Jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti apologized Friday for the ruling Fatah party's failures but urged Palestinians to give it another chance in upcoming elections - a rare admission of guilt that highlighted party members' growing concern about the political rise of Hamas.
Barghouti, in his first statement since being chosen to head the Fatah list for January 25 parliamentary elections, urged voters to choose Fatah as the only guarantee for creating a democratic state and said Hamas should be "partners" in a new, clean Palestinian government.
The statement, to be published Saturday in Palestinian newspapers, was obtained by The Associated Press a day early.
"We do not hesitate to apologize to the Palestinian people for the mistakes that have been committed in recent years ... and I call upon the Palestinian people to renew their confidence in Fatah and to give Fatah a new opportunity," Barghouti said.
"I promise our people and I commit myself to conduct broad and deep change in the performance of the (Palestinian) Authority and we will present the best we have to the Palestinian people," he added.