Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bring in Barghouti

If they could get Barghouti back in there... from the Huffington Post:

Marwan Barghouti is the most popular Palestinian leader since Yasser Arafat. He has spent the last seven years in an Israeli prison after being convicted of playing a role in attacks that killed four Israelis and a Greek monk.

A lifetime member of President Mahmoud Abbas' venerable and corruption-riddled Fatah movement, Barghouti is seen as perhaps the group's best chance to restore its eroded credibility. Many Palestinians _ and some Israelis _ see him as the only figure capable of bridging the myriad rifts among Palestinians and leading them toward their long elusive dream of statehood.

Barghouti is a secularist who works with Islamists. He supports negotiations with Israel, speaks fluent Hebrew and has Israeli friends, but he built his reputation through anti-Israel diatribes during the second Palestinian uprising.

I don't profess to being an expert on any of these things, but this man has always impressed me. It seems that Israel has kept him under lock and key precisely because he WOULD make a good negotiating partner. Israel will probably never come to an internal consensus that it is ready for a serious peace effort, but maybe having Barghouti on the scene will force things forward.

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