrorist organizations.
Despite being sentenced to life imprisonment, Odeh was released by Israel in a “prisoner exchange” with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1980.
The PFLP was designated as a terrorist organization by the federal government in 1997, and remains on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. Canada has designated the PFLP as a terrorist organization since 2003.
Initially charged in 2013 with immigration fraud, Odeh was convicted in 2015. She was sentenced to eighteen months in prison out of possible maximum of ten years, subsequently winning an appeal for a new trial. Last week, her defense team reached a plea agreement with prosecutors; she will serve no jail time, surrender her U.S. citizenship, and leave the homeland.
Odeh's legal team tweeted a link to a description of its client's legal affairs at the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, decrying a "racist political climate" associated with President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions while heralding "social justice" and Black Lives Matter:
The prosecution team is now under the regime of racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a new superseding indictment re-frames this as a case about “terrorism” rather than immigration.
Under this current, racist political climate, and facing 18 months or more of imprisonment, as well as the possibility of indefinite detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Rasmea has made the difficult decision to accept a plea agreement.
Through a massive, organized defense campaign, Rasmea Odeh—a long-time icon of the Palestine liberation movement—is now a name known in every corner of the movement for social justice in the U.S. From the Movement for Black Lives in Ferguson, Chicago, and beyond, to the call for a global #WomenStrike on International Women’s Day, Rasmea has become synonymous with resilience and resistance. This fight not only brought her story to the U.S. and the world, but also pushed forward the cause of the liberation of Palestine. She exposed Israel for what it is – a racist occupier and colonizer – and put its policy of torture and sexual assault on the permanent record in a U.S. court of law.
Odeh enjoys esteem among segments of the contemporary left; having been a featured speaker of January’s “Women’s March,” an event aligned with communist commemoration of International Women’s Day.”
Editor's note: Rasmieh Odeh's first name is often spelled "Rasmea" across varying news media outlets.