Monday, April 09, 2007

Marwan Barghouti to be freed?

It has to be said this is somewhat of a surprise. Marwan Barghouti was and still is a popular leader amongst the Palestinians, and is a pragmatist who speaks both Arabic and Hebrew.

He was a senior Fatah figure and connected to the Tanzim militia before his arrest by Israel in 2002. He ended up being sentenced to 5 life sentences for 5 murders.

Many suspected at the time that he would never serve anything like that length of time, because he was and still is far too important for the peace process. He is one of those politicians that the Palestinian public trust without being the wild eyed loons of Hamas.

However in the process of negotiating the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit, Marwan has been mentioned as a show stopper. If Hamas don't get the one man who could in terms of political popularity destroy them released then there is no deal.

It takes a while to get your head around that. Had Marwan Barghouti not been in prison there is no doubt he would have been campaigning and there would have been no Hamas led government.

However what he can do is talk to people who disagree with him and find ways forward and areas of common ground. That could be invaluable in the Middle East.

The problem is of course that he is the enemy of all those who never want peace, and both sides are littered with those.

What is interesting is that the Telegraph article that mentions it describes Marwan Barghouti as the West Bank Mandela. Haaretz has this.

No comments: