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Tucson Arizona activists declare ‘Free Rasmea! Hands off Palestine!

By Jim Byrne

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Tucson, AZ – On the evening of July 31, a dozen activists rallied outside the Tucson District Court of Arizona in an emergency action supporting Rasmea Odeh and Palestine. Protesters demanded that charges against Palestinian-American activist Rasmea Odeh be dropped and that the U.S.-backed Israeli occupation and pillaging of Gaza cease now. Protesters held signs reading “Free Rasmea! Hands off Palestine!” and “Justice for Rasmea, justice for Palestine.”

July 31 marked Rasmea Odeh's status hearing in Detroit, where there was a large protest and packed courtroom. Odeh’s defense attorney Michael Deutsch had made a motion for Judge Borman to step down due to his political and financial support for Israel. In the Detroit courtroom, Judge Borman responded by refusing to recuse himself from the trial, claiming he could be fair and impartial and that his donations were purely charitable.

Meanwhile, in Palestine, Israel's brutal offensive against Gaza continues, with resistance fighters slowing the Israeli assault and saving lives. At least 61 Israeli soldiers are dead at the hands of Palestinian fighters, mostly in close quarters fighting. Palestinian resistance is widely supported by the people, while outrage grows around the world against Israeli’s invasion of Gaza.

Jafe Arnoldski, organizer of the protest, commented: “We are here protesting in front of the district court in solidarity with both Rasmea Odeh and the struggle for the liberation of Palestinian lands from Israeli occupation because the two are inseparable. For activists in the U.S., one of our most important tasks is to organize against U.S.-Israeli aggression right here at home, and that means struggling alongside our Palestinian brothers and sisters here who are subject to political repression. The fight to defend Rasmea Odeh from repression is part and parcel of defending Arab-Americans in general and Palestinian activists in particular. That is why when we demand 'Drop the charges against Rasmea' and 'Free Palestine', we're addressing both sides of the coin of the same struggle. With such a revered and important activist as Rasmea freed and back in the movement, the stronger our fight for the liberation of Palestine will be in the U.S.”

Activists gathered signatures for the petition to drop the charges against Odeh, distributed pamphlets on Odeh’s case and vowed to continue protests against Israel's new campaign of destruction against Gaza. Organizers from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the Alliance for Global Justice promised to return and rally in greater numbers for Odeh's trial on Sept. 8.

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