Truce in Israel?

By Michael Evans

Marwan Barghouti, the first Palestinian prisoner to be tried in Israel since the signing of the Oslo Accords, has negotiated a three-month hudna (truce). Barghouti, a leader of Arafat’s Fatah movement is on trial for his role in attacks that killed 26 Israelis.

In the last few weeks, he has been forwarding documents to Khaled Mashal of Hamas and Ramadan Shalah of Islamic Jihad in Damasus. Last Thursday, a senior Hamas envoy went from Damascus to Cairo to deliver the Barghouti document to Egypt, according to a Palestinian source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Palestine legislator Kadoura Fares announced that after weeks of intensive negotiations, the Palestinian dialogue has resulted in a cease-fire agreement for a period of three months.

Marwan Barghouti, 43, is the first Palestinian political leader to be tried in Israel since the signing of the now-defunct Oslo Accords. With the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, Israel stopped arresting and putting senior Palestinian figures on trial. The Palestinian Authority was largely permitted to handle issues of law and order in areas under its control, an arrangement that held until the Palestinian uprising broke out.

Barghouti was since indicted in a Tel Aviv district court on charges of murder, attempted murder and involvement in terrorist organizations. According to the highlights of the charge sheet released by the Justice Ministry, he had authority over the Fatah Tanzim and the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank, and was a major participant in the decision-making process in those organizations.

Israel feels this is a trick to get the terrorist out of jail, give the terror organizations time to rearm and the terrorists time to regroup and attempt to legitimize suicide bombing as armed struggle rather than terrorism – something they believe that three of the four members of the quartet (the U.N., the E.U. and Russia) would accept who join the U.S. as sponsors of the so-called roadmap peace deal.

On Saturday, June 28, hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the center of Ramallah calling for the release of all prisoners from Israeli jails. Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas told the crowd, “There will be no peace and security as long as there is one prisoner behind bars.”

Jericho is the home of Hamdi Koraan and Bassel Assmar, two of the three terrorists who have been in jail for the killing of the minister of tourism, Rehavam Zeevi – a sixth-generation Jerusalemite. During October of 2001, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Jerusalem, he was shot twice in the head outside of his eighth-floor room on Mount Scopus. His wife, returning to their room on the eighth floor of the hotel, discovered him in the hallway just before 7:00 a.m. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine sent three terrorists to the hotel to kill him.

Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, in his four-hour meeting with Condoleezza Rice in the West Bank city of Jericho, pressed demands for the release of political prisoners held by Israel, a full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian territories and a freeze on Jewish settlement activity there. Palestinian Cabinet Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said “the meeting was very positive,” with American officials showing an “understanding” for Palestinian demands.

Rice told Abbas that he was invited to meet with President Bush. Sources report Abbas declined unless Arafat was to be included. President Bush has never met with Arafat, and made the roadmap release conditional on Arafat not being in charge and Abbas being confirmed as prime minister.

In Abbas’ confirmation speech to the Palestine Executive Committee, he said, “I will do everything possible to secure the release of our honorable hero, Marwan Barghouti.”

The militant Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups announced Sunday they are suspending attacks against Israel for three months.

But, there are also a few problems. Terrorist states continue to fund, train and supply terrorists – such as Syria and Iran – along with a myriad of terrorist organizations, such as the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Fatah-Revolutionary Council (Abu Nidal), Fatah Tanzim, Force 17, Hezbollah (Party of God), Palestine Liberation Front, and others.

Also, if the U.S buys into this, it will require the dumbing down of America to sell it! It violates the Bush doctrine on terrorism by rewarding and negotiating with terrorists – something President Bush refused to do in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Finally, the following is a translation of the terrorist’s Statement Of Initiative:

In the name of Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate

Out of our desire for the unity of the Palestinian ranks at this dangerous phase which our people and our cause are going through, and in order to protect our national unity achieved through the intifada and the resistance and documented by the blood of the martyrs, and as our contribution to consolidating Palestinian national dialogue on the basis of adherence to the rights of our people, and in order to protect our internal front from the danger of schism and confrontation, and in order to prevent the enemy from having any excuse to wreck it, and in an assertion of the legitimate right to resist the occupation as a strategic option until the end of the Zionist occupation of our homeland, and until we achieve all our national rights, and in response to efforts by many in the Palestinian and Arab arena who care about the unity of the Palestinian national ranks, we declare the following initiative:

A. Suspension of the military operations against the Zionist enemy for three months, effective today, in return for the following conditions:

1. An immediate cessation of all forms of Zionist aggression against our Palestinian people including incursions, demolitions, closures and sieges on cities, villages and refugee camps. This includes the siege imposed on President Yasser Arafat, house demolitions, bulldozing of agricultural land and assaults against land, property and Christian and Islamic holy sites, especially the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque. In addition, the immediate cessation of all individual assassination operations, massacres, all arrests and deportations against our people, leaders, cadres and fighters.

2. The release of all prisoners and detainees, Palestinian and Arab, from occupation prisons without condition or restriction and the return to their homes, first and foremost of those who have spent long periods and those with lengthy sentences, women, children, the sick and elderly.

B. In the event that the enemy does not heed these conditions and commitments, or breaches any of them, we see ourselves unencumbered by this initiative and we hold the enemy responsible for the consequences. Signed, Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), Islamic Jihad.