(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Senior Palestinian Authority official Jibril Rajoub said on Saturday evening that Palestinians recognize that in any peace agreement the Western Wall should stay under Israeli sovereignty but the Temple Mount should not.
In an interview on Channel 2’s Meet the Press, Rajoub said: “We understand that the Western Wall must be under Jewish sovereignty, but the Temple Mount is ours.”
“If you want to cause an outburst, then say it’s yours,” he said. During the interview, Rajoub also pointed to US President Donald Trump, saying he presented “an opportunity” for both for the Palestinian and Israeli sides.
“He [Trump] comes with clear intentions for an ultimate deal to end the suffering of both peoples. I think this is an unprecedented initiative,” said the Fatah Central Committee member, who also leads the Palestinian Football Association and its Olympic committee.
“You have a partner for peace on the Palestinian side,” and that it was worthwhile to reach “an historic resolution between both peoples, two states for two nations. We need to do it today and not tomorrow.”
Rajoub claimed he has condemned violence since the 1993 Oslo Accords were signed.
However, he is proud of his history that includes serving a decade-and-a-half in an Israeli prison for throwing a grenade at an army bus near Hebron in 1970. Rajoub previously ran the Palestinian Preventive Security Force, a key paramilitary position in the PA.
Turning to Trump’s decision to defer the transfer of the US Embassy, Rajoub said the leader is not in the “Israeli Right’s pocket.” Rajoub said, “Since the [presidential] swearing-in, it has been clear that he [Trump] understands the conflict and that solution needs to be political.”
“He told [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] he wants to make the deal, to end the suffering for two nations.”
Rajoub further claimed that Abbas is ready to sign a peace deal. “I hope that you understand that we recognize your right to exist. It is your right to build your state and live in it in peace and security, but in line with the 1967 borders.”
He ended the interview by saying, “I turn to the Israelis and say to them: Guys, the time has come to reach the right conclusions – let’s do business.”
Seth J. Frantzman contributed to this article.