|Jailed Fatah member Marwan Barghouti 311.(Photo by: Oleg Popov / Reuters)|
Jailed Barghouti calls for 'Palestinian spring'
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Fatah leader calls for popular protests in West Bank, Gaza to force his party and Hamas to end dispute, achieve Palestinian unity.
Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti on Sunday called for a “Palestinian Spring”
to force Fatah and Hamas to end their dispute and achieve unity.
expressed opposition to disbanding the Palestinian Authority and called for a
comprehensive review of its performance and duties.
Barghouti, 53, who is
serving five life terms in Israeli prison for his role in terrorist attacks
against Israel during the second intifada, called on Palestinians to launch
widespread protests in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to force Hamas and Fatah
to end their dispute.
His remarks were published by his lawyer and
supporters on the 48th anniversary of Fatah’s first armed attack on
This was the first time that Barghouti had called for a
Palestinian uprising against Fatah and Hamas.
“I call on the Palestinian
people and youth to take the initiative to impose unity,” Barghouti said. “I
call on them to take to the streets in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the
diaspora and protest in front of the offices of the Palestinian factions and
leaderships until the end of the division.”
Palestinians should not wait
for Egypt or any other country to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and
Fatah, he said. “We need reconciliation now and without delay,” he
Barghouti, whom the IDF arrested in Ramallah in 2002, said that
although the recent UN General Assembly vote in favor of upgrading the
Palestinians’ status to non-member observer state was a step forward, the only
way to establish a Palestinian state was through actions on the ground and not
in New York.
“What is needed now is a battle on the ground to end the
occupation and solidify the Palestinian state,” he said. “A Palestinian state on
the ground can be achieved only through the effort, resistance and sacrifices of
the Palestinians, and not by going to New York.”
Barghouti said that the
PA leadership should now seek membership in various UN agencies and demand
sanctions and boycotts against Israel.
Criticizing the performance of the
PA, he urged the PLO to define its duties “in a way that serves the Palestinian independence
project.” Palestinians are completely opposed to turning the PA into a “security
guard” for Israel and settlements, he noted.
Barghouti also criticized
the PA for creating the false impression that it was engaged in building a
Palestinian economy and development projects while Palestinians were still under
“What we need is not the dismantlement of the Palestinian
Authority,” he said, referring to President Mahmoud Abbas’s recurring threats to
disband the PA. “Rather, what we need is a full review of its missions and
The PA does not have sovereignty over one meter of the
land, Barghouti claimed.
“Israel is doing whatever it wants – occupations
and settlements,” he said. “Every night Israel arrests people and enters
all parts of the West Bank.”
Barghouti further criticized the PA
leadership for continuing to believe in the peace process with
“The peace negotiations have completely failed,” he said. “Those
who continue to believe in negotiations are losers and misleading their people.
The negotiations have only led to illusions and more settlements and Judaization
[of Jerusalem]. The next Israeli government will be more extremist than the
Barghouti criticized his Fatah faction for failing to hold
internal elections and reforms. He pointed out that the last municipal elections
in the West Bank showed that Fatah was still weak and confused.