[Ppnews] Palestine - Freed Islamic Leader Urges National Unity

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jun 22 08:42:57 EDT 2010

Freed Islamic Leader Urges National Unity

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 09:12 PM PDT

 From Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine

Nayef Rajoub, the popular Islamic leader in the 
al-Khalil region, has been  set free after 
spending 48 months of captivity in Zionist jails 
and detention camps for “taking part in illegal elections.”

Rajoub, who won more votes than any other 
legislative council member in the Hebron district 
in the 2006-elections, was appointed Minister of 
Religious Affairs in the tenth Palestinian Authority government.

However,  a few weeks later, in June 2006, he was 
unceremoniously abducted by Israeli occupation 
soldiers and dumped in Israeli jails and 
dungeons, including  the notorious concentration 
camp in the Negev desert, known as Kitziot.

An Israeli military court, a mere rubber stamp of 
the domestic Israeli security agency, or Shin 
Beth, sentenced Rajoub to four years in jail  for 
“taking part in illegal elections” and for 
“affiliation with a terrorist organization.”

Israel views all acts of resistance, including 
non-violent activism,  to its Nazi-like military 
occupation of Palestine as “acts of terror.”

In fact, the January-2006 election in the 
occupied Palestinian territories had been okayed 
both by Israel and the United States.

However, when Hamas emerged as the main winner in 
the  internationally-monitored elections and the 
western-backed Fatah party  lost, both Israel and 
the US lost their nerves and decided to impose 
draconian measures against the occupied 
Palestinian territories. One of the expressions 
of these measures is the 4-year-old blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Rajoub told reporters Sunday that the capture of 
an Israeli soldier (Gilad Shalit) by Palestinian 
freedom fighters in the Gaza Strip in 2006, was 
only a pretext used by Israel to justify the mass 
incarceration of Palestinian legislative members.

“The real motive behind our incarceration was 
Israel’s determination to undo and sabotage the 
outcome of the elections. Israel simply doesn’t 
want to see  dignified leaders who uphold 
Palestinian national constants to be in the 
driver’s seat. Israel is only for democracy if 
democracy  is proven expedient to maintaining the 
continuity of its evil occupation.”

Rajoub said the reason Israel was (and still is 
determined) to weaken Hamas had very little to do with the resistance issue.

“Israel knows very well that with Hamas gaining 
strength in occupied Palestine, the ceiling of 
Palestinian national expectations and 
aspirations  will remain high and Israeli efforts 
to lower it will fail. This is the main reason 
why Israel is hell-bent on weakening the Islamic 
movement in Palestine. They simply would like to 
see an obsequious  Palestinian leadership that 
can be bullied or cajoled  to compromise Palestinian rights.”

Rajoub pointed out that he was carrying two 
messages from thousands of Palestinian  political 
prisoners and resistance activists languishing in 
Israeli dungeons and detention camps:

“The first message is that the Palestinian people 
should place the prisoners’ issue at the top of 
the national agenda, otherwise the prisoners will 
return to their families in coffins. And the 
second message is that both Fatah and Hamas as 
well as the rest of Palestinian national factions 
must do all they can to restore national unity.

“National unity is not only a key condition for 
Palestinian steadfastness in the face of the evil 
occupiers, it is also a sin-qua-non for our 
national survival. We must not allow Israel to divide and conquer us.”

Rajoub told the Palestinian Information Center 
that Israel was the sole and only beneficiary 
from the continuing rift between Fatah Hamas.

He called on Fatah to put an end to its “ill 
will”   and stop allowing itself to be duped and deceived by the US and Israel.

“Don’t be naïve, the U.S.  and Israel won’t give 
you a state on a silver platter. They would like 
to see us kill each other and be hostile to each 
other, that is all. So don’t allow them to 
deceive you and trick you. Hamas is not Fatah’s 
enemy and Fatah is not Hamas’s enemy. Our enemy 
Israel which occupies our homeland and represses our people.”

Rajoub welcomed the reported willingness of 
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to visit the Gaza Strip.

“Mahmoud Abbas shouldn’t act and behave as the 
leader of one faction. He should stand at the 
same distance from all Palestinian factions, 
especially Fatah and Hamas. Doesn’t he say he is 
the leader of all Palestinians?”

Nayef Rajoub was born in 1958 in Dura, 10 miles 
south west of al Khalil in the southern West 
Bank. In 1981, he obtained a BA in Sharia and 
Islamic studies from the prestigious Sharia 
college of the University of Jordan in Amman. In 
2005, he received Master degree in Islamic Law 
from the University of Hebron in the West Bank.

For many years, Rajoub was especially known for 
his eloquent and popular Friday sermons at the 
Grand Mosque in Dura where he served as the imam for 23 years.

Indeed, it was, to a large extent, thanks to his 
activism and charisma that the Islamic movement 
in the southern West Bank was able to gain 
unprecedented preeminence in such a short time.

His influence and popularity eventually invited 
Israeli reprisals and vindictiveness, which 
explains the fact that he was served the harshest 
punishment of all Islamic MPs rounded up 
following the capture of Shalit in June, 2006.

In addition to the latest four years of 
imprisonment, Rajoub had spent more than 5 years in Israeli jails.

In 1991, Rajoub was also deported to Marj al 
Zuhur in Southern Lebanon, along with more than 
400 other Palestinian Islamist activists at the 
instruction of former Israeli Prime Minister Isaac Rabin.

Nayef Rajoub is the younger brother of Jibril 
Rajoub, the former Fatah strongman who for 
several years  was Yasser Arafat’s right-hand 
man  by virtue of staying at the helm of the 
Preventive Security Force,  the backbone of the 
American-backed Palestinian security apparatus.

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