Barghouti disappointed with prisoner swap

Hamas initially insisted the Fatah leader be included in the exchange, but later abandoned the demand.

Jailed Fatah member Marwan Barghouti 311 (photo credit: Oleg Popov / Reuters)
Jailed Fatah member Marwan Barghouti 311
(photo credit: Oleg Popov / Reuters)
Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti expressed disappointment on Thursday with the recent prisoner-exchange agreement between Hamas and Israel, noting that it did not include veteran Fatah inmates and leaders of Palestinian groups.
Barghouti, who was arrested by the IDF in 2002 in Ramallah, was tried and convicted on charges of murder and sentenced to five life sentences. Hamas had initially insisted on including Barghouti in the prisoner exchange, but later abandoned the demand.
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In an interview with Jordan’s Alghad newspaper, Barghouti said: “We welcome the exchange deal which saw the release of hundreds of strugglers who had spent many years in occupation prisons. But we were hoping that the deal would also include 130 strugglers, most of them from Fatah, who have spent more than 20 years in prison. It’s unfortunate that this was bypassed.”
The newspaper did not say how the interview was conducted. However, Barghouti has given several interviews over the past few years through his lawyers and visitors.
Barghouti also voiced disappointment over the fact that the swap did not include jailed Palestinian leaders like himself.
“We have full confidence that the Palestinian people wouldn’t give up on their prisoners and that freedom is inevitable for the people and prisoners,” Barghouti said.
He also launched an attack on the PA leadership for failing to do more to secure the release of Palestinians from Israeli prisons.
“We call upon the Palestinian leadership to deal seriously and with more responsibility with the case of the prisoners,” Barghouti said. “They should stop ignoring this case as they have been doing over the past two decades.”
Barghouti said that the Palestinians won’t agree to resume peace talks with Israel before all Palestinians are released from Israeli prison.
Barghouti also urged the PA leadership to pursue its efforts to “isolate” Israel in the international arena and “expand the cycle of peaceful and popular resistance” in the Palestinian territories.