Should Barghouti be released? NO

INN discusses the issues

Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh of Labor (pictured) suggested Sunday evening that Barghouti may be more valuable to Israel as a free man than as a prisoner.

“Barghouti is the Palestinian people’s most popular leader,” Sneh said in a speech before the Council for Peace and Security. “We helped him gain this status.”

His blood-drenched background and subsequent five life sentences for murdering Israeli citizens notwithstanding, maintained Sneh, does not change the fact that Israel may be forced to free Barghouti anyway. “Granted, there are legal obstacles to releasing him, but we will have to solve them,” he said.

Barghouti is among the terrorist prisoners whose release is demanded by the Hamas kidnappers of IDF Corp. Gilad Shalit in exchange for his release.

Knesset Member Effie Eitam (National Union) slammed the idea, saying that freeing Barghouti would represent “moral bankruptcy of law and justice.” He added that the five-time convict must remain jailed for life, in accordance with the ruling of the court, “to pay the price of planning and carrying out murder of innocent people.”

As the head of the Fatah terrorist faction in Judea and Samaria, Barghouti is still considered a major leader in the PA.

The arch-terrorist was one of the authors last year of the “Prisoners’ Document” drawn up by terrorists being held in Israeli jails. Five leaders representing five different terror organizations collaborated in formulating the 18-point proposal, which called for the establishment of a PA state in all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Leaders of Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) all signed the document.

The Prisoners’ Document, authored primarily by Barghouti, was originally praised as a plan which implied the PA recognition of the State of Israel and its right to exist. Close reading of the document, however, makes it clear that there is no mention of this point.

Media reports last month said that senior Fatah members are considering running Barghouti to lead the PA in elections that may be held soon. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) of Fatah recently said he would call new elections. It is believed that Israel would be forced to release Barghouti if he is elected.

The issue of Marwan Barghouti has been one of the major sticking points in negotiations over a prisoner swap deal to free IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

Although Egyptian intelligence officials have repeatedly tried to broker an agreement with the Hamas-linked Palestinian Authority terrorists who kidnapped Shalit last June, the deals have so far come to nothing.

Each time an agreement has appeared imminent, the terrorists backed out, dangling the hope of Shalit’s release while threatening to hold him “for years” until Israel complies with all of their demands. These include the release of more than 1,000 prisoners, many of whom Israel has vowed never to free.

Because he is a prisoner “with blood on his hands,” Barghouti does not meet the Israeli criteria for release in a prisoner exchange. If any exception were to be made, it would require a presidential pardon.

Barghouti was one of the major leaders of the first intifada in 1987, as he was in the Oslo War which began in 2000 and has not ended. He was deported to Jordan the first time, but was allowed to return in 1994 under the terms of the Oslo Accords.

Prior to the Oslo War, Barghouti was considered a moderate among PA Arabs. He was perceived as an Arab leader who pushed for negotiations with Israel aimed at gaining an independent PA state.

The picture changed radically in 2000, and Barghouti’s popularity grew along with his leadership of various terrorist gangs, including the Tanzim group and the al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades.

In the two years before he was captured by the IDF, he had become a leader in the PA war against Israel, killing 33 Jewish and Gentile Israeli civilians as well as soldiers.

January 15, 2007 | 3 Comments »

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