MK Zehava Galon, head of the extreme leftist Meretz party, blasted the Defense Ministry on Thursday for preventing the participation of Palestinian Authority official Jibril Rajoub at the party’s conference this coming Sunday.
Rajoub, who heads the PA’s soccer federation among other things, had been scheduled to speak at the conference. Galon contacted Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and asked that Rajoub be given the appropriate permit to attend, but the request was denied.
Galon responded to the refusal by issuing a statement on Thursday in which she said, "Someone in the army is trying to bring us back to the bad days when Israelis were not allowed to talk with Palestinians.”
She added that the decision is puzzling given that Rajoub visits Israel frequently. "This is an attempt to silence a person, which harms one of the most prominent proponents of peace on the other side, and it is hard to shake the feeling that the security establishment makes political decisions and not professional ones,” claimed Galon.
The Defense Ministry explained that Rajoub’s VIP pass has been revoked because of his ongoing incitement against Israel and its government.
Despite Galon’s claims that Rajoub is “a man of peace”, there have been several recorded incidents of him inciting against Israel. Most recently he praised the use of violence against Israel, asserting that if the PA had the military wherewithal to rise up against the Jewish state, it would not hesitate to do so.
"I swear that if we had a nuke, we'd have used it this very morning," vowed Rajoub during an interview with the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV channel.
Before the last election in Israel, Rajoub slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Lieberman, referring to the latter as “a thug and a criminal.”
In remarks that aired on official PA television in December, Rajoub publicly called for armed resistance against Israel.