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6
Jun
2017

Question of the Day: Has Jibril Rajoub reneged on his comments on Jewish sovereignty at the Western Wall?


Has Jibril Rajoub reneged on his comments on Jewish sovereignty at the Western Wall?

Yoni Ben Menachem

The wolf has failed trying to fit into sheep’s clothing. Rajoub told Israel TV Channel Two on June 3, 1017, that the Western Wall should be under Jewish sovereignty. Rajoub’s comments, coming from the third highest-ranking official in the Fatah hierarchy, were certainly unusual. His comments raised a storm in the Arab world and particularly among Palestinians. Within hours, he denied saying it.

Rajoub posted on Facebook: “What I said was that when Trump visited at the Wall with the Jews, not one Israeli was authorized to join him, and that’s a message of the lack of recognition of Israel’s sovereignty… I did not say a word about sovereignty or Israel. ‘The dogs bark and the convoy continues.’”

Rajoub’s bald-face lie is characteristic of PLO and Palestinian Authority senior officials’ “double talk.” They say one thing in Hebrew and English and another in Arabic.

So what was Rajoub’s motive for saying this on Israeli TV?

Sources in Fatah give a simple answer: Rajoub’s declaration is part of the battle for succession in the PA’s leadership fight. Rajoub directed his comments to the Israeli leaders and President Trump to show that he was “moderate” and worthy of succeeding Mahmoud Abbas. Senior Fatah officials, including Rajoub’s competitors, believe that the path to the PA leadership goes through Jerusalem and Washington. Currently, no one can be chosen to succeed Abbas without elections, which are now made impossible because of the Gaza-West Bank split.

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television, is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center. He served as Director General and Chief Editor of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
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