Upon the 25th anniversary of the terrorist act that claimed the life of Alex Odeh in Santa Ana, the FBI announced that the investigation into the events surrounding the October 11, 1985 incident was still an active one. A million-dollar reward was reaffirmed for those with information that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrators.
Two years later, the bureau's pronouncements still have not led to any measure of justice in the case.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which Odeh served as Southern California Regional Director before his killing, called for a moment of silence at 12 p.m. noon EST today and is putting pressure anew on federal agencies.
“The unlawful killing of Alex Odeh is an injustice to his family, the Arab American community and to all Americans,” says current ADC President Warren David in a press release. “After 27 years we are still outraged. We demand the DOJ and the FBI bring closure to this heinous act immediately.”
The organization has also released a video with previously unseen footage as well as retro news reports surrounding the bomb blast:
Odeh was a Palestinian born to a Roman Catholic family in the West Bank and immigrated to the United States in 1972 in the years following the Israeli occupation of his homeland. In addition to being a married father of three, he published a volume of poetry Whispers in Exile and was a lecturer at both Cal State Fullerton and Coastline Community College.
Two months prior to the Santa Ana bombing, the ADC office in Boston was attacked in August in a similar fashion. According to the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs, the night before Odeh's death, he took to the airwaves to deny at the time that Palestinian Liberation Organization played a role in the hijacking of an Italian cruise ship that killed Jewish American Leon Klinghoffer and described Yasser Arafat as a man “ready to make peace.”
The next day Odeh had planned on speaking at a Fountain Valley synagogue, but first stopped by the ADC office on 1905. E. 17th St. in Santa Ana. Upon opening the door, a pipe bomb exploded, killing him and injuring others. In the weeks that followed, the FBI suspected members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) in the terrorist attack. Irv Rubin, then-Chairman of the JDL, told the agency at the time that they “could take their possible link and shove it” additionally saying in public that Odeh “got exactly what he deserved.”
Twenty-seven years later, the ADC is calling on Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that the Department of Justice act to resolve the case once and for all and is requesting a meeting with him to discuss the matter.
The organization is also circulating a petition to put additional pressure suggesting that the lack of arrests in the bombing after all these years reflects the valuing of other lives by the government more than that of Odeh, a U.S. citizen with Palestinian roots and defender of an unpopular cause.