Fatah official: Oct. 7 is part of our ‘defensive war’ against Israel, Hamas is ‘part of our political and social fabric’

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Head of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub after his speech at the FIFA congress in Moscow, June 13, 2018. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)
Head of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub after his speech at the FIFA congress in Moscow, June 13, 2018. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

Jibril Rajoub, secretary general of Fatah’s Central Committee, justifies the October 7 massacre by Hamas as an act “in the context of the defensive war our people are waging.”

In a speech he delivers in a meeting with journalists in Kuwait, Rajoub also says that Israel is responsible for causing October 7, due to its “aggression on all the Palestinian lands.”

He also says that the Hamas onslaught “thwarted the goal of the Israeli right to integrate Israel into the region without resolving the Palestinian issue, based on the principle of peace in exchange for peace,” referencing the Abraham Accords that Israel signed in recent years with several Arab nations, and ongoing talks to normalize relations with other Middle East countries, including Saudi Arabia.

Rajoub, who is also head of the Palestinian Football Association, adds in his speech that “Hamas is part of our political and social fabric and of our struggle, and their involvement is important,” but reiterates that the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people is the Palestinian Authority.

PA officials have so far refused to condemn Hamas’s October 7 massacre, in which over 1,200 Israelis were killed and about 240 abducted into Gaza. The PA Foreign Ministry even went as far as to claim on November 19 that Israel fabricated evidence of the October 7 killings by Hamas to justify its attack on Gaza – a statement that was later retracted after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described it as “preposterous.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly indicated that the PA is willing to take control over the Gaza Strip after Hamas is removed from power there — on condition of the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

US President Joe Biden has also said that a “revitalized” PA should rule the Gaza Strip following the war, something Israel has repeatedly rejected, pointing to its refusal to condemn the October 7 onslaught.

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