Senior Fatah official: Palestinians suffered more from Munich Olympic killings

Jibril Rajoub’s comments come during press conference at UN; latest in series of verbal assaults by Geneva Accord signatory

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Jibril Rajoub (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90/File)
Jibril Rajoub (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90/File)

Senior Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub, who also heads the Palestinian Olympic committee, claimed Thursday that the Palestinians had suffered three times as much as the Israelis because of the 1972 Munich attacks.

Eleven athletes on the Israeli Olympic delegation were taken hostage and murdered by the Palestinian group Black September in the gruesome incident. Three of the attackers were later set free by West Germany in response to a Lufthansa hijacking by Black September, and Israel tracked down Palestinians across Europe and the Middle East suspected of complicity in the killings.

Israel Radio reported that Rajoub made the comments at the UN’s New York headquarters, accusing Israel of obstructing Palestinian sports, and calling on the international community to accept Palestinians into international athletic associations.

The statement was Rajoub’s latest in a string of attacks on Israel.

Rajoub, former director of the Preventive Security Force in the West Bank, told a conference in October 2012 that “Jews are Satans, and Zionists the sons of dogs.”

In an interview with the Lebanese TV channel al-Mayadeen on May 1, he said that, for Fatah, “resistance to Israel remains on our agenda.

“I mean resistance in all of its forms,” he elaborated. “At this stage, we believe that popular resistance — with all that it entails — is effective and costly to the other side [Israel],” Rajoub said in the hour-long interview, which was highlighted by the watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch.

“If you ask me as a Palestinian,” he continued, “I say — our battle is with the Israeli occupation. Our main enemy, not [just] as Palestinians but as Arabs and Muslims, is Israel and the Israeli occupation.”

Later that month, he put an end to discussion about a match between FC Barcelona and a joint Israeli-Palestinian team. “Because of the behavior of the Israelis, that target sport and athletes, our movement is limited,” he told Reuters in early May. “I believe that it’s too early to talk about a joint match because of the discriminatory behavior, even on the playing field, which is being practiced by Israel.’’

Rajoub, who spent 17 years in Israeli jails after throwing a hand-grenade at an army bus, later served as Arafat’s national security adviser. He is a signatory to the Geneva Initiative, which brings together Israelis and Palestinians ostensibly committed to a two-state solution, and was one of the prominent figures who starred in an advertising campaign by the initiative’s sponsors, advocating a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Ron Friedman contributed to this report.

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