Marwan Barghhouti
Photo: Reuters

Free Marwan Barghouti

Op-ed: Releasing idolized Palestinian leader will pave the way for a two-state solution that will save us from ruin

According to my understanding of the changing Middle East, the only person who can be elected enthusiastically by both segments of the Palestinian nation and be a real partner for peace is Marwan Barghhouti. I am aware of his actions and trial, and it will not be easy to face the uproar such decision would stir in Israel, but only such a bold move can jumpstart a car that has been stuck for 100 years and has caused so much death on our side and theirs.


Only courageous and unacceptable measures can get us out of the anomaly of two tribes that have been killing each other's members for more than 100 years and are fighting for the same land, which is filling up with graves.


There are legal or political ways to bring about Barghouti's release. For example, the president can pardon him. This would be a true act for the sake of peace, which Peres, our Nobel Peace Prize laureate, strives for. This may be the last chance to have Jonathan Pollard released in exchange for setting Barghouti free.


Such measures have been taken throughout history. Many truths have two sides – one person can be called a terrorist by some and a freedom fighter by others. He can be idolized by his own people and hated by his enemies. Only a blind man does not see this and cannot understand this. And these words are coming from a blind man who wants to see peace in his lifetime.


The upcoming visits of President Obama and his energetic secretary of state to Israel and the Palestinian Authority present an opportunity for original activity of this kind – activity that will break the ice and the Bennett and will restore to our new government the Bar-Ilan speech, which expressed the beginning of sanity in the highest levels of the political establishment. It also expressed the weariness from war and the willingness of a society that wants to live to reach a fair and painful compromise, which the majority of people in Israeli society, Palestinian society and the US already agree to.


Stanley Fischer recently said that Uncle Sam "is not as rich and friendly as he used to be." It is a blessing that despite its financial woes, the US still considers peace in the Middle East a worthy cause (no less than the Far East) and is willing to invest good will, effort and money to bring it about and prevent an uncontrollable eruption of violence, or in other words: A third world war.


My suggestion will infuriate the Israeli nation, which has lost its mind because of bereavement. Our nation works hard, but the fruits of its labor are used to make weapons of destruction. Our nation has lost its way, but it knows it will be able to say "we made it!" only after an interim agreement on two states in this little strip of land will be reached. Our nation is angry with Moses for not taking us to Scandinavia, but still loves this land with all its heart and soul and is willing to share it.


One last word to those who will be angry over my proposal: Turn your anger against all the mistakes that have led us to this shameful situation and understand that compromise will save us from ruin. We must take advantage of the momentum of Obama's visit.


Marwan Barghouti is the partner who is most idolized by his people. He has had enough time in prison to think of a solution. He is stronger and more loved than Abbas and is certainly preferable to Khaled Mashaal. I ask Netanyahu and Obama to consider it. And I ask of the public: Be angry with me, but support my proposal after reconsidering it, for the sake of generations to come.



פרסום ראשון: 02.18.13, 10:59
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