Jibril Rajoub (Arabic: جبريل رجوب, born 1953), also known by his kunya Abu Rami, is a Palestinian political and militant figure. He was the head of the Preventive Security Force in the West Bank until being dismissed (along with the force's chief in Gaza, Ghazi Jabali) in 2002. He had been a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council until 2009 and was elected to the Fatah Central Committee at the party's 2009 congress, serving as Deputy-Secretary until 2017, before being elected Secretary General of the Central Committee in 2017. He also leads the Palestinian Football Association and the Palestine Olympic Committee.
Rajoub was born in the town of Dura, near Hebron. In 1968, he was arrested by Shin Bet at age 15 on suspicion of aiding fleeing Egyptian officers, and spent four months in prison. While in prison, he met a local Fatah leader, who recommended that he be accepted into the organization, which was then secretive. After his release, he joined Fatah. His tasks were to assist fighters and build up cells in the Hebron hills.
In September 1970, Rajoub was arrested for throwing a grenade at an Israeli army bus near Hebron. He was tried and convicted of this attack and of membership in an armed group, and sentenced life in prison. He became a prominent figure among prisoners, leading hunger strikes and protests. He also studied Zionism and Hebrew extensively, and together with a cellmate, translated The Revolt by Menachem Begin into Arabic. Rajoub spent time in numerous prisons throughout the West Bank and Israel, as Israeli authorities moved prisoners around to disrupt their organization.
In 1985, Rajoub was one of 1,150 Arab prisoners freed in exchange for three Israeli hostages held by the PFLP-GC. He was soon rearrested for resuming militant activities, and was interrogated and placed in solitary confinement. He was hospitalized after a 30-day hunger strike. After his recovery, he returned to prison, and was released seven months later. In September 1986, he was arrested again for militant activity, and was imprisoned until March 1987.
Rajoub continued to work with Fatah cells in the West Bank. He was arrested for his activities during the First Intifada in December 1987, and was deported to Lebanon in January 1988. He relocated to Tunis, Tunisia, where as an advisor on the intifada to Fatah deputy leader Khalil al-Wazir. After Wazir's assassination by Israeli commandos, he became a close lieutenant of Arafat, and was allegedly behind a 1992 plot to assassinate Ariel Sharon.
In 1994, Rajoub was allowed to return to the West Bank following the signing of the Oslo Accords. He served as head of the Preventive Security Force until 2002, and Yasser Arafat appointed him as his national security advisor in 2003. During his tenure, he was accused of using the force to quash political dissent and harass political opponents of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian National Authority, including the use of torture. During the Oslo years, he criticized the growing influence of religious fundamentalism in Palestinian society schools, launched a major crackdown on Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement. Local rumours maintain that in 1996 he personally took Hamas members into the hills of Beitunia and shot them personally.
Since 2006 Rajoub has been President of the Palestinian Football Association. He is also President of the Palestine Olympic Committee , Head of the PLO Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs and Chairman of the Palestinian Scout Association.
In an interview which aired on Palestinian Authority TV on September 23, 2011 (as a response to a recent speech by U.S. President Barack Obama at the UN regarding Palestinian independence as translated by MEMRI), Rajoub sharply criticized Obama, stating that "Obama's speech was idiotic. It did not even reflect the US policy or the doctrine they employed in the past. It sounded like a speech of a student leader in a university, rather than the speech of a leader of a superpower."
In June 2012, as head of the Palestine Olympic Committee, Rajoub called a request for a minute of silence to remember the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Olympics by Palestinian terrorists in 1972 "racist".
Rajoub told Hezbollah-affiliated television network Al Mayadeen "until now we have not had nuclear weapons", he declared, "but in the name of Allah, if we had nuclear weapons, we'd be using them."
In August 2018 Rajoub was fined CHF 20,000 (US$20,333) and banned from FIFA matches for a year for inciting hatred and violence against an Argentinian team proposing to play a friendly match in Israel ("breaching article 53 (Inciting hatred and violence) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code").
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- Nahum Barnea, Beitunian nights: The IDF in the West Bank, Ynet 18 March 2016.
- Palästinenser sollen für Fußball-Sieg beten (German), sueddeutsche.de, 22 June 2011, retrieved 3 August 2017
- Fatah Central Committee Member Jibril Rajoub: Obama's UN Speech Idiotic, "Sounded Like the Speech of a Student Leader", MEMRI, Clip No. 3129 (transcript), September 23, 2011. (video clip available here).
- Terrorist Chief of Palestinian Olympic Committee Calls Minute of Silence Requests 'Racism' by Yori Yanover, Jewish Press, July 26th, 2012.
- "Rajoub: Israel should beware, we are enemies". Ynetnews.
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