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Evergreen Park Woman Discusses Role in 1969 Bombing in Documentary

While accused of hiding her past conviction for terrorism, an Evergreen Park woman participated in a 2004 film documentary widely shown in United States and Europe.

Rasmeih Yousef Odeh discusses role in fatal 1969 bombing in Israel in film documentary, 'Women in Struggle.'
Rasmeih Yousef Odeh discusses role in fatal 1969 bombing in Israel in film documentary, 'Women in Struggle.'

An Evergreen Park woman who was charged with immigration fraud and arrested Tuesday, was the subject of a 2004 documentary made by a Palestinian filmmaker.

Federal agents took Ramieh Yousef Odeh, 66, a naturalized citizen, into custody at her home early Tuesday morning. According to the charges, Odeh allegedly hid her arrest, conviction and imprisonment in an Israeli prison when applying for U.S. citizenship.

Filmmaker Buthina Canaan Khoury’s documentary Women in Struggle, offers “rare testimony” from Odeh and three other Palestinian women who were incarcerated in Israeli jails during the 1960s and 1970s.

The documentary recounts how each woman became an active member in the national fight for Palestinian independence “though their ‘crimes’ differed markedly – one woman was detained in a peaceful protest while another was arrested for her participation in a bombing,” a film synopsis said.

In 1969, Odeh was convicted of placing bombs in a supermarket and the British Consulate in Jerusalem. The bomb in the supermarket detonated, killing two people and injuring others. The second bomb caused structural damage to the consulate building, according to a federal indictment.

Odeh was convicted in an Israeli military court and sentenced to life in prison. During her incarceration, Odeh, as well as the film’s other female subjects, allege that they were beaten, tortured and raped into giving up information about Palestinian liberation groups.

In the movie, Odeh discusses the bombing and her thoughts on Israel's treatment of Palestinians. (Watch the 56-minute movie, Women of Struggle.)

Ten years after her sentence, Odeh and other detainees were part of an exchange for political prisoners in an agreement between the Israeli government and PLO. She was released and returned to the West Bank, federal authorities said.

Federal authorities said that Odeh immigrated to the United States in 1995, where she successfully applied for U.S. citizenship by omitting her terrorism background.

In 2004, when Odeh became a naturalized citizen, Khoury released her documentary Women In Struggle. The day of its release, Palestinian prisoners began a hunger strike that gained international attention.

The film documentary was shown in various film festivals in the United States and Europe.

Writer Sara Powell gave Women In Struggle a rave review in the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs.

“As the viewer gets to know ordinary Palestinian women, it becomes clear that it was the extraordinary circumstances of a brutal occupation that impelled them to act as they did. Perhaps the film’s quiet strength will elicit some understanding among ordinary American women and men who experience Khoury’s powerful documentary.”

While Odeh stands accused of hiding her terrorism conviction when applying for citizenship  by the U.S. government, she maintained a high profile, participating in a movie and earning a law degree. 

Story was updated at 9:47 p.m. 
Roy Keane October 23, 2013 at 09:10 AM
I am literally laughing out loud at how a convicted terrorist can maintain a "high profile" and it took the government almost 20 years to figure out they let this person in. Yet within a year they'll find that they over-refunded you $36 on your tax return. I give up.
ME October 23, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Well Roy, because the government is full of a lot of unintelligent people........as you probably already know! Every day I am amazed at how dumb our government really is. DEPORT THIS TERRORIST. Let the Israeli's have her. She's a TERRORIST! SHE KILLED INNOCENT PEOPLE! THAT'S MURDER. She planted bombs with the intent of killing people. She is wacked out in the brain. She needs to be deported. Why should us Americans who were born here, live and work hard here in the US have to pay for her. Anyone from another country who does wrong in the US should be sent back to their native countries. Why does the US want to keep these people here? The jails are too full as it is. Maybe if we sent these people back to their native countries, there would be more room in the jails for the child molesters that we hear about way too much every single day! C'mon government.......do your jobs and do them correctly NOW!!!!...not 20 years from now!
Pat F October 23, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Just another example of how, we the Legal taxpayer, gets screwed over time and time again!! The politicians have to eliminate this "politically correct" atmosphere that is taken away the American traditional way of life! All people are welcome to the US, but this is our great country!! If you are a terrorist or one who doesn't want to adjust to our way of life, Don't Come !! But, like Roy said, you have to wonder how a bombing suspect(terrorist) just waltzed through our security?? Time to clean house and start Homeland Security from scratch with experienced law enforcement people! Not the friends and relatives of the politicians who continue to Ruin this country!!

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