The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed concern that the State Department intends to permit Jibril Rajoub, Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee, to participate in meetings with U.S. officials next week, despite his repeated calls for terrorism against Israel, a 15-year stint in Israeli prison for committing terror acts, praise for acts of Palestinian terrorism and advocating the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.
When queried on this invitation, a State Department official maintained he can serve a positive role in peace talks set to take place between Trump administration officials and a Palestinian delegation including Mahmoud Abbas. “The U.S. government does not endorse every statement Mr. Rajoub has made, but he has long been involved in Middle East peace efforts, and has publicly supported a peaceful, non-violent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” (Adam Kredo, ‘Trump Admin to Host Convicted Palestinian Terrorist Despite Outrage,’ Washington Free Beacon, March 30, 2017).
However, Rajoub’s endorsement of terrorism should prevent him from obtaining a US visa, as US law bars entrance to individuals who “endorse or espouse terrorist activity,” as Rajoub has done.
Rajoub has repeatedly endorsed Palestinian terror acts and efforts to glorify those who commit them.
- In 1970, he was sentenced in 1970 to life in prison for throwing a grenade at an Israeli Army truck. He served 15 years in prison, but was released in a 1985 prisoner exchange.
- In 2014, Rajoub said, “If Hamas wants to kidnap soldiers, let them kidnap soldiers.”
- Rajoub stated, “It is forbidden for anyone to create normalization with Israel. Normalization with Israel is treason.”
- Rajoub organized and promoted a request to FIFA to suspend Israel’s soccer team and vehemently opposed a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes murdered during the 1972 Munich Olympics.
- In October 2015, Rajoub praised Palestinian terrorists saying, “These are individual acts of bravery, and I am proud of them. I congratulate everyone who carried them out. I say to you, we are proud of you … Whoever confronts, fights, dies as a Martyr, is arrested or injured—his identity is known. What I mean is that the fighter, the prisoner, or the Martyr, they are assets to the entire Palestinian people.”
- In January 2016, Rajoub said, “I say that whoever carried out individual acts of heroism, we in the Fatah movement bless and encourage them. We consider them heroes and a crown on the head of every Palestinian.”
- During the recent wave of terrorist stabbings and car-rammings in Israel, Rajoub praised Palestinian terrorists saying, “We in the Fatah movement bless and encourage them …We consider them heroes and a crown on the head of every Palestinian.”
- Rajoub also attacked President Trump, saying, “Regarding Trump, I think that even before he won, he revealed his true face, Zionist and racist, supporting and adopting the Israeli right-wing and racist policy.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Jibril Rajoub has a long and terrible record supporting terrorist acts and glorifying terrorists. It is contrary to US law that he be allowed into the country, and the proposal to invite him here is a mistake. Also, this invite has rehabilitated the image of a terrorist which can only further inspire other terrorists.
“This is all the more so, given his personal attacks on President Trump. It is difficult to see how someone who calls the President a ‘racist’ because he supports Israel can have anything worthwhile to contribute to any further negotiations.
“Secretary of State Tillerson should rescind this decision.”