Terror victims to lodge ‘incitement’ complaint against top PA official

Families of Israelis killed in Palestinian stabbing attacks in 2015, 2016 seek prosecution of Jibril Rajoub over comments lauding ‘heroic’ attackers

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Palestinian Football Association (PFA) head Jibril Rajoub holds a press conference on October 12, 2016, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Abbas Momani/AFP)
Palestinian Football Association (PFA) head Jibril Rajoub holds a press conference on October 12, 2016, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Relatives of Israelis killed in Palestinian stabbing attacks in 2015 and 2016 are set to join forces with a media watchdog later this week and file a police complaint against senior Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub, accusing him of incitement to violence.

The complaint against Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian soccer federation and a member of the Fatah Central Committee, will focus on comments he made in 2015, 2016 and late 2017 that praised the wave of “lone-wolf” terrorist attacks — perpetrated by individuals not acting under explicit orders from above — and encouraged armed struggle against Israel.

“The international community does not accept buses blowing up in Tel Aviv,” Rajoub said in an interview in October 2015. “But when a settler or soldier is stabbed while on occupied land, nobody asks any questions. We must struggle in a way that keeps the world with us.”

“Clearly, these are individual attacks, but they are heroic, characterized by self-control and a value system,” he said in that same interview.

Rajoub in 2016 again praised the “heroism” of attackers, and in December 2017 was quoted as calling for the upholding of the “struggle and resistance that will maintain the flame that contains hope, and it needs to burn this occupation, end it, and sweep it away.”

The parents of Ziv Mizrahi at the funeral of the 18-year-old soldier at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem, on November 24, 2015. Mizrahi was murdered in a stabbing attack at a gas station on the 443 Road, near Jerusalem on November 23, 2015. (Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The relatives of the terror victims and the Palestinian Media Watch monitor group link his comments to a wave of car-rammings, stabbings, and shooting terror attacks that began in September 2015.

“The evidence against Rajoub constitutes a basis for investigation, prosecution, and conviction,” Col. (res) Maurice Hirsh, the head of Palestinian Media Watch’s legal department, said Tuesday in a meeting of the Knesset’s Israel Victory Caucus, where the planned complaint was announced.

“There ought to be an understanding, according to which the Palestinian Authority, and especially senior officials such as Jibril Rajoub, cannot be allowed to promulgate incitement without legal proceedings being instituted against them,” said Hirsh.

Signed on to the Palestinian Media Watch complaint was Natan Meir, whose wife Dafna, 39, was stabbed to death in her home in the West Bank settlement of Otniel in January 2016 by a Palestinian teenager; Avraham Weissman, the father of off-duty soldier Tuvia Yanai Weissman, 21, who was stabbed and killed in a supermarket in the Sha’ar Binyamin industrial zone north of Jerusalem in February 2016; and Doron Mizrachi, whose 18-year-old son Ziv, an IDF soldier, was fatally stabbed at a West Bank gas station in November 2015.

Dafna Meir, left, with her husband Natan Meir in an undated picture posted on Facebook. (Screen capture: Facebook)

The decision to lodge the complaint now came after an uptick in calls for violence following US President Donald Trump’s December recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and a general need to act against Rajoub for his “clear incitement,” according to a spokesman.

The Israeli government has accused the Palestinian Authority of fanning the violence against Israel that began in September 2015, in which 57 Israelis have been killed, through incitement on social media and spreading false rumors about changes to the status quo on the Temple Mount.

Tuvia Yanai Weissman with his wife Yael and four-month-old daughter. Weissman was stabbed to death by Palestinian terrorists at a West Bank supermarket on February 18, 2016. (Facebook)

Rajoub, a confidant of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and former head of the Palestinian preventative security force that coordinates with Israel, has in recent years made headlines over numerous — and thus far, unsuccessful — attempts to have Israel expelled from FIFA over soccer clubs in the West Bank.

Rajoub has in the past also called coexistence soccer games between Israeli and Palestinian teams “a crime against humanity,” praised the kidnappings of soldiers by Hamas, compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners to Adolf Hitler, and said that if the Palestinians had nuclear weapons they’d use them against Israel.

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