Rajoub Walks Back ‘Kosel Sovereignty’ Remarks

YERUSHALAYIM -
Jibril Rajoub. (Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed)

Hamas slammed Jibril Rajoub for saying in a weekend interview that he and the PA believed that the Kosel was a holy site for the Jews, and that it would remain under Israeli sovereignty under any final-status agreement. In response, Rajoub walked back his “acceptance” of a Kosel under Israeli sovereignty, and in a social media post complained that his comments had been taken out of context by “yellow journalists.

“Some of these publications have written that I gave up the Kosel and even sovereignty over Jerusalem in an interview I gave in Hebrew,” Channel Two quoted a social media post written by Rajoub on Sunday. “What I actually said was that no Israeli officials were allowed to accompany President Trump on his visit to the Kosel, and this shows that they do not have sovereignty there. I did not say anything about Israel or its rights there.”

On Saturday night, Rajoub, a former member of the Palestinian Authority government and considered a close confidante of PA chief Mahmoud Abbas, said in an interview on Channel Two that the PA “understands the holiness of the site for the Jews. There is no debating this point.” With that, he said, Har HaBayis – the site of the Beis Hamikdash – was “ours and is holy to us. It does not belong to you, and I think you have to stop talking about how it is a Jewish site. This has been the status quo since 1967, as set then by Moshe Dayan,” who allowed the Muslim Waqf to retain responsibility for Har HaBayis.

The interview was given in Hebrew, which Rajoub speaks and understands. He has given dozens of interviews to Israeli media since the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

On Sunday, Hamas issued a statement that slammed Rajoub and the PA, saying that “his comments show just how far the PA and Fatah have strayed from our historic, national and moral principles, and have sacrificed the holiness, nationalism, and history. Mahmoud Abbas is not authorized to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people.