Ramallah – Fatah central committee official Jibril Rajoub’s recent remarks that Jerusalem’s Buraq Wall “must remain under Jewish sovereignty” sparked a wave of criticism among Palestinians.
He told Israel’s Channel 2 television that he agrees that the Buraq Wall (Wailing Wall) should remain
under Israeli control.
US President Donald Trump visited the site, he noted, adding: “We realize that this is a holy place for Jews. At the end of the day, it should be under their sovereignty. There is no argument over this issue.”
Palestinian factions and activists promptly condemned Rajoub’s remarks, saying that he made a “free concession” to the Israelis.
The Hamas movement said that the Fatah official recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the site.
Spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a statement: “The remarks are a national crime that insult the Palestinian people.”
He deemed them an “official concession of a holy, national and historic site.”
“They reveal the national and moral slump that has affected the Fatah leaderships after their coup against the national Palestinian project,” he added.
“The statements confirm Fatah’s determination to go ahead with its project to eliminate the Palestinian cause and relinquish its national religious principles,” Qassem stated.
Furthermore, he said that Rajoub’s statements “undermined the Palestinian people’s struggle and sacrifices.”
He therefore urged Fatah members to reject his “un-national declarations” and demanded that Palestinian factions assume their responsibilities and “thwart those who deign to make concessions or squander the Palestinian cause.”
Director of the Islamic Jihad movement’s press office Daoud Shehab condemned Rajoub’s “dangerous” statements, saying that they pave the way to recognizing “the Jewishness of the state.”
He said on his Facebook account: “The mind of the Oslo negotiations team does not know what is holy. Everything is negotiable for them and this will bring about catastrophes.”
In a rare criticism, Fatah official Hazem Abou Shanab, former Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan, said: “All of Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians. Those who violate that are not Palestinian.”
Social media was also in an uproar over Rajoub’s statements, forcing him to clarify his remarks.
He said: “Some media have claimed that I have abandoned the Buraq Wall. Others said I have abandoned Jerusalem. All I said was that Trump visited the wall, which is a holy site for Jews and no Israeli was allowed to accompany him. This was his message that he does not recognize their sovereignty over the site.”
“That is the extent of what I told Channel 2. I did not mention the word sovereignty or Israel,” he stressed.
Activists later however posted a video that contradicts Rajoub’s clarifications. It showed him speaking in Hebrew to the Israeli channel and saying: “The site is holy for the Jewish people and there can be no doubt about that. It should remain under Israeli sovereignty and the Aqsa Mosque should belong to the Muslims.”