Israel Resource Review 3rd January, 2007


Marwan Barghouti:
Should he be released from Prison?
Dr. Alan Bauer, Chicago native, and graduate of Harvard University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison

On March 21st, 2002 at 4:20 in the afternoon, Mohammed Hasheikah, a 22-year old Palestinian policeman blew himself up on King George Street in downtown Jerusalem, murdering three people, including a young father and his pregnant wife. My oldest son and I were numbered amongst the eighty-seven injured. Two arteries in my left arm were torn by screws, while a piece of shrapnel passed fully through our son's right brain. It was one of two hundred horrific Palestinian terror attacks during that bloody month which saw 135 people murdered in Israel's cities.

Marwan Barghouti, head of the Fatah Tanzim, was arrested one month later during Operation Defensive Shield. In September, 2002, a prosecutor presented indictments against the heads of the cell that carried out "our" bombing. One of the attack planners had actually met with Barghouti the day before the bombing and was given $600 "for the success of the planned attack". Barghouti was not alone in his support: the Fatah head of the Palestinian General Intelligence provided the bombing material, while another prominent Fatah leader gave money and even wrote the letter of responsibility after the attack.

These facts stand in stark contradistinction to the picture painted in both media and government circles of Marwan Barghouti the bold statesman, the charismatic leader, the true man of peace. The details described in Barghouti's own indictment suggest a different person, a terror leader who personally organized, supported, financed and encouraged attacks that left scores of unarmed civilians dead and injured. . Names of Tanzim terrorists were submitted to Barghouti, who would routinely take them to Arafat for final approval and financing. During his trial, he never denied any of the allegations levied against him.

Had he changed his path, had he shown any remorse over his actions, then I too might think that he could lead the Palestinian people to a peaceful, prosperous future. However, he has not shown any inkling of change, and he still states that terror attacks are a legitimate means in reaching political goals. In the highly ballyhooed "Prisoners Document" which he co-authored, there is no recognition of Israel's right to exist (Israel is never even mentioned) and the murder of civilians is still considered legitimate.

Marwan Barghouti today sits in an Israeli jail for five counts of murder, relating to five terror attacks that he organized, in which thirteen people were murdered in cold blood. His popularity among the Palestinian masses ("street cred") relates to his continued support for terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Releasing him will not bring peace but rather turn the clock back to the Arafat period of speaking nicely to the West while organizing the Palestinian masses to hate and kill. Has Marwan Barghouti made that rare transition from terrorist to statesman? If the Israelis let him go, would you risk getting on a bus to find out.

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Go to the Israel Resource Review homepage

The Israel Resource Review is brought to you by the Israel Resource, a media firm based at the Bet Agron Press Center in Jerusalem, and the Gaza Media Center under the juristdiction of the Palestine Authority.
You can contact us on