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Rights groups urge DOJ probe of 1985 bombing

Civil rights groups on Monday requested that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] renew its investigation into the 1985 bombing of a California office building that killed Palestinian-American civil rights leader Alex Odeh. An online petition [text], which now has approximately 10,000 signatures, was created by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) [advocacy website] and various other civil rights groups in order to seek justice for Odeh and seven other individuals who were also injured in the 1985 bombing. Odeh was serving as the western regional director of ADC when the bombing occurred. At the time of the bombing, the FBI (FBI) reported that they believed the bombing was the responsibility of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) [advocacy website], a Jewish militant organization viewed by many as a radical group. An attorney for the JDL subsequently denied the allegations [AP report]. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez [official website] also sent a letter to the DOJ in June, requesting that the department renew its probe into the bombing. The FBI announced [press release] in 2010 that it is offering a million dollar reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Odeh's murder. The DOJ has yet to respond to the recent requests of the civil rights groups and members of Congress.

The 1985 bombing is one domestic example of perpetually ongoing issues in Palestine and the Israel-Palestine conflict. In March of this year a UN expert speaking before the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] stated that Israel must cease all settlement activity [JURIST report] and immediately withdraw settlers from the Palestinian territories. Also in March UNICEF [official website] reported [JURIST report] that Israeli practices surrounding the detention of Palestinian children may violate international legal standards. In December 2012 UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk called on Israel [JURIST report] to fully implement and continue to support the recent conflict-ending ceasefire agreement with Palestinians in Gaza. In November of the same year UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay pressured Israel [JURIST report] to avoid targeting civilian structures in Gaza, expressing acute concern over the surge in the number of Palestinian civilian deaths that month.

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