JERUSALEM — European countries, particularly France, feel solidarity with, and favor the release from Israeli prison of Marwan Barghouti, a convicted murderer and terror-group founder who is seen by many Palestinians as a potential top leader, Barghouti’s wife said in an exclusive interview.
“After the abduction (by Israeli security forces) of Marwan I visited 26 countries, including many European states,” said Fadwa Barghouti, speaking from Ramallah to WND’s Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein and ABC Radio’s John Batchelor on Batchelor’s national program. (Download audio file to listen to part 1 of the interview.)
“I met a lot of officials who feel solidarity with Marwan Barghouti. He is president of the French-Palestinian Friendship Club and has a lot of support, especially from France and the European parliament.”
Asked if she expects her husband will become a future president of the Palestinian Authority, Fadwa replied, “He is a real son of the Palestinian street and Palestinian people. He is always prepared for all kinds of sacrifices. He has a lot of symbolism to the Palestinian people.”
Marwan Barghouti, now a member of the Palestinian parliament, is founder of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terror group that has carried out scores of suicide bombings, deadly shooting attacks and hundreds of rocket firings at Jewish communities near Gaza. He is serving multiple life terms for his role in killing five Israeli civilians.
He is also the confessed architect of the Palestinian intifada that began in 2000, killing 993 Israelis and 3,777 Palestinians.
Barghouti successfully ran in last month’s Palestinian elections, stressing as part of his election platform his efforts in planning the intifada. According to multiple polls, he enjoys widespread Palestinian support and is favored as a potential PA president.
As reported by WorldNetDaily, Palestinian officials and some Israeli organizations have been pressing for Barghouti’s freedom, claiming he is a moderate and can help offset the recent Hamas election victory.
There have been reports, particularly in the Arab media, of a prisoner exchange deal that would involve the United States releasing imprisoned Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in return for Israel freeing Barghouti.
Al-Arabiya, one of the largest Arab satellite networks, has been editorializing for a Pollard-Barghouti deal.
Fadwa claimed she did not have any information on the issue. (Download audio file to listen to part 2 of the interview.)
“The release of Marwan is in itself a very positive point. It would be a possibility for Israel to show its good intentions, that they really do want to make peace. I don’t want to connect the release of Marwan with anything else.”
Pollard worked as a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst and was convicted in 1985 of one count of passing classified information to an ally, Israel, and sentenced to life imprisonment in spite of a plea agreement that was to spare him a life sentence.
He previously told WND he was opposed to being released alongside Barghouti.
Officially, Israel has said it is opposed to releasing Barghouti, but several Israeli officials have stated the government might free the senior terrorist at some point.
Prior to Israel’s Gaza withdrawal, Israeli Interior Minister Avraham Poraz speculated, “We are looking for a partner for the Gaza withdrawal. It seems that this will have to include releasing prisoners … [perhaps even] including Barghouti.”
Far-leftist Israeli lawmaker Yossi Beilin, an architect of the Oslo Accords, claimed releasing Barghouti would help promote democracy in the PA.
“Barghouti heads one of the Palestinian camps that do want peace,” Beilin said, “and so this is the moment to end his sentence … in preparation for an historical peace agreement with Israel.”
Recently asked if he supported freeing Barghouti, Israeli Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit replied, “Never say never.”
Barghouti himself has said he is confident he will be released soon.
In an interview this past summer with Israel’s leading newspaper Yediot Aharonot, Barghouti, speaking from his prison cell, boasted, “By the end of this year, I will be out of here.”