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West Bank: Omens of a Third Intifada

By Malik Samara | Al-Akhbar | September 26, 2013

The reigning state of despair among Palestinians has been growing steadily since the end of the Second Intifada. Day after day, the Israeli occupation expands as the options for Palestinians, ostensibly represented by a new generation of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) eager to seek a “settlement,” grow narrower. The killing has not abated, nor the settlement movement and the Judaization of Jerusalem. The “peace process” track continues as a “strategic option.” But the streets have not come to a rest since the Second Intifada, as they didn’t after the First Intifada and during the period of the Oslo Agreement.

Although, the frequency of clashes and confrontations might have decreased, the revolution continues to simmer, awaiting a spark to ignite. Today the situation in the West Bank evokes the period leading up to the First Intifada. The pace of clashes is rising and military operations are intensifying, despite the project for peace.

Ramallah – In a matter of hours, attention shifted from the far north of the West Bank to the south. In Qalqilya in the north, a Palestinian citizen named Nidal Emer led Israeli air force pilot Tomer Khazan to an empty spot. He killed him, in order to swap his body with that of his detained brother. Nidal took the initiative, but ended up like his brother: in an occupation cell.In Hebron in the south, amid daily clashes between occupation forces and residents, a Palestinian sniper shot at stationed soldiers, killing one and injuring another. The occupation forces retaliated, closing the city and waging a sweeping campaign of arrests, but were unable to find the “unidentified shooter.”

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – Knights of the Galilee, part of Fatah, claimed the operation in Qalqilya. Some people were optimistic about the movement’s return to special operations and the escape of the Fatah genie from the PNA’s bottle. However, its credibility was soon called into doubt the next day, when it issued another statement also claiming the Hebron operation, which had already been claimed by al-Asifa, part of Fatah-Intifada, which had split from the Fatah Movement in 1983.

On Israeli Radio 2, an Israeli security official spoke about the continuing security coordination between the PNA and Israel to capture the “killer” in Hebron. The father of the man from Qalqilya denounced his son to the station. “My son is a killer and deserves to be killed,” he said.

But it does not matter anymore. What matters is that Palestinian youth can take the initiative from outside of the quarreling factions and narrow interests of the political parties. Two soldiers were killed in less than 24 hours, something that has not happened since the Second Intifada, whose anniversary falls next Friday.

The details of the Hebron operation remain unclear, despite the maniacal security operation, which led to the arrest of a man close to 100 years of age for owning an Ottoman era rifle. The identity of the Hebron sniper is not yet clear, however, and the statements by the factions claiming the operation have not been verified.

Meanwhile, military experts in the occupation army have maintained that the sniper was professional and successfully carried out the operation in its three stages: locating the perfect spot, selecting a target, and the withdrawal of security. The sniper picked a soldier standing on open ground, so that the bullet would not ricochet behind him. However, the downside of the operation were the ensuing squabbles between the parties and their lack of credibility, exposed after contradictory statements were issued within less than an hour by two factions with a long history of political disagreements.This negative fallout also plagued the Second Intifada and was one of the most important factors in its collapse. However, the breadth and size of the clashes of last month, especially in the West Bank and Jerusalem camps, could herald a new uprising.

Amidst all the fury, a young group calling itself the Intifada Youth Coalition is calling for mobilization and protests to protect sacred sites next Friday, which coincides with the anniversary of the Second Intifada. A video made by the coalition is being widely shared on social media sites. In it, a young man calls for confronting the occupation on all fronts set to a song by Julia Boutros, Ya Thuwar al-Ard, which brings to mind the Second Intifada.

Despite differences between the factions, there is a general consensus rejecting negotiations. Several factions launched a popular campaign against the negotiations at a press conference in Ramallah, attended by all PLO factions.

Senior Fatah officials have also expressed their rejection of the negotiations process, including central committee member Abbas Zaki, who declared that negotiations were futile and called for “struggle and insisting on Palestinian constants.”

Even figures who had participated in the Oslo process have expressed, albeit timidly, their regret at signing the agreement, including Yasser Abed Rabbu and Ahmed Qorei. The head Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat went as far as complaining that “Israel is not fulfilling its obligations.”

However, this was not enough to inspire the Palestinian leadership to halt or even postpone negotiations for one day, despite the fact that three young men were martyred in Qalandiya. It did not even review the “legitimacy” of its choice, which contradicts the consensus of PLO factions, nor did it change its policies or strategies, which seem to be wholly focused on turning “Palestinian life into negotiations.”Seven martyrs have fallen since the beginning of the latest round of negotiations two months ago. They were all from the camps where the First Intifada erupted and caused the most trouble during the Second.

It is enough to see the sacrifices of Jenin camp, which was back in the headlines following the martyrdom of Islam al-Toubassi at the beginning of this week. The incident led to a limited military operation at the nearby Jalama checkpoint, before the PNA’s security forces managed to suppress the camp’s anger, prohibiting its residents from reaching the frontline areas.

But Jenin is the not the only camp where the revolution is still simmering. In Qalandiya, three Palestinians were recently martyred and clashes continue near the Qalandiya occupation checkpoint nearby. In al-Oroub and al-Fawwar camps in Hebron, clashes have been occurring on a daily basis with the occupation forces stationed nearby, far from the eyes of the media and the PNA’s forces.

Current conditions and factors do not provide Palestinians with any other option. Al-Aqsa mosque faces daily raids and there have been calls by Israelis for a million person march on the holy site to coincide with the anniversary of its storming by Ariel Sharon, which laid the ground for the Second Intifada.

Popular mobilization against Israel is also on the rise inside the 1948 territories, particularly in the Negev and the Triangle, which also coincides with the October 1 revolt that led to the martyrdom of 13 Palestinians from the occupied territories.

It seems the break out of a third intifada is only a matter of time. Friday could be the day the phoenix rises from the ashes.

The PNA Impedes the Intifada

The PNA has cloaked all options following Oslo under the guise of the “national project.” Anyone who objects or dissents falls outside this project. Under this slogan, the Palestinian resistance was liquidated in the West Bank, including the al-Aqsa Brigades, where the PNA’s forces are the only power on the ground. Any weapons not in its hands have become outlawed.The PNA suppressed all action against negotiations, supported by its wide popular base which follows the Fatah movement and the regional winds that put wind in its sails. The PNA has the money and media and is capable of manipulating the discourse. Sometimes it dons the robe of piety, accusing its detractors of debauchery and blasphemy, as it does with the PFLP, for example.

With Hamas, accusations of bartering with religion and extremism are mounted. Fatah’s minister of awqaf (endowments) unabashedly declared a fatwa for “revolution against Hamas” and forbade any opposition to the president in the West Bank.

In political differences it finds an opportunity to avoid facing reality, accusing others of instigating a crisis.

The bedlam following the killing of the two soldiers is the responsibility of Hamas, according to Fatah spokesperson Usama al-Qawasimi, who said that “Hamas’ credibility in the Palestinian street suffered a serious blow after the uncovering of their real schemes and their use of religion and resistance as a cover. If Hamas wanted to change the situation and aim for resistance, it has to start resisting in Gaza and to maintain the truce with Israel at gunpoint.”

September 26, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on West Bank: Omens of a Third Intifada

Mashaal: Israel broke promises under Shalit deal

Ma’an – 30/04/2012

GAZA CITY – Hamas politburo chief Khalid Mashaal on Monday said Israel had broken its promises to improve detainees’ conditions under the last swap deal.

Speaking to reporters after meeting the Egyptian foreign minister in Cairo, Mashaal said the October 2011 deal –which was brokered by Egypt — included pledges to end solitary confinement and other restrictions.

Israel had toughened conditions for Palestinian detainees in a bid to pressure Hamas to release soldier Gilad Shalit. He was freed in October in exchange for 1,047 Palestinian prisoners.

Palestinian detainees launched a mass hunger-strike on April 17 to protest their conditions, with prisoner groups estimating that 2,000 people are now refusing food.

After meeting Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi on Sunday, the leaders decided to petition the UN on the issue of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israel.

On Monday, Mashaal briefed Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammad Kamel Amr on the situation of Palestinian prisoners.

He thanked Egypt for following up on Palestinian affairs, and stressed the importance of seeing through the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal with rival party Fatah.

The national government headed by President Mahmoud Abbas — as agreed between the leaders in Doha in February — must be put into place immediately, he said.

The Hamas chief’s agreement that the Fatah leader should head the government caused uproar in Hamas ranks, sparking a new impasse for the embattled reconciliation deal.

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mashaal: Israel broke promises under Shalit deal

Khalil al-Wazir: Paving the Way of Armed Struggle

Abu Jihad coordinates with fedayeen (Palestinian guerrilla fighters) during the siege of Beirut in 1982. (Photo: Archive)
By Mohamad Bdeir | Al Akhbar | April 17, 2012

It took Israeli intelligence over two decades and many assassination attempts before they managed to hunt down the PLO’s military mastermind Khalil al-Wazir. On the 24th anniversary of his death, Al-Akhbar recounts his story.

When Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) began his endeavor in the early 1950s, Israeli intelligence had no idea he existed. At the time, he was the twenty-something leader of the Palestinian al-Haq Brigade in Gaza. His family had been displaced from Ramleh in 1948.

Back then, the security establishment in Israel did not believe that Palestinians were capable of organizing a resistance movement. Operations by the fedayeen (Palestinian guerrilla fighters) were believed to be entirely orchestrated in Egypt.

It took Tel Aviv about 10 years to begin to know al-Wazir, who would go on to play a major role in establishing the first and largest Palestinian national liberation movement. Moreover, he would coin the idea of “armed struggle” as the only path to liberate Palestine.

News of Abu Jihad first reached Israel in 1964 through a secret Mossad unit named “Ulysses” whose mission was to spy on Palestinian refugee communities in Arab countries. Operatives spoke about the creation of a Palestinian national liberation movement led by Yasser Arafat and al-Wazir and sounded the alarm in Israeli security agencies.

According to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot– which pieced together the story of the assassination of Abu Jihad based on public and private sources – the Mossad formed a secret unit in 1965. Its prime directive was to investigate methods of countering “Palestinian terrorism” and approve assassinations. It immediately suggested two primary targets: Abu Ammar (Arafat) and Abu Jihad.

The first assassination attempt was in Damascus when a planned car bomb operation was not executed properly. It was carried out by an agent of Unit 504 of the military intelligence, responsible for recruiting and running operatives.

Abu Jihad’s role in pushing for armed struggle against Israel became apparent, especially in the period following the naksah (the defeat of Arab armies in 1967). In 1970, Israeli prime minister Golda Meir retaliated by issuing him a “Red Card,” essentially a direct assassination order.

The Israeli secret service was adamant to settle scores with Abu Jihad and put an end to his dossier. In 1975, the Israeli air force raided a building in Beirut based on information of a Fatah movement meeting taking place there. In addition to Abu Jihad, Fatah leaders Arafat, Faruq Qaddumi, and Mahmoud Abbas were supposedly attending.

The Ben Hur operation missed the target and encouraged an escalation of attacks on Israel, coordinated by Abu Jihad, who was now the deputy chief commander of the Palestinian revolution.

On 11 March 1978, he planned the Kamal Adwan operation (named after a Fatah leader assassinated in Beirut in 1973), which was carried out by the Deir Yassin group led by Dalal Mughrabi.

The operation led to the death of 35 Israelis, with dozens more injured. It created a shock wave inside Israel especially following Abu Jihad’s announcement that the operation “demonstrated the ability of the revolution to reach Israel and carry out operations anywhere it wants.”

Following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the PLO’s relocation to Tunisia, Abu Jihad attempted to reverse the setback in armed struggle.

He visited various Arab countries, exposing himself to three assassination attempts, according to the Israeli account.

Abu Jihad, for his part, was planning an “unprecedented” operation that would strengthen the PLO’s position and impose new conditions on the struggle with the Israelis.

Twenty resistance fighters were supposed to reach Yafa by rubber dinghies, hijack a bus, drive it to the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, and attack the entrance known as Gate Victor. But the Israeli navy surprised their ship and sank it on 20 April 1985.

Abu Jihad did not hesitate and pressed on with plans for another major operation. In 1988, he picked Dimona, the location of Israel’s nuclear reactor.

On March 7, three Palestinian commandos captured a bus carrying workers from the nuclear facility. The fighters were consequently killed along with three of the workers in an exchange of fire with an Israeli army unit.

The Mossad concentrated its resources on the pursuit of Abu Jihad, by now the number one wanted person in Israel. Defense minister at the time, Yitzhak Rabin, ordered a direct operation that would not resort to remote targeting such as an air raid. He wanted to send a message to the Palestinian movement that Israel can reach its enemies in their homes.

The Mossad surveilled al-Wazir’s home in Tunis, 4km from the beach. It began planning an assassination attempt and sent a unit from Sayeret Matkal (General Staff Reconnaissance Unit) to the Tunisian shores.

It was to repeat the same scenario used successfully 15 years earlier against three Palestinian leaders in Beirut (know as the “Verdun Operation”).

On 13 April 1988, the quarter century chase after al-Wazir was almost over. Mossad agents carrying Lebanese passports arrived in Tunis and split into two groups.

The first group rented cars to transport the assassination unit from the beach to the targeted house, which was being closely watched by the second group.

In the meantime, Israeli navy vessels carrying the assassins were waiting at sea. In the evening, a unit of 26 Israeli commandos reached the beach and took the rented cars to al-Wazir’s home. After 23 years, they finally managed to assassinate him.

The next day, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was asked about Israel’s involvement in the assassination. Scowling, he replied, “I just heard about it on the radio.”

From Ramleh to Yarmouk

Omar Nashabe

Khalil al-Wazir was born in 1935 in Ramleh and was expelled from Palestine along with his family in 1948. He studied in Alexandria University and then moved to Saudi Arabia.

Later, he went to Kuwait where he met with Yasser Arafat and joined him in creating the Fatah movement.

Leaving Kuwait in 1963, he founded the first Fatah office in Algeria, where he was allowed to establish the first Palestinian military camp.

He then moved on to Damascus in 1965 to establish the military command headquarters and coordinate with fedayeen cells inside Palestine.

During the 1967 war, he planned and executed operations in Upper Galilee, then became the head of the western sector of Fatah until 1982.

Abu Jihad strived to develop military capabilities throughout his struggle, playing a leading role in defending Beirut against the 1982 Israeli invasion.

In his meetings with the fedayeen, he would focus on tactics and also on ethics, telling them to save ammunition and explosives, not to be zealots, and not to steal.

One time, when he was ordering the fedayeen to avoid killing children, one of them replied, “Our children in Shatila and Sabra were the first to die… I lost 12 members of my family.”

Abu Jihad’s reply was clear, “In spite of this, we will not become like those fascists. We are not fascists. [The Prophet Muhammad’s second successor] Omar Bin Khattab commands us not to cut down trees or kill children.”

Memory of Resistance

Qassem Qassem

Those who knew Abu Jihad speak of his special relationship with Imad Mughniyeh. At the end of 1978, a 16-year-old Mughniyeh joined the Fatah cell in Chiyah.

Bassem Haidar, who was in charge of the cell between 1977 and 1979, says that the boy was always with another young man, Ali Khodor Salama (Abu Hassan), assassinated by Israel in 1999 in Abra, near Sidon.

The newcomer soon caught the attention of the higher command of the Palestinian revolution, specifically Abu Jihad, due to his skill in planning ambushes in the area between Tayouneh and Asaad al-Asaad street (south of Beirut).

He was none other than Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s military commander who was assassinated in Damascus in 2008.

“Mughniyeh was the only person able to provide the cell with the weapons they needed. He would go to the Fakhani neighborhood (PLO headquarters in Beirut) and get it,” Haidar remembers.

“Once, we needed 3.5 inch anti-tank missiles, so he was sent to get them.” Haidar continues, “Had Mughniyeh’s relationship with Abu Jihad not been good, he would not have been able to get them, since they pass directly through the leadership.”

In 1978, Mughniyeh left the Chiyah cell after “he was summoned by the leadership in Fakhani and began clandestine work in a secret security unit. We never saw him again.”

April 22, 2012 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Khalil al-Wazir: Paving the Way of Armed Struggle

What Marwan Barghouti Really Means to Palestinians

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | April 4, 2012

Last week Marwan Barghouti, the prominent Palestinian political prisoner and Fatah leader, called on Palestinians to launch a ‘large-scale popular resistance’ which would ‘serve the cause of our people.’

The message was widely disseminated as it coincided with Land Day, an event that has unified Palestinians since March 1976. Its meaning has morphed through the years to represent the collective grievances shared by most Palestinians, including dispossession from their land as a result of Israeli occupation.

Barghouti is also a unifying figure among Palestinians. Even at the height of the Hamas-Fatah clashes in 2007, he insisted on unity and shunned factionalism. It is no secret that Barghouti is still a very popular figure in Fatah, to the displeasure of various Fatah leaders, not least Mahmoud Abbas, who heads both the Palestinian Authority and Fatah. Throughout its indirect prisoners exchange talks with Israel, Hamas insisted on Barghouti’s release. Israel, which had officially charged and imprisoned Barghouti in 2004 for five alleged counts of murder – but more likely because of his leading role in the Second Palestinian Intifada – insisted otherwise.

Israel held onto Barghouti largely because of his broad appeal among Palestinians. In late 2009, he told Milan-based Corriere Della Sera that “the main issue topping his agenda currently is achieving unity between rival Palestinian factions” (as quoted in Haaretz, November 25, 2009). Moreover, he claimed that following a unity deal he would be ready to submit candidacy for the Palestinian presidency. Barghouti, is, of course, still in prison. Although a unity deal has been signed, it is yet to be actualized.

Barghouti’s latest statement is clearly targeting the political class that has ruled Palestinians for many years, and is now merely managing and profiting from the occupation. “Stop marketing the illusion that there is a possibility of ending the occupation and achieving a state through negotiations after this vision has failed miserably,” he said. “It is the Palestinian people’s right to oppose the occupation in all means, and the resistance must be focused on the 1967 territories” (BBC, March 27).

Last December, Jospeh Dana wrote, “Barghouti is a figure of towering reverence among Palestinians and even some Israelis, regardless of political persuasion.” However he did not earn his legitimacy among Palestinians through his prophetic political views or negotiation skills. In fact, he was among the Fatah leaders who hopelessly, although genuinely pursued peace through the ‘peace process’ – which proved costly, if not lethal to the Palestinian national movement. Dana wrote, “Barghouti’s pragmatic approach to peace during the 1990s demonstrated his overarching desire to end Israeli occupation at all costs” (The National, Dec 23, 2011).

Although his latest message has articulated a conclusion that became obvious to most Palestinians – for example, that “it must be understood that there is no partner for peace in Israel when the settlements have doubled.” – Barghouti’s call delineates a level of political maturity that is unlikely to go down well, whether in Ramallah or Tel Aviv.

So it’s not his political savvy per se that made him popular among Palestinians, but the fact that he stands as the antithesis of traditional Fatah and PA leadership. Starting his political career at the age of 15, before being imprisoned and deported to Jordan in his early 20s, Barghouti was viewed among Fatah youth – the Shabibah – as the desired new face of the movement. When he realized that the ‘peace process’ was a sham, intended to win time for Israeli land confiscation and settlements and reward a few accommodating Palestinians, Barghouti broke away from the Fatah echelons. Predictably, it was also then, in 2001, that Israel tried to assassinate him.

Marwan Barghouti still has some support in Israel itself, specifically among the politically sensible who understand that Netanyahu’s rightwing government cannot reach a peaceful resolution, and that the so-called two-state solution is all but dead. In a Haaretz editorial entitled ‘Listen to Marwan Barghouti,’ the authors discussed how “back when he was a peace-loving, popular leader who had not yet turned to violence, Barghouti made the rounds of Israeli politicians, opinion-makers and the central committees of the Zionist parties and urged them to reach an agreement with the Palestinians.” The authors recommended that ‘Jerusalem’ listen to Barghouti because he “is the most authentic leader Fatah has produced and he can lead his people to an agreement” (March 30).

In his article entitled ‘The New Mandela’, Uri Avnery wrote that Barghouti “is one of the very few personalities around whom all Palestinians, Fatah as well as Hamas, can unite” (Counterpunch, March 30). However, it is essential that a conscious separation is made between how Barghouti is interpreted by the Palestinians themselves and Israelis (even those in the left). Among the latter, Barghouti is presented as a figure who might have been involved in the “murderous terror” of the second Intifada (Haaretz) but who can also “lead his people to an agreement” – as if Palestinians are reckless multitudes desperate for their own Mandela who is capable, through his natural leadership skills, of uniting them into signing another document.

For years, but especially after the Oslo peace process, successive Israeli governments and officials have insisted that there was “no one to talk to on the Palestinian side.” The tired assertion was meant to justify Israel’s unilateral policies, including settlement construction. However Barghouti is a treasured leader in the eyes of many Palestinians not because he is the man that Israel can talk to, and not because of any stereotypical undertones of him being a ‘strong man’ who can lead the unruly Arabs. Nor can his popularity be attributed to his political savvy or the prominence of his family.

Throughout the years, hundreds of Palestinians have been targeted in extrajudicial assassinations; hundreds were deported and thousands continued to be imprisoned. Marwan Barghouti is a representation of all of them and more, and it’s because of this legacy that his messages matter, and greatly so. In his latest message, Barghouti said that the Palestinian Authority should immediately halt “all co-ordination with Israel – economic and security – and work toward Palestinian reconciliation,” rather than another peace agreement.

Most Palestinians already agree.

April 5, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on What Marwan Barghouti Really Means to Palestinians

Marwan Barghouti: A Decade of Defiance

Despite spending the past 10 years in prison, Marwan Barghouti remains at the forefront of the Palestinian liberation movement.

By Fadi Abu Saada | Al Akhbar | March 29, 2012

In mid-April 2002, Israeli occupation forces invaded Palestinian cities under Operation Defensive Shield.

The Israeli government at the time was after Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who managed to disappear for three weeks before he was arrested under circumstances that remain unclear to this day.

Barghouti is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Secretary-General of Fatah in the West Bank, but the Israeli state accused him of leading al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and deemed his arrest a great success.

The verdict of five life sentences and 40 years in prison that Barghouti was handed is a clear indication of Israel’s recognition of the “threat to Israel” that he represents. This was expressed by one Israeli leader who described Barghouti as a “young Abu Ammar,” Yasser Arafat’s nom de guerre.

For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once said that he prefers to see Barghouti dead rather than in prison, because he is the engineer and the brains behind the intifada, and he is a symbol of Palestinian national unity and resistance.

Despite his forced absence from the Palestinian public arena, Barghouti is still at the forefront of the political scene. An opinion poll revealed that 55 percent of Palestinians would elect Barghouti if he were to run for the presidency and president Mahmoud Abbas does not run.

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which conducted the poll, explained that Barghouti swept other Fatah candidates by a big margin, receiving 55 percent of respondents’ votes, while other candidates did not receive more than 3 percent each.

Palestinian political analyst Khalil Shahin refers to three main factors to explain Barghouti’s popularity.

The first is the struggle factor: “Barghouti was always at the forefront of the leaders standing with the people. He had been exiled and detained and with the start of the second intifada, he led the protests,” says Shahin.

“The decisive factor of the legitimacy of any leader,” he adds, “is joining the ranks of the people and that is what Barghouti did.”

The second factor, according to Shahin, is “the nature of the discourse adopted by Barghouti as it is nationalist par excellence. It is not factional and it is not Fatah-centered. Barghouti walked in the footsteps of national leaders like the late Arafat, George Habash, Abu Iyad, Abu Jihad, and others.”

The third factor has to do with “the staunch positions” held by Barghouti and “represented in the last message he issued from prison in which he spoke about the political process, the senseless negotiations, reconciliation, and corruption which might push for the adoption of an new path in the Palestinian strategy for the next phase.”

In addition, the vision proposed by Barghouti, says Shahin, “scares Israel because it might represent the opening of new path in Palestinian resistance against Israel in order to isolate it internationally, which Israel considers a grave danger.”

Despite his imprisonment, the Israelis could not stop Barghouti’s continued struggle as he issued a series of messages to the Palestinian people from inside his prison cell.

On the 10th anniversary of his arrest, Barghouti called for an end to all forms of security and economic cooperation with Israel and for launching wide-ranging popular resistance.

“Experience has demonstrated that there is no partner for peace in Israel. Even worse, settlement building multiplied three or four times over the course of two decades of negotiations and the Judiazation of Jerusalem is accelerating in an unprecedented manner,” his message read.

“We must confirm the absolute right of our people to resist the occupation by all forms, means, and methods, and concentrate this resistance in the territories occupied in 1967 while highlighting the importance of choosing the appropriate form and method for the current phase,” he added.

Barghouti also spoke in his letter about the importance of achieving reconciliation and national unity, and the need for the Palestinian leadership to deal seriously and responsibly with this issue.

He urged pairing resistance with work at the level of diplomacy, politics, and negotiations, as well as struggle and popular activism.

He called for a complete official and popular boycott of Israeli products and goods, and for encouraging people to purchase Palestinian products. He also called for renewing efforts to achieve Palestinian membership in the United Nations.

Barghouti did not forget the most important issue and that is battling corruption which he saw as another face of the occupation. He said “the symbols of corruption who have not been held accountable yet must be held to account.”

Palestinian public opinion might differ on the question of reconciliation but there is an agreement on Barghouti’s strong presence and his nationalist discourse.

Despite him being in prison for 10 years, he has the final word on many sensitive matters having to do with the issue of prisoners, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority.

Exist to Resist

The Palestinian prisoner and MP Marwan Barghouti was born in 1959 in the village of Kobar to the northwest of Ramallah. He joined Fatah at the age of 15.

He was arrested and put in prison by the Israeli occupation forces in 1976 when he was only 18 years old.

After his release, Barghouti headed the Birzeit University Student Council and graduated with a degree in History and Political Science and an MA in International Relations.

He was arrested again in 2002 and has been in prison since then.

March 29, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Comments Off on Marwan Barghouti: A Decade of Defiance

Netanyahu: Abbas must choose between Hamas and peace

Ma’an – 06/02/2012

BETHLEHEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his opposition to reconciliation between Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas on Monday, after the parties signed an agreement in Qatar to form a unity government to prepare for elections.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization that seeks to destroy Israel and is supported by Iran,” Netanyahu insisted during a meeting of his Likud party.

“I have said more than once that the Palestinian Authority must chose between an alliance with Hamas, or peace with Israel. Hamas and peace do not go together.”

Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal agreed that Abbas will head the joint government at a meeting in Doha on Monday.

The accord also included agreements on releasing political prisoners, reforming the Palestinian National Council and activating the PLO for the next elections, Palestine TV said.

Fatah and Hamas agreed to end four years of bitter dispute and rival governments in May 2011, but the deal has repeatedly stalled as disagreements rumble on. The candidate to lead an interim unity government had been a key sticking point.

After the May deal, Israeli officials froze the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, collected by Israel on the PA’s behalf under international agreements. When Mashaal and Abbas met again in November, Israel moved to maintain a second freeze, initially imposed after Abbas applied for full Palestinian membership of the UN.

A statement from Netanyahu’s office after the Qatar meeting on Monday did not refer to punitive measures, but warned that the deal would imperil the peace process.

“If Abbas implements what has been signed today in Doha, then he has chosen to renounce the path of peace and embrace Hamas.

“I tell Abbas: you can’t have your cake and eat it, either you have a deal with Hamas or chose peace with Israel.”

PLO officials held five rounds of exploratory talks with Israeli representatives in January, but insist they cannot progress to direct negotiations until Israel halts settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.

February 6, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 3 Comments