Barghouti leaves violence option open

Barghouti leaves option

Fatah Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, held in an Israeli prison and serving several life sentences, said in an interview with the Italian Corriere Della Sera newspaper that Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah was one of his top priorities, as "unity is the secret of oppressed countries' victories." Barghouti was mentioned as one of the prisoners who may be released in a future prisoner exchange to release IDF captive soldier Gilad Schalit. Formerly head of the Tanzim, a Fatah affiliated group which carried out several deadly terror attacks in the late 1990s. In the interview published Wednesday, Barghouti criticized the policies of Palestinian Authoirty President Mahmoud Abbas and especially Abbas's eschewing violence as a means of attaining Palestinian independence. "His politics have failed," Barghouti said, but then added that a third Palestinian intifada (popular violent uprising) would not erupt as a result of a coordinated PA political decision. "The intifada is born as a collective will of a nation, when people have no choice - there is no party or leader that decides if it will break out," he said. "The second intifada broke out after the failure of the Camp David talks [between then-prime minister Ehud Barak and former Palestinian Liberation Organization head Yasser Arafat]." Hinting at a policy of support for violence, different from that of Abbas, the Tanzim leader said, "The Palestinians have created modern times' longest revolution. We will renew it." When asked whether he supported renewing the strategy of using suicide bombers in order to attain political goals, Barghouti declined to answer. Barghouti said his ultimate goal is a Palestinian state with the June 4, 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital. "The [Palestinian] Authority is an embryo of a state and it took the Palestinians five years to receive. It is Israel's refusal to implement UN resolutions that made the PA continue to exist for another 15 years." Barghouti added that it was in Israel's interests, too, for a Palestinian state to be established. "A PA collapse will also hurt Israel, not just the Palestinians. The PA does not have sovereignty on even one meter of the West Bank. Israel stripped the [PA] of all authority. The alternative is an independent state." Barghouti expressed disappointment with Israel's politicians, both from the government and the opposition. "[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu says 'no' to everything, what kind of a partner is he? But the opposition also has little. The plan of [Kadima No. 2 Shaul] Mofaz - the dialogue with Hamas and the recognition of two states - will never bring a return to the 1967 borders and the end of the occupation of east Jerusalem." "Israel does not have a [Charles] de Gaulle or a [Frederik Willem de] Klerk, who brought an end to colonialism in Algiers or to Apartheid [in South Africa]. [Israel] cannot present a leader with the courage needed to end the longest occupation in modern history."