Marwan Barghouti

(1959- ) A Palestinian political and military figure. A longtime member of Fatah, Barghouti was a leading member of the movement’s "Young Guard," which came to prominence in the 1980’s, when Fatah’s establishment figures were in exile in Lebanon and then Tunisia. Barghouti, who lived in the West Bank, was a key leader during the First Intifada, for which he was deported by Israel to Jordan. Following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1994, he returned to the West Bank and was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 1996. He launched a campaign against corruption and human rights abuses by Arafat’s officials and security forces. Originally a supporter of the Oslo Process with several close contacts in the Israeli peace camp, Barghouti became disenchanted with the peace process, especially after the failure of the "final status" Camp David II talks. During the Second Intifada, he was the head of Fatah’s Tanzim militia. In a 2002 Washington Post op-ed, Barghouti asserted the right of Palestinians to use armed resistance for self defense and to fight for their freedom in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, though also asserted opposition to armed attacks against Israeli civilians within Israel-proper. Israel arrested Barghouti in April 2002 under allegations that he had founded the Palestinian militant group al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade (a charge which he denied, though later the Brigade named him as their leader.) As of 2015, Barghouti is serving five consecutive life-sentences in Israeli prison, after being convicted in an Israeli court for five counts of murder as well as membership in what Israel regards a terrorist organization. Barghouti refused to legitimize the Israeli court system by mounting a defense, instead using his trial as a platform to put the Israeli occupation itself on trial. In 2009, while still in prison, he was elected to Fatah’s Central Committee. See "Palestinians renew calls to free 'leader-in-waiting' Marwan Barghouti," Peter Beaumont, The Guardian, March 26, 2014; and "Want Security? End the Occupation," Marwan Barghouti, originally published in the Washington Post on Jan 15, 2002.

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