Over the weekend of July 27th and 28th the Israeli cabinet approved the release of some 104 Palestinian prisoners. The prisoners have all served between 19 and 30 years for being part of deadly attacks on Israelis. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged approval because it was important for Israel to restart peace talks with the Palestinians. The Israeli cabinet approved the release in four stages over some 9 months. Each step is linked to progress in the peace negotiations.
While Israel was trying to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, the Palestinian Fatah Political Party began lauding a convicted terrorist on Facebook for killing “61 Zionists.” The convicted terrorist is Abdallah Barghouti, who was sentenced to 67 life terms.
Barghouti was the bomb-making mastermind behind the 2001 Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing and at least four other suicide bombings that took place in Israel. He is alleged to have planned and built the bombs which were used to strike in Rishon LeZion, Zion Square, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was arrested by Israel’s Shin Bet in March of 2003.
Abdallah Barghouti is a close relative of Marwan Barghouti a Palestinian political leader who went on to become a leader of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in the West Bank. Marwan joined Fatah at the age of 15 and by age 18 was arrested for his participation in Palestinian militant groups.
Marwan Barghouti was a major leader in the West Bank Intifada in 1987, when he led Palestinians in a mass uprising against Israeli occupation. It was during this uprising that he was arrested and deported to Jordon, where he stayed for the next seven years. He returned to the West Bank under the terms of the 1994 Oslo Accords.
He has been quoted as saying, “I still seek peaceful coexistence between the equal and independent countries of Israel and Palestine based on full withdrawal from Palestine territories occupied in 1967.”
Marwan was convicted of five counts of murder in May of 2004. He was acquitted of twenty-one counts of murder in thirty-three other attacks for “lack of sufficient evidence.” In June of 2004 he was sentenced to five life sentences for murder and an additional forty years for attempted murder.
This man apparently still exerts great influence in Fatah from within prison and is very popular with most Palestinians. There are those who believe he could be a unifying candidate in a bid to succeed Mahmud Abbas.
At the time of this writing meetings are taking place in Washington D.C. between Israel and the Palestinians. The purpose of these meetings is to agree on a format that peace talks can follow over the next nine months. However, protests are already taking place in the West Bank and Palestinian leaders have a habit of saying one thing in English for Westerners to hear and another thing in Arabic to their followers. Their followers are usually told to continue terrorism against Israel, so don’t expect anything of importance to come out of this two day meeting.
Quote for the Week: “To whom God gave no sons, the devil gives nephews.” ----Unknown.
posted with permission from the writer