Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti on Tuesday accused the Palestinian
Authority of not doing enough to secure his release.
accusations came on the 11th anniversary of his imprisonment for his role in
terror attacks against Israelis.
In 2004, Barghouti, who is an elected
member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was convicted of five counts of
In statements to a number of Palestinian media outlets, Barghouti
said: “It’s impossible to explain the official silence.
For the first
time in history, parliamentarians of an occupied people are detained, harassed
and tortured while the international community and the Palestinian [leadership]
remain silent. This is something that can’t be explained.”
the Israeli government refused to release him as part of the prisoner swap with
Hamas in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
“Frankly, I believe that
there wasn’t enough pressure or efforts to force Israel to release me and the
prisoners,” Barghouti said. “The case of the prisoners was not on the agenda of
the negotiations for the past 20 years.”
He said that it was “unjust and
nationally irrational that Palestinian fighters” remain in prison for 20 years
after the signing of the Oslo Accords.
“This is a real tragedy resulting
from the Palestinian leadership’s shortcomings and negligence,” he added. “It’s
time for the Palestinian leadership to start dealing in a more responsible way
with this important national issue.”
Barghouti said he was spending most
of his time in prison studying and teaching inmates.
Referring to renewed
US efforts to revive peace talks between the PA leadership and Israel, Barghouti
said that what was needed now was not the resumption of negotiations, but an
Israeli-American commitment to “end occupation and withdraw to the 1967
He added: “There is no need for new negotiations which will be
a waste of time and a cover for aggression, occupation and
Barghouti said the time has come for the PA leadership to
be honest with its people and declare the failure of the peace process.
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