MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) visited Fatah-Tanzim leader Marwan
Barghouti at the Hadarim Detention Center in Even Yehuda on Sunday and called
for his release from prison.
“Barghouti is part of the Palestinian
struggle, and should be a part of the leadership, instead of sitting behind
bars,” Tibi said.
Akunis proposes ‘Tibi Bill’ to stop MKs from aiding
Editorial: Don’t free Barghouti!
The MK also demanded the release of Karim Yunis, who
has been in an Israeli prison for 29 years, longer than any other Palestinian.
Yunis, born in 1958 in Ara, is Israeli. He was sentenced to death (commuted to
life imprisonment) in 1983 for the murder of soldier Avi Bromberg three years
Tibi reported that Barghouti said his morale is still high and
“our nation will not surrender to the occupation.” The Fatah leader also called
for Palestinian unity, and said freeing prisoners should be a top
Barghouti and Yunis both complained to Tibi that sanctions on
Palestinian prisoners, which were supposed to end once soldier Gilad Schalit was
released from Hamas captivity, are still in place. Starting in late June, the
government limited benefits and privileges of Hamas terrorists in Israeli jails,
including visitation rights, collegelevel studies and meat on the prison
According to Tibi, Yunis also lamented the fact that veteran
prisoners were not released before others in the Schalit prisoner exchange,
especially those with Israeli citizenship. In addition, he told Tibi that Jews
who killed Arabs received preferential treatment in jail.
Last week, MK
Amir Peretz (Labor) also called for Barghouti, 52, who is serving five life
sentences for five murders and 40 years imprisonment for an attempted murder, to
be released from prison. He explained that Barghouti would help the Palestinian
Authority uphold a peace treaty with Israel.
The Labor MK, who has
visited Barghouti several times since he resigned from his role as defense
minister in 2007, said that “today, the Palestinian leadership needs diplomats
and statesmen, such as [President Mahmoud] Abbas, but they also need people like
Barghouti, a brave man who has grassroots support on the Palestinian street.”