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Families of American Victims of Palestinian Terror Demand U.S. Deny Entry to Fatah Official

TEL AVIV – The families of American victims of Palestinian terrorism are calling on U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to deny entry to senior Palestinian official and former terrorist Jibril Rajoub.

Israeli media watchdog Palestinian Media Watch spearheaded the appeal, and demanded that if Rajoub is allowed to enter the country, he should be arrested and investigated for incitement to murder American citizens.

The bereaved relatives include Stuart Force, the father of Taylor Force, a West Point graduate who was stabbed to death on the Tel Aviv beach promenade in March 2016; Ruth Schwartz, the mother of Ezra Schwartz who was sprayed with bullets by a Palestinian terrorist in November 2015; Rina Ariel, the mother of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel who in June 2016 was stabbed to death while asleep in her bed; Micha Avni, son of Richard Lakin, a former elementary school principal who was shot and stabbed to death in October 2015; and Avraham Fraenkel, the father of abducted teenager Naftali Fraenkel whose body was found in June 2014.

The families penned an appeal to the U.S. government, saying “we … whose loved ones were murdered by Palestinian terrorists as a result of the Palestinian Authority’s and Jibril Rajoub’s incitement to murder [are] demanding that the United States, in accordance with US law, prohibit Jibril Rajoub from entering the US.

“Should Rajoub arrive in the US, we call upon the Department of Justice to immediately arrest and investigate him for inciting terror that led to the murder of our loved ones.”

PMW said that prohibiting Jibril Rajoub’s entry to the U.S. “would demonstrate that there is no immunity for those who promote and glorify terror. It is time to hold Jibril Rajoub accountable for his calls for murder.”

Rajoub is scheduled to speak in New York next Wednesday, at an event organized by the Israel Policy Forum.

In 1970, Rajoub was sentenced by Israel to life in prison after he was arrested and convicted of throwing a grenade at an Israeli army bus near Hebron. Part of his conviction was because of his membership in a Fatah-associated terrorist organization.

He was released from incarceration in 1985 as part of a prisoner exchange with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which had kidnapped three Israelis.

Less than two years after his release, Rajoub was arrested and convicted two more times on terrorism-related charges, including membership in Fatah terrorist cells and planning attacks.

He was deported to Lebanon in 1998, where he quickly became a top adviser to Fatah deputy leader Khalil al-Wazir, who at the time was coordinating an anti-Israel intifada.

After the signing of the 1994 Oslo Accords, Rajoub returned to the West Bank to become the head of former PLO leader Yasser Arafat’s Preventive Security Force, which was repeatedly implicated in attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers. Many members of the Preventive group doubled as members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Fatah’s so-called military wing. The brigade is a terrorist organization responsible for scores of suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings and other deadly attacks on Jews.

Today Rajoub serves as a Fatah Central Committee member and the head of the Palestinian Football Association. Rajoub has expressly prohibited joint sporting events between Palestinians and Israelis, calling such cooperation “a crime against humanity.” Rajoub, who in 2013 threatened to nuke Israel, also urged global soccer association FIFA to suspend Israel’s membership, saying the country is a “state of bullies.”

Under U.S. law, any foreigner who “endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity” is “ineligible for visas or admission” to the country.

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