Barghouti's Provenance

Editorial Board - Jewish Press [NY] - April 26, 2006

We doubt that there was anything to the recent flurry of speculation over the impending release of Jonathan Pollard by the United States in return for the release of Marwan Barghouti, the Palestinian terrorist convicted in Israel on five counts of murder and sentenced to five terms of life imprisonment. (Indeed, even Pollard himself spoke against the possible exchange.)

The thought underlying the plan was that Barghouti, leader of Fatah-Tanzim and enormously popular in the Palestinian "street," would serve as a counterweight to Hamas and enable Fatah to return to power. Although one never really knows about these things, a swap simply does not add up. In any event, the conjecture has drawn attention to the largely overlooked fact that there is really not much difference between Hamas and Fatah.

Barghouti publicly wears as a badge of honor his having been convicted for bringing death and injury to Israelis. And as recently as last week, in an interview in the newspaper Al-Ayyam, he vowed to continue the fight against Israeli "occupation" of Arab lands by any means necessary.

If a man like this is Fatah's preferred leader, does it not speak volumes about the mindset of that group?