Fatah Central Committee Secretary General, Jibril Rajoub

In a startling speech delivered in Kuwait, Jibril Rajoub, secretary general of Fatah’s Central Committee, has openly justified the horrific October 7 massacre perpetrated by Hamas. This act, which resulted in the tragic loss of over 1,200 Israeli lives and the abduction of around 240 people into Gaza, was described by Rajoub as part of the "defensive war" waged by Palestinians.

Rajoub's speech, which also saw him double as the head of the Palestinian Football Association, further laid blame on Israel for the October 7 events, citing Israeli "aggression on all Palestinian lands." He argued that the attack disrupted Israel's efforts, through the Abraham Accords and other regional talks, to integrate into the Middle East without addressing the Palestinian issue.

In a controversial statement, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Ministry initially claimed that Israel had fabricated evidence of Hamas's atrocities to justify its Gaza offensive. This assertion, later retracted amid global criticism and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's condemnation, adds to the PA's continued refusal to denounce the October 7 massacre.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has indicated a willingness to assume control over Gaza, contingent on the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. This stance aligns with US President Joe Biden's view that a "revitalized" PA should govern Gaza post-war. However, Israel remains opposed, highlighting the PA's failure to condemn Hamas's actions.

This is not the first time the PA has weighed in on events in Gaza to try and appear relevant, last week the defacto leaders of Palestine circulated a dubious document alleging Israeli fabrication of media material to rationalize its Gaza offensive. The PA even claimed that Israeli helicopters bombed Israeli civilians during the Supernova music festival, casting doubt on the legitimacy of Israeli accounts and urging international scrutiny. Despite this, the PA later backtracked on these allegations without a formal retraction.

As tensions mount, the international community continues to scrutinize the PA's ambiguous position and failure to condemn Hamas's heinous acts. The implications of these developments for regional peace and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict remain a subject of intense debate.

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