Falsehoods and False Hopes
Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub told foreign reporters on Monday that he was encouraged by US President Donald Trump’s overtures to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, which ostensibly indicated a strong commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Referring to Trump’s phone conversation with Abbas, whom he invited to the White House for a meeting, Rajoub said the administration in Washington is in a ‘‘stage of exploration’’ on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ways to achieve “real and serious” peace between the sides.
There are a two main problems with Rajoub’s enthusiasm. One is that no matter who occupies the Oval Office, there will be no peace between Israel and the PA until the latter decides to stop delegitimizing Israel, while killing and encouraging violence against Jews. The other is that Rajoub himself is among those leaders who promote, in word and deed, the elimination of the Jewish state. He is thus both deluding himself and lying about the extent to which Trump has a say in the matter.
But this is par for the course for someone like Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association and Olympic Committee, who uses sports as an additional tool to incite against Israel.
Like the rest of his fellow Fatah honchos, Rajoub pretends for international consumption that it is only the “malignant cancer” of occupation under dispute. Aside from the fact that the land in question was not “Palestinian” to begin with – and the entity that is known today as the “Palestinian people” was invented after the Six-Day War in 1967 – Rajoub and the rest of the PA make no bones in Arabic about considering the establishment of Israel in 1948 a “nakba” (“catastrophe”) in need of eradicating.
This is old news by now, which is why no peace agreement negotiated with the Palestinians has led to anything but bloodshed. Trump may not be fully cognizant of this yet, but he will come to learn that deals with mendacious murderers are simply not possible.
Someone might want to fill him in on who Rajoub – touted as a possible successor to 82-year-old Abbas – actually is.
In 1970, Rajoub was arrested for, tried and convicted of throwing a grenade at an IDF bus and of membership in an armed group, and sentenced to life in prison. While incarcerated, he led hunger strikes and protests, while studying Hebrew, the language of the enemy.
In 1985, he was among the 1,150 Arab prisoners freed in the Ahmed Jibril Agreement — the exchange for three Israeli hostages held by the terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Upon his release, Rajoub resumed terrorist activity and was detained on several occasions. In between and following his bouts in jail, Rajoub continued to work with terrorist cells in the West Bank, and was arrested for his part in the First Intifada. In 1988, he was deported to Lebanon, from where he moved to Tunisia, serving as an “intifada adviser” to PLO chief Yasser Arafat’s deputy, Khalil al-Wazir, and subsequently – after Wazir’s assassination by Israeli commandos – as a close aide to Arafat himself.
After the signing of the Oslo Accords, Rajoub was allowed in 1994 to return to the West Bank, where he became head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Force and then national security adviser to Arafat. This role entailed using harsh methods, including torture, to thwart any opposition to his boss.
Since that time, he has been busy glorifying terrorists who died as “martyrs” while killing Israelis, naming soccer stadiums and sports events after them.
In 2013, during a visit to Lebanon, Rajoub gave an interview to the Hezbollah-affiliated TV network Al Mayadeen in which he said, “We, the Palestinians, are the enemies of Israel…Until now we have not had nuclear weapons, but in the name of Allah, if we had nuclear weapons, we’d be using them.”
If Trump is harboring illusions about his ability to employ the “art of the deal” with Palestinian leaders like these, he will have a rude awakening. And if Rajoub is imagining that Trump can be hoodwinked by Abbas, he has not been paying attention. If there’s one thing that the new US president cannot tolerate it is having his intelligence insulted.
Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.