A radical Islamic leader from Hebron indicated on Tuesday that he was
considering running in the next Palestinian presidential election.
Tayseer Tamimi, a former Palestinian Authority chief judge of Islamic Courts, is
a nephew of Sheikh As’ad Tamimi, founder and spiritual leader of Islamic Jihad.
Israel deported the uncle to Jordan in 1969.
The would-be candidate’s
father, Sheikh Rajab Tamimi, was deported by Israel to Lebanon following the
murder of six Jewish settlers in the center of Hebron in 1980.
had served as imam of the Ibrahimi Mosque (the Tomb of the Patriarchs) when the
terrorist attack took place. He was accused of incitement and calling for the
destruction of Israel.
Last week, Tayseer Tamimi, who was previously
affiliated with Hamas, surprised Palestinians when he announced the formation of
a new political group called Party of Freedom and Independence.
announced earlier this week that Tamimi had not received a license to establish
a political party.
“I don’t rule out running for president of the State
of Palestine,” Tamimi said. “I have received many requests to run for
Sources in Hebron said he has gathered signatures from 4,000
Palestinians backing his candidacy.
No date has been set for presidential
elections in the Palestinian territories.
The last such vote was held in
2005, when Mahmoud Abbas was elected.
Although his term in office expired
in January 2009, Abbas has cited differences between Fatah and Hamas as an excuse for not holding new
Tamimi, 60, was at the center of a scandal that erupted in
2010, when a woman lodged a complaint against him for sexual
The scandal broke out after former Palestinian intelligence
officer Fahmi Shabaneh said that Tamimi had exploited his position to sexually
harass a woman who came to his office seeking work.
Tamimi, who has
vehemently denied the allegation, was forced into retirement a few weeks
Although he held a senior position in the PA, Tamimi often
expressed radical views that did not reflect public statements made by Yasser
Arafat and other PA officials after the signing of the Oslo Accords in
In 2009, Tamimi declared that there was no proof that Jews “had a
history or presence” in Jerusalem. He had also issued fatwas banning Muslims
from selling property to Jews.
During an interfaith dialogue in Jerusalem
in May 2000 with Pope Benedict XVI, Tamimi launched into a 10-minute verbal
assault on Israel, calling on Christians and Muslims to unite against it. As a
result of this speech, Benedict walked out of the meeting early.
week, Tamimi announced that his party was working toward filing war crime
charges against Britain with the UN’s International Criminal Court over the 1917
Balfour Declaration that promised the Jews a homeland in Mandatory
In a more recent article, he wrote: “The usurping occupation
should know that the land of Palestine does not belong to them. This is a
blessed Arab and Islamic land.”
He also ruled that Palestinian refugees
were forbidden to accept financial compensation for their lands and properties
“because Palestine is wakf [Muslim trust] land that can’t be sold.”