A Man Called Hitler Runs for a Seat He May Not Fill

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JENIN, West Bank, Jan. 18 - The candidate's name is Jamal Abu Roub, but everyone here calls him Hitler because, well, that is the name he has answered to quite comfortably since he was a teenager.

Mr. Roub, 40, is a leader of the militant Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in this turbulent corner of the West Bank, and has spent the past five years leading his ragtag band of gunmen in frequent clashes with the Israeli military. Mr. Roub's deeds include hauling a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel and of molesting his own daughters into a town square, where the man was shot to death.

Now Mr. Roub is a candidate for the Palestinian Parliament and is virtually assured of winning a seat in elections next Wednesday. He is wanted by Israel, and therefore does not appear at rallies, yet that seems only to have bolstered his reputation.

Mr. Roub said he has always been adamant about his beliefs, so much so that when he was 16 a high school friend began calling him Hitler, and it stuck. Mr. Roub said Hitler's slaughter of the Jews was wrong, yet he seems quite willing to keep the nickname.

When Mr. Roub was leaving after an interview, a group of Palestinian women spotted him and a buzz swept through the room. "It's Hitler; it's Hitler," they said, one after another. Mr. Roub could not resist speaking to them for 15 minutes.

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