Tensions within Fatah growing over assault

Jamal Abu Rub denies he was arrested by PA forces for punching Jibril Rajoub.

Fatah official Jibril Rajoub 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Fatah official Jibril Rajoub 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Fatah legislator who physically assaulted Jibril Rajoub, chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, denied Thursday that he had been arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces.
Jamal Abu Rub, nicknamed “Hitler,” on Wednesday slapped and punched Rajoub in the face at Ramallah’s Grand Park Hotel.
Both Abu Rub and Rajoub are senior members of Fatah.
Rajoub previously served as commander of the PA Preventive Security Force in the West Bank.
Abu Rub said in a statement that rumors that he had been arrested were unfounded.
Following Wednesday’s incident, the Fatah Central Committee decided to expel Abu Rub from its ranks.
Abu Rub said in response that this was an “illegal” decision, which violated the internal regulations of Fatah.
He said that he has not been officially informed of the decision to expel him from Fatah.
Abu Rub called on the Fatah leadership and PA President Mahmoud Abbas to hear his point of view regarding the physical assault before rushing to take any measures against him.
Abu Rub, who enjoys the backing of many Fatah cadres in the Jenin area, pointed out that two months ago Rajoub and his bodyguards beat him he during an altercation in Ramallah.
According to Abu Rub, his assault on Rajoub on Wednesday came after the latter “provoked” him.
Shortly after the incident, Fatah gunmen loyal to Rajoub tried to storm Abu Rub’s home in Ramallah.
The decision to expel Abu Rub from Fatah drew strong condemnations from his supporters in the Jenin area.
Some reports said that scores of Fatah activists announced their resignation from the faction in solidarity with Abu Rub.
In addition, dozens of Fatah activists blocked a main road in the town of Kabatiya south of Jenin in protest against the expulsion of Abu Rub.
The latest tensions in Fatah coincided with a shooting attack on the office of PA Minister for Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash in Ramallah on Wednesday night.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons at Habbash’s office soon after he arrived at work.
The minister’s bodyguards responded with gunfire. No one was hurt.
Habbash, who is very close to Abbas, was escorted out of his office by dozens of PA policemen who rushed to the scene.
The shooting attack is believed to be linked to a dispute that erupted recently between the minister and top Fatah officials.