Jibril Rajoub, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah faction, eulogized slain Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri on Wednesday as an “extraordinary national leader,” saying his alleged targeted killing by Israel is “as much of a loss for Fatah just as it is a loss for Hamas.”
Rajoub, a former head of the Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security Service in Judea and Samaria, conveyed Fatah’s “condolences to our people, to his family, to the Hamas movement, to all the Palestinian national forces, and all the free people in the world over [the death of] the extraordinary national leader,” according to an interview translated by Palestinian Media Watch.
Rajoub told Palestinian TV he met with al-Arouri, who was based in Lebanon, on Oct. 6—a day before Hamas invaded Israel, killing around 1,200 persons, wounding thousands more and kidnapping some 240.
“I am among the believers in his ideology, his way, and his activity,” the Fatah official said, calling on young Palestinians to follow in Hamas’s path of “perfecting the resistance [terrorism] and confrontation with the occupation [Israel].
“I see his passing as much of a loss for Fatah just as it is a loss for Hamas and a Palestinian loss and a loss for the global liberation movement, whether they are Muslim or non-Muslim,” said Rajoub.
On Wednesday, Fatah called on Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to join in a “comprehensive strike” in protest of al-Arouri’s targeted killing and “the ongoing crimes of the occupation against Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.”
According to Al Jazeera, hundreds of furious Palestinians gathered in protest in Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, Hebron and other P.A.-controlled cities in Judea and Samaria.
Al-Arouri, the commander of Hamas operations in Judea and Samaria, as well as the deputy politburo chief under Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh, was one of the top Hamas leaders on Israel’s target list following the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 massacre.
Jerusalem has not taken responsibility for Tuesday’s strike in the Beirut suburb of Dahiya, which also killed six other Hamas operatives. Two additional slain terrorists were named as Samir Findi Abu Amer and Azzam Al-Aqraa Abu Ammar, commanders of Hamas’s “military” wing in Lebanon.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the Gaza Strip must be handed over to the P.A. once Israel’s military operation there ends. The solution “must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the P.A.,” Blinken said on Nov. 8.
However, Israel opposes the restoration of P.A. rule over the Strip because of Ramallah’s overt support for terrorism.
In late November, Rajoub likewise expressed support for the Oct. 7 massacre and warned of a similar attack in Judea and Samaria.
“What happened on Oct. 7 was a natural reaction to oppression. Those who rule Israel are an example of neo-Nazis. The fascist occupation sinks in its own swamp. Oct. 7 should be a turning point in our treatment of the occupation and its crimes,” he told Egypt’s MBC News channel.
“What happened on Oct. 7 did not happen in a vacuum. The occupation and its crimes are responsible for this. The event was part of the Palestinian defensive war. This is definitely the beginning of outbreaks. The next powerful outbreak will be in the West Bank,” Rajoub warned.
“Hamas was and will be an integral part of militant and national Palestinian political elements. This war will lead to Palestinian nationalist unity where the people and the leadership are united in the decision to achieve the goal to establish an independent Palestinian state on all the Palestinian land,” said the Fatah official.