US Senator Calls for Renewed Investigation of Murder of Palestinian Activist Alex Odeh

Alex Odeh and family (image from ADC)

In a report filed Saturday in Liberation magazine by Reem Zubaidi, the author explains that new information has come to light about the assassination of Alex Odeh, a Palestinian-American human rights activist killed in 1985 by a pipe bomb planted in his office.

Odeh’s murder was never solved – and he was one of a number of Palestinian and Arab activists targeted in the 1980s by anti-Arab terrorist groups operating in the United States.

Zubaidi writes: New information has come to light through a recent Los Angeles Times interview with a former Santa Ana police officer. The revelations prompted U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to call upon the FBI to “intensify its efforts to investigate the murder of Mr. Odeh and bring his killers to justice.”

On Oct. 11, 1985, Alex Odeh, 41, was killed in a premeditated attack upon opening the door to his Santa Ana office. Odeh’s office was broken into and the pipe bomb that killed him was planted the night before.

Odeh was a Palestinian activist and the west-coast regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, an organization that protects the civil rights of Arabs and Arab-Americans in the U.S. He was also a poet and father of three young daughters at the time of his murder 36 years ago. As of yet, no one has been charged for the murder despite strong evidence against suspects who fled to Israel following the attack.

The Arab-America Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said they welcome renewed interest in Odeh’s case, but want to put it in context. “While, understandably, we have focused on bringing Alex’s killers to justice, we also want to ensure that this attack is not viewed as an isolated incident. This was a deliberate attempt to silence an Arab-American civil rights icon and organization,” said Samer Khalaf, ADC National President, adding that ADC offices were also targeted in Boston and Washington, DC.

The attack occurred during a wave of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hysteria whipped up here by the media in response to international incidents where American lives were lost. Odeh was killed just hours after he appeared on two TV news shows defending the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), explaining that that the PLO had no role in the hijacking of the Achille Lauro ship.

The FBI classified the bombing as a terrorist attack. The assassination was condemned by President Ronald Reagan and even by Zionist organizations like the American Committee on Israel and the Anti-Defamation League. Two weeks after Odeh’s death, the FBI attributed the assassination — along with two other bombings —to the Jewish Defense League, a terrorist organization founded by fascist American-Israeli politician Martin Kahane. The national chair of the JDL, Irv Rubin,  made a public statement after the bombing saying: “I have no tears for Mr. Odeh. He got exactly what he deserved.”

In response to the FBI’s statement linking the JDL to the attack, Rubin denied involvement. After facing backlash, the FBI went back on their original stance, saying instead that further investigation was needed before any final attribution was made, although the JDL was “probably” responsible for the attacks.

36 years later Justice Department still dragging its feet

For decades, the Justice Department has dragged its feet on bringing justice to Odeh and his family. During that time, evidence has continued to surface that further implicates the suspects of the murder, who were under surveillance at the time. A few years ago, retired law enforcement officers who were on the case at the time expressed frustration at the failure to make any arrests despite having named suspects: “We know who did it. We know where they lived. We know why they did it, how they did it.”

The suspects moved to Israel where two of them are still living freely in a West Bank settlement. Israeli officials continuously thwarted efforts to obtain information about the JDL’s movement between the U.S. and Israel despite the fact that organization and suspects were linked to several other attacks in the U.S. Extradition requests were previously denied until 1993 when one suspect was extradited to face charges in another murder after two years of extradition proceedings, but not for the attack that killed Odeh.

ADC Legal and Policy Director Abed Ayoub explained on Dec. 21, “To have a senior member of the Senate, Majority Whip and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee take a serious look at this case is welcoming, and long overdue. We hope that it brings some answers from the FBI about what’s taking so long in this case and why justice hasn’t been brought for those responsible for Odeh’s murder.”

Zubaidi writes in her piece in Liberation magazine that she believes Odeh’s murder and law enforcement’s failure to bring justice to him and his family decades later makes evident the fact that the U.S. government is a partner in silencing pro-Palestine activists.

She adds that she believes there is a double standard in how these cases are handled. For example, the U.S. government unjustly designated the Holy Land Foundation, the largest Islamic charity in the U.S., to be a “terrorist organization,” shut it down and even jailed its organizers and activists. Yet the U.S. supports Israeli NGOs that raise funds in the U.S. for illegal Zionist settlements and settler terrorism.

Most recently, on Dec. 15 the civil rights group the Council for American Islamic Relations revealed that informants there were recording and passing confidential information to an anti-Muslim hate group with links to the Israeli government. Yet there has been no media outcry or Justice Department investigation.

(Source / 03.01.2022)

Analysis: Israeli Settler Violence Pushes Palestinians to the Point of No Return

Palestinians react as Israeli settlers attack Palestinian homes in the village of Kasra, in Nablus, West Bank on September 26, 2020

By Dr Adnan Abu Amer

The attacks carried out by the Israeli settlers against the Palestinians in the West Bank alongside violations of the occupation soldiers have continued to the extent that they have prompted Israeli alerts and fear that these attacks will ignite the security situation in the Palestinian areas.

The Israeli security alerts mention the existence of preliminary information from the settlers that they may carry out sabotage operations against Palestinians and their establishments, homes and farms, including burning of cars and buildings, beating with batons, and throwing stones. These and other factors could ignite the area as they may provoke Palestinians’ attempts to take revenge for any aggressive attacks that the settlers may carry out.

In light of the series of Palestinian attacks that took place in recent weeks, the Israeli military establishment fears that the violence of settlers and right-wing activists against the Palestinians may worsen the security situation in the Palestinian territories even further, especially in view of the escalation of field tensions between the Palestinians on the one hand and the settlers backed by the Israeli army on the other.

In addition to the recent Palestinian operations, the Israeli army and the Israel Security Agency Shabak have monitored the flare-up of field protests in various areas of the West Bank. During these protests, stones and explosives were thrown at army forces and settlers’ vehicles. They have, on their part, responded with gun fire in addition to launching several arrest campaigns against Palestinian youths, whether they were suspected of carrying out offensive operations or participating in throwing stones and planting explosive devices. Additionally, there are other forms of popular resistance taking place in various cities across the West Bank.

Israeli warnings of bloody attacks that may be carried out by settlers against Palestinians coincide with the release of Israeli statements accusing the settlers of enflaming the security situation. A notable example of these has been the recent by statement Omer Bar Lev, Minister of Public Security who accused the settlers of carrying out violent acts to ignite the field security situation with the Palestinians, so they are forced to respond to the attacks through stabbings and shootings. There are Israeli fears that these attacks will continue in the coming days.

The occupation army has monitored 15 incidents against Palestinians in recent days, including cases of burning a building, burning a car, throwing stones, raiding a house, hitting with batons, using pepper gas and the like. During one of these violent attacks, a Palestinian truck driver was hit in the head with a stone thrown at him by a group of Jewish settlers in Chumash.

For quite some time there was no such settlement violence against Palestinians. However, when the atmosphere is “saturated with a large amount of fuel,” which is the expression used by the occupation security services to refer to the tense security situation, then these aggressive actions of settlers against Palestinians can lead to devastating consequences. The army and the public security are aware that if “extra fuel leaks on to the fire,” it will be very difficult to stop the ongoing escalation of settlers against the Palestinians.

The ongoing settlement attacks against the Palestinians can be traced back to 1891 when the Jewish settlement project began. In the ensuing years the settlers showed extreme hostility ad cruelty toward the Arabs. They attacked them without justification and beat them in a humiliating manner for no reason. They were proud to do so and there was no one to stop the tide of this dangerous trend.

Coinciding with the continued violence of settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank and complicity of the occupation forces with them, some Israeli voices, although few, have called for curbing the military policy adopted by the occupation army and stopping the “soft hand on trigger” policy because it is enough to increase the number of Palestinian victims.

These Israeli voices do not necessarily express their keenness to save the blood of the Palestinians, but they fear of what they call “the genie coming out of his bottle,” and then the transition of the security situation in the West Bank to a point of unprecedented escalation, which may burn everything with it. Therefore, these voices are calling for changing the way in which occupation soldiers work in the occupied territories, especially the West Bank.

Having engrained in its soldiers the “soft hand on the trigger” policy, the Israeli occupation now seem unable to change the mindset of its soldiers. Perhaps the General Staff is responsible for that, although it pretends to hold its breath when any new Palestinian death occurs. The result is that “the genie has come out of the bottle” and the only way to return it is to fundamentally change the Israeli political conduct in the occupied Palestinian territories, which they have turned into a ticking time bomb that could explode at any moment.

On the other hand, there are genuine Israeli fears that occupation will eventually destroy the very fabric of Israeli society by turning its soldiers into a group of killers shooting at every moving object without endangering their lives.

These Israeli voices believe that their army have no strategy or tactics to engage in battle. They are, at best, proficient in offending the Palestinians and disrupting their daily lives. They claim that the Palestinians threaten their lives so they continue to beat them while they are handcuffed in military vehicles. When they reach their bases, they continue to beat them and tie their guns to the bodies of their detainees. All this occurs while their detainees are still handcuffed, blindfolded and subject to insults.

In the circumstances, all the disclosures about initiating security and criminal investigations by the Israeli Military Police must be seen as attempts to pull the wool over the public’s eyes; even after the formation of security and military criminal investigation committees. Although these investigations may result in the arrest of some soldiers and the extension of their detention, they are, nevertheless, ample measures that will not deter others from committing similar abuses.

The rule that the Israelis refuse to recognise is that for every action there is a reaction. Hence any violations committed by the occupation army against the Palestinians are met with retaliatory offensive operations against these soldiers. Notwithstanding, the occupation army continues its crimes against the Palestinians despite the bloody prices paid by its soldiers and settlers. Clearly the ongoing wave of settler violence is pushing the territories toward an explosion from which there is no return.

(Source / 03.01.2022)

Amid fears of sudden death, Abu Hawash enters 140th day of hunger strike

Palestinian detainee in Israeli jails, Hisham Abu Hawash, in his 140th day of hunger strike

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Palestinian detainee in Israeli jails, Hisham Abu Hawash, is at a high risk of sudden death as he has been on hunger strike for 140 consecutive days in protest against his administrative detention without a charge or trial.

The Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ and ex-Detainees’ Affairs said on Monday that Abu Hawash’s health condition has been deteriorating severly and he is now at a high risk of sudden death.

The Commission said that Hisham is in a coma, adding that he lost speech, hearing, and sight.

The Commission also said that Abu Hawash has been losing considerable weight, weighing around 40 kilograms.

He has been suffering from powerful fatigue, exhaustion, serious decline in body fluids and vitamins, and has been vomiting blood.

He has also had trouble drinking water and has felt palpitations with every movement.

The Commission warned against Israel’s force-feeding of Abu Hawash.

It was also reported yesterday that Hisham is suspected to have blood poisoning and kidney damage, as he is having difficulties in draining urine. Water in his body has decreased to one-third after he fell into a coma, according to ‘Waed’ Detainees’ watchdog, adding that those are very dangerous signs, which mean that Hisham is dying.

It also added that doctors, working for the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), beat Abu Hawwash when they were transferring him from the clinic of the Ramlah prison to the Israeli Asav Haroveh hospital.

Israeli authorities also prevented all visitations to Abu Hawash.

The 41-year-old Abu Hawash from Dora in occupied Hebron, was arrested on October 27, 2020, and held under administrative detention.

He has been on hunger strike since August 17, 2021 in protest against his administrative detention without a charge or trial by Israeli occupation authorities.

On 1, 6, and 8 December, an Israeli Court of appeal in Ofer delayed deciding the case of Abu Hawash (three times).

On 10 December, he was transferred to an Israeli hospital due to his critical health condition. That day, the Israeli court of appeal also delayed his case for the fourth time, claiming it was still waiting for a medical report from the Israeli Prison Service, which had been asked to provide it three weeks ago.

On 12 December, an Israeli court decided to extend the illegal administrative detention of Abu Hawash for four months for the fourth time, as his detention order was renewed three times before for no reasons.

On December 19, the Israeli supreme court rejected an appeal to suspend the administrative detention of Abu Hawwash or send him to a civilian hospital, claiming that the Israeli prison service is the only one entitled to do so. His family expressed concerns that he may have an acute heart attack as he was held in the clinic of the Ramleh prison, which is not prepared to treat his condition.

On December 26, Abu Hawash was transferred to Assaf Harofeh hospital in southern occupied Palestine following a deterioration in his health. Shortly after he was transferred, the occupation authorities decided to freeze his administrative detention amid fears of sudden death.

Till today, Abu Hawash continues his hunger strike for 140 consecutive days, as the court decisions to freeze administrative detentions, which Israeli courts routinely make, come only within an Israeli strategy to forcefully end hunger strikes, which demand the end of illegal administrative detentions.

Abu Hawash had in the past been sentenced to four and a half years in Israeli prison, before he became a father to five children. He was also placed under administrative detention in 2008 and 2012.

(Source / 03.01.2022)

UK warned it would recognize Palestine if ‘Israel’ annexed West Bank, book reveals

British Ambassador to the United Nations Karen Elizabeth Pierce listens to speakers during a meeting on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 at United Nations headquarters

London (QNN)- The United Kingdom’s ambassador to the United States warned the Trump administration two years ago that if ‘Israel’ went forward with plans to annex large parts of the West Bank, London would officially recognize the State of Palestine, a new book has revealed.

According to The Times of Israel, the message was passed along by Karen Pierce in a meeting she held with then-US president Donald Trump’s Mideast peace envoy Avi Berkowitz and Iran special envoy Brian Hook on June 12, 2020, Israeli journalist Barak Ravid wrote in his book “Trump’s Peace.”

Berkowitz and Hook were dispatched to meet with Pierce by then-senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.

While the Trump administration was being inundated by calls from world leaders warning the US against allowing then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to go forward with plans to begin annexing parts of the West Bank on July 1, 2020, it was the response from the UK that went further and was most surprising to the Americans, the book said.

The Israeli journalist speculated that the UK recognizing Palestine would likely have led other countries in Europe such as France and Spain to do the same.

A day before his meeting with Pierce, Berkowitz met with a group of senior German diplomats who expressed their utter opposition to the annexation plan.

“I told them, go to the Palestinians and tell them that annexation is advancing. Ask them what they want us to try and get for them in exchange,” Berkowitz recalled in Ravid’s book.

According to Ravid, Trump’s ambassador to ‘Israel’, David Friedman, had encouraged the Netanyahu government to annex parts of the West Bank, without running the plan by the president or Kushner — both of whom were opposed to the idea.

In 2020, Netanyahu decided to extend sovereignty to Israeli settlements through annexation to the parts of West Bank that Israel seized from Jordan in 1967.

Officials feared that the annexation decision will lead to the non-establishment of the state of Palestine and affect to Jordan because it has many Palestinian refugees who were forcibly displaced from their home in 1948.

(Source / 03.01.2022)

Israeli forces arrest 18 Palestinians during night raids into West Bank, Jerusalem cities

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces arrested 18 Palestinians during night raids on the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem on Monday.

Local sources said the forces raided several areas across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, searched Palestinians houses, turning them upside-down before arresting 18 Palestinians, including former detainees in Israeli jails.

In Jenin, the occupation forces raided Silat al-Harithiya town, west of the city, arresting two relatives of the two Palestinian brothers, Ghaith and Omar Jaradat, who are accused of carrying out alleged shooting attack that took place recently, near the illegal settlement of Homesh, north of Nablus, leaving an Israeli settler killed. The forces also arrested another resident of the town.

In Hebron, the forces arrested two Palestinians. In Bethlehem, a 20-year-old Palestinian youth was also arrested.

Three former detainees in Israeli jails and another two local residents were arrested in Ramallah.

In Tulkarm, two Palestinian youths from the town of Anabta east of Tulkarm, were also arrested.

In occupied Jerusalem, Israeli occupation forces arrested five Palestinians, including two children who are also brothers from Silwan neighborhood, a youth from Ein El-Louzeh neighborhood, and two youths, one from the Old City and the other from Bab Huta area.

Israeli occupation forces frequently raid Palestinian houses almost on a daily basis across the West Bank on the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians.

In the year of 2021, Israel’ arrested nearly 8000 Palestinians, including 1300 minors, all under the age of 18, and 184 women.

There are now 4600 Palestinians held in Israeli occupation jails, including 34 women, 160 minors, and 500 administrative detainees held without charge or trial.

(Source / 03.01.2021)

‘Israel’ releases two Jerusalemite children to house arrest

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- The occupation state released two children to house arrest on Sunday.

Israeli authorities sent Muhammad Ahmad Zaitoun (13 years old) to house arrest in his grandparents’ house in the Old City in Jerusalem and sent Omar Abu Mayyaleh (13 years old) to house arrest in his family’s house for a week.

Both children are from Silwan in occupied Jerusalem. They were arrested last month in Silwan.

(Source / 03.01.2022)

Watchdog: Abu Hawwash is almost clinically dead

Ramallah (QNN)- The head of the Detainees’ Affairs Committee, Qadri Abu Baker, said today that Hisham Abu Hawwash is in a very serious condition and he is almost clinically dead.

Abu Baker told QNN that Abu Hawwash’s condition is dramatically deteriorating stressing that some efforts are being made to solve his issue.

He added that Egypt and Qatar intervened as mediators to end Abu Hawwash’s suffering, noting that the next few hours could see positive developments that would solve the issue.

Abu Baker also said that by refusing to en the administrative detention of Abu Hawwash, the occupation state aims at sending a message to other detainees, who may consider going on hunger strikes in the future.

Israeli authorities had detained Abu Hawwash illegally under administrative detention. Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.

(Source / 03.01.2022)

Cancer stricken detainee sent to Barzilai hospital following deterioration

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The Palestinian Detainees’ Association said that the cancer-stricken detainee, Naser Abu Hmeid, has been sent to the Israeli Barzilai hospital following a deterioration in his health condition.

The watchdog said that Abu Hmeid was sent to hospital after he had a fever. It added that he had been being treated with chemotherapy.

The Committee for Detainees and Former Detainees Affairs had previously said that Abu Hmeid’s health condition was concerning as he had severe pain in the left part of his chest in addition to breathing difficulties.

After it turned out that Abu Hmeid had pneumothorax, he got treatment, however, a medical mistake caused him to suffer from more severe pain.

Abu Hmeid (49 years old) from the Am’ari refugee camp in Ramallah, was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to seven lifetimes and 50 years in prison. His four brothers are also detained and sentenced to lifetimes. Israeli authorities demolished the house of the family several times and their mother was denied visitation to any of her sons for several years.

(Source / 03.01.2022)

Israel decides to demolish the home of a Palestinian citizen in East Jerusalem

Fadi Abu Shkhaydam was killed, while carrying out a shooting operation, which resulted in the death of an “Israeli”, and the authorities are still holding his body

Israel decided to demolish the home of a Palestinian citizen, in East Jerusalem, who was killed while carrying out a shooting attack, which led to the death of an Israeli.

In a written statement reported, the Israeli army said that the commander of the army’s Home Front Command, Uri Gordin, signed on Sunday an order to “confiscate and demolish the house of Fadi Mahmoud Eid Abu Shekhedem.”

He added that Abu Shkhaydam “carried out a shooting attack on November 21, last, in the Bab al-Silsila area in the Old City of Jerusalem.”

Abu Shkhaydam was shot dead by the Israeli security forces, and the authorities are still holding his body.

The house is located in the Shuafat camp for Palestinian refugees in East Jerusalem.

On December 31, the Israeli army rejected a petition submitted by the Israeli left-wing (non-governmental) institution for the defense of the individual “HaMoked”, regarding the demolition decision.

The family was given a period until the fifth of this month to appeal the decision to the Israeli Supreme Court.

But the court usually approves demolition orders.

Israel refuses to stop its policy of collective punishment towards the families of the perpetrators of attacks against its forces or settlers, despite the numerous criticisms from human rights institutions.

In implementing the decisions to demolish the homes of the perpetrators, the Israeli government relies on the Emergency Law issued during the British Mandate of Palestine in 1945.

(Source / 03.01.2022)

Palestinian prisoner ‘Abu Hawash’ on the brink of death

The Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs has warned of the serious deterioration of the health condition of the Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash, who has been on hunger strike for 140 consecutive days.

The Undersecretary of the committee, Abdul Qader Al-Khatib, affirmed in a statement on Monday that Abu Hawash is ‘on the brink of death.’

He quoted doctors as saying that Abu Hawash may face a sudden death or clots at any moment.

Khatib further stressed the urgent need to free Abu Hawash or move him to Palestinian hospitals to save his life.

The Israeli rejection to release him indicate that there is an Israeli intention to kill him, he charged, denouncing the international community’s silence towards the Israeli continued violations.

Abu Hawash, a father of five, has been detained since October 2020, where he received three administrative detention orders against him since his arrest, one of which was issued during his hunger strike and for 6 months, reduced later to four months.

He is a former prisoner who spent a total of eight years behind Israeli bars.

The occupation authorities administratively detain about 500 prisoners, from the 4,650 Palestinians it holds in its prisons, according to Palestinian human rights organizations.

(Source / 03.01.2022)