State refuses to prosecute PA official Jibril Rajoub for incitement

The state basically admitted that it agreed with PMW that portions of Rajoub's statements would have justified a criminal probe and might have constituted incitement.

May 30, 2019 04:06
1 minute read.
Jibril Rajoub

Jibril Rajoub. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The state prosecution has essentially told the High Court of Justice that it will not prosecute Jibril Rajoub for incitement against Israel because he is a senior Palestinian Authority official.

Although the state does not say this point directly in its legal filing, provided to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, it does mention Rajoub’s senior status with the PA; its consideration of diplomatic factors in its decision; and that the net costs of prosecuting him would outweigh the net benefits.

The state’s filing was a response to a petition filed by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) lawyer Maurice Hirsch asking the High Court to order the state to prosecute Rajoub, who has held several PA ministerial and security service portfolios over the decades.

As part of the state’s response, IDF West Bank Chief Prosecutor Lt.-Col. Asim Hamid also revealed that he consulted both Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and IDF Military Advocate General Maj.-Gen. Sharon Afek regarding Rajoub, suggesting that wider considerations beyond the evidence of alleged incitement by Rajoub were taken into account.

In addition, the state basically admitted that it agreed with PMW that portions of Rajoub’s statements would have justified a criminal probe and might have constituted incitement, had the state not backed off of the issue because of his senior role within the PA.

Finally, the state cited that many of the statements are several years old, with the most recent ones dating back to 2017 and no recent similar statements of incitement have been recorded.

PMW has said that Rajoub’s statements “include explicit encouragement of terrorism, glorifying terrorist murderers of civilians, sponsoring sporting events named after killers, referring to Jews as ‘satans’ and ‘Zionist sons of bi***es’ and much more.”

Hirsch slammed the state’s response as constituting moral bankruptcy by ignoring Rajoub’s incitement simply because of his senior role.

He said that the state cannot say that it has complete discretion to ignore evidence of a crime, especially when it essentially admitted that the evidence would be sufficient to launch an investigation under normal circumstances.

There is some internal “family” drama in the case, as Hirsch was Hamid’s predecessor as IDF West bank chief prosecutor, serving in that role until the beginning of 2017.

It is unclear when the High Court will rule on the case.

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