Marwan Barghouti
Photo: AFP
Barghouti expects to be released in Shalit deal
In interview to CNN, jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti says he is included on Hamas' list of Palestinian prisoners to be released in exchange deal for captive soldier Gilad Shalit

Jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti hopes to be released in the near future. In an interview to CNN, Barghouti said, "I am part of the list that Hamas is negotiating over, and I have high hopes and expectations to be released in this deal."


Barghouti answered CNN's questions from his Hadarim prison cell via his attorney Khader Shkirat.


When asked how he feels about the impending deal in which some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners may be released in exchange for the one Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Barghouti said: "Israel is holding inside its prisons and detention facilities more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, some of whom have spent more than 32 years of their life inside prisons. Also, Israel detains hundreds of prisoners without trial or charges or anything.


"Israel is an occupying country that uses oppression and aggression against the Palestinians for decades. It confiscates land, builds illegal settlements, kills and assassinates, and arrests close to 500 Palestinians on a monthly basis, establishes and erects military checkpoints, besieges the Gaza strip."


He continued, "The Palestinians have one soldier to return for 10,000 prisoners, so it is natural to request the largest possible number. For Israel the soldier is the army, and the army means the state. So the deal will release 100% of Israelis in return for 10% of the Palestinian prisoners."


When asked about his approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has been described as one of "resistance and negotiation", he said: "All freedom movements negotiated and resisted, and what I mean by resistance is the one that is permitted under international law and has international legitimacy.


"At this stage the political, diplomatic and negotiating approach, in addition to the popular peaceful resistance, is an acceptable matter in keeping with the existing conditions. It is the right of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli military and settlement occupation which the International Court of Justice at The Hague has approved in addition to international law, the United Nations charter, and all religions."


Asked if his time in prison has changed his political views, he said, "Prison is a very harsh and bitter place especially since I spent most of my time in solitary confinement then in group confinement, but my political views have not changed.


"I believe in a two-state solution living side by side in peace and security, and I consider that the key to peace between Israelis and Palestinians is the end of the Israeli occupation and the withdrawal to 1967 borders. In the past, you criticized the Palestinian Authority for corruption. Do you think the Palestinian Authority needs change and reform and a period of leadership under younger politicians like yourself?


"The Palestinian Authority has come a long way in fighting and reforming corruption, but this is not enough. The Palestinian Authority needs to do more. It is unfortunate and sad that there have not been any sentences or charges against any of those corrupt officials until now. We are in need now to reinstate a transparent and independent justice system, and to establish rule of law and the cessation of human rights abuses, and strengthening the individual freedoms, the freedom of the press and fostering political pluralism."


 new comment
See all talkbacks "Barghouti expects to be released in Shalit deal"
This will delete your current comment