Palestinian Official Says ‘Armed Resistance’ an Option If Peace Talks Fail


The Palestinian official who headed Yasser Arafat’s security force at the start of the Second Intifada is warning that armed conflict may well follow the failure of current peace talks with Israel.“They should expect a reaction,” Jibril Rajoub tells TIME in an interview. “We have to ring the bell. Uncle Sam should understand that there is a new fascistic doctrine among the Israelis, and this is a real threat to their interests in the Middle East, and even in the whole world.” Rajoub, who now holds the title of minister of youth and sport in the Palestinian Authority, stops short of declaring the West Bank will erupt if U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry fails to coax a final agreement from the talks, set to end in April. But the vehemence of Rajoub’s message is clearly meant to draw attention, as was the place he first delivered it–a television studio in Tehran. Rajoub’s Jan. 28 visit to Iran was extraordinary for a senior official of Fatah, the secular movement that dominates the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas. Iran has been the major sponsor of  Hamas, the militant Islamist group that drove Fatah out of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Rajoub says Abbas sent him to Tehran in order to encourage Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani in his effort toward a more moderate foreign policy (including outreach to Gulf countries that are close to Fatah) and to enlist Iran’s efforts in Fatah’s long-promised reconciliation with Hamas. More
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