There’s “an overwhelming amount of publicly available evidence” demonstrating that Erekat had both incited terrorism and used his public position to endorse it,” says Neal Sher.
A well-known Palestinian official is facing a potential legal challenge to his current role as an academic at Harvard University.
Saeb Erekat — the veteran chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the secretary-general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) — was appointed as Fisher Family Fellow at the Future of Diplomacy Project housed at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs for the 2020-21 academic year.
But one former American government official is seeking to hinder Erekat’s activities, arguing that he is an apologist for terrorism and therefore legally ineligible to enter the US.
In a letter to US Attorney General William Barr, Neal Sher — a former director of the Office of Special Investigations in the Department of Justice, which pursues Nazi war criminals — asserted that there was “an overwhelming amount of publicly available evidence” demonstrating that Erekat had both incited terrorism and used his public position to endorse it.
“Specifically, Erekat is the architect and most visible advocate and apologist for the so called ‘Martyrs Fund,’ a diabolical policy of the PLO which handsomely pays terrorists and surviving ‘martyrs’ families, including those of suicide bombers who were killed during their acts of terror,” Sher charged.
Erekat used “his position of prominence to endorse terrorist activity in a way that undermines United States efforts to reduce or eliminate terrorist activities,” Sher continued. “Accordingly, he is ineligible to enter the U.S. under Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”
The Belfer Center’s website includes Erekat’s appearances on virtual Zoom seminars held for Harvard faculty and students.
The most recent seminar with Erekat on Sept. 17 focused on Palestinian reactions to the historic normalization agreements inked by Israel with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
In May, Erekat appeared with former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on a seminar on Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.