Monday, April 15, 2002

More on Marwan Barghouti. Barghouti is the leader of the Tanzim terror group which is part of the Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization. He was captured yesterday by the IDF and is currently being held in a building called the Russian Compound in hazy downtown Jerusalem.

The Tanzim group seemed to be the one with the highest profile a few months back. Several times a week, they were gunning down Israeli motorists in the West Bank and less frequently inside the Green Line.

As I mentioned previously, the Tanzim periodically enter the Christian village of Beit Jala to shoot (and on a couple of occasions fire mortars) on the Israeli neighborhood of Gilo. I read an article (in Kol Ha-ir maybe) about a Christian family in Beit Jala that would flee to Bethlehem whenever the Tanzim began to arrive.
The fighting in Gilo/Beit Jala was often audible here in southern Jerusalem.

Recently the Al-Aksa Brigades (also part of Fatah) has upstaged the Tanzim with its suicide bombings. There have been remarks that Barghouti is a "senior figure" in the Al-Aksa brigades also.

Barghouti endorsed the mainstream Palestinian position that no agreement with Israel was possible unless millions of descendents of refugees were settled into Israel's pre-1967 borders. Like Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed-Rabbo and others Barghouti indicated (in a New Yorker interview) that Palestinians would demand "bigger things" after a West Bank/Gaza withdrawal. But he also knew how to use the Orwellian language that Western media relish eg. calling the current violence the "intifada of peace", evoking sympathy by describing his heartbreak at seeing Israeli settlements, representing Palestinian maximalism as Israeli intrasigence.

PM Sharon has said that Barghouti will be put on trial. Apparently there was a warrant issued for Barghouti accusing him of various things such as being an accomplice to attempted murder and unlicensed weapon possession. Hmmm.. these charges seem to miss the point, don't they?. Emphasizing legalisms instead of common sense is a hallmark of the European approach and most definitely NOT in Israel's interest.

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