Marwan Barghouti 248 88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Marwan Barghouti will not succeed in uniting Palestinian factions if he is released from Israeli prison, a document prepared by the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has concluded.
The document was prepared by a team of IDF officers who are experts on the Palestinian Authority and was submitted several months ago to Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
The report states that the release of Barghouti - who was sentenced in an Israeli court to five life sentences in 2004 - would not have a dramatic impact on the Palestinian Authority.
On Monday, the London-based Al Hayat newspaper cited Palestinian sources as saying that Israel was seriously considering releasing Barghouti in the coming two weeks as a goodwill gesture to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The paper said that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wanted to release Barghouti before he leaves office.
The report prepared by COGAT analyzed Barghouti's political strength within the PA and reached the conclusion that his influence was mainly on field commanders in Ramallah, but not in other parts of the West Bank, such as Nablus and Jenin, which are considered Hamas and Islamic Jihad strongholds.
In addition, it concluded that Barghouti would encounter fierce opposition from the "old guard" in the PA such as Abbas, as well as from Hussein a-Sheikh, the current Palestinian minister for civil affairs.