Barghouti before entering courtroom 390.
(photo credit: Ammar Awad/Reuters)
Marwan Barghouti’s message to the Palestinians on the 10th anniversary of his
incarceration is directed more against the Palestinian Authority leadership in
Ramallah than Israel.
Apart from calling for a “large-scale popular
resistance” against Israel, Barghouti’s message included a call to the PA
leadership to cut off security and economic ties with Israel, to combat
financial corruption and to renew its efforts to achieve unilateral recognition
of a Palestinian state at the UN.
In many ways, Barghouti’s message to
the PA leadership is similar to demands made by PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s
critics and rivals in Hamas.
criticism from many Palestinians for its
continued security coordination with Israel and the failure to fight against
icons of corruption among the top brass of the Palestinian
The PA has also been criticized for “succumbing” to Israeli
and US pressure to abandon plans to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian
Barghouti’s criticism of the PA leadership could mark the
beginning of a revolt against Abbas and the old guard in
Barghouti, 52, is viewed as a representative of Fatah’s young
guard – the grassroots leaders from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – while
Abbas, who turned 77 on Monday, represents veteran PLO leaders who moved from
Tunisia to the West Bank and the Strip after the signing of the Oslo Accords in
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Barghouti and his young guard colleagues have long been complaining
that the “Tunisians” have taken control of the PA, denying them high positions
and a say in decisionmaking.
But Barghouti’s criticism of the PA
leadership also reflects his growing frustration with Abbas for not doing enough
– or anything – to secure his release from Israeli prison.
among many of Barghouti’s supporters is that the PA leadership would, in fact,
prefer to see Barghouti remain behind bars because of the challenge he may pose
to Abbas’s exclusive control over the PA.
Reflecting these sentiments,
Barghouti’s wife, Fadwa, recently complained that the PA leadership had
instructed its media outlets to ignore news about the popular Fatah
It remains to be seen whether Barghouti’s open challenge to the
PA leadership will gain momentum. Judging from the reactions of many Fatah
members in the West Bank, Barghouti’s criticism does not seem to have fallen on
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