Jailed Barghouti calls for 'Palestinian spring'

Fatah leader calls for popular protests in West Bank, Gaza to force his party and Hamas to end dispute, achieve Palestinian unity.

January 6, 2013 20:53
2 minute read.
Marwan Barghouti

Jailed Fatah member Marwan Barghouti 311. (photo credit: Oleg Popov / Reuters)


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Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti on Sunday called for a “Palestinian Spring” to force Fatah and Hamas to end their dispute and achieve unity.

He also 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 Israel.

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 stressed.

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 “occupation.”

“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 performance.”

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 Israel.

“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 current one.”

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.

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