Marwan Bin Khatib Barghouti (Arabic:
مروان البرغوثي ) Palestinian political leader and terrorist, was born June
6, 1959 (or 1958) in Ramallah. He joined the
at age 15 and was arrested in 1976 and jailed by Israel. During his time in jail
he learned some Hebrew.
holds a BA in history and political sciences from Bir Zeit University and a
masters in international relations. He was active in organizing the Shabiba
youth movement during his studies in Bir Zeit, and was banned from the
West Bank for his role in organizing the first Intifadah in 1987. Thereafter he
directed the Intifada from Amman, Jordan until 1992, where he was also,
apparently, coordinator with
In 1993 Barghouti returned to the West Bank
thanks to the
Declaration of Principles and in April
1994 and took over as secretary general of Fatah in the West Bank, the dominant
group in the Palestinian Legislative Council.
In the 1995 election, Barghouti won a seat on the Palestinian Legislative
Council standing as an independent candidate. He was not favored by
Yasser Arafat, and the PLO-Tunis establishment, who ensured that he
was not on the Fatah-Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) list.
Barghouti was active in advocating reform in the PNA and in political
organization of the Fatah. He is considered to represent the Palestinian "young
guard" and the interests of residents of the West Bank and Gaza as opposed to
the "outsiders" of PLO Tunis.
In 2000, Barghouti, by his own admission, played a key role in instigating
the second Intifada. In an interview with Al Ayyam, London, published on
September 29, 2001, Barghouti explained:
- "I knew that the end of the month of September  would be the last
opportunity before the explosion, but when Sharon arrived at the Al Aqsa Mosque
it was the strongest (most suitable) moment for the breakout of the Intifada.
This is because the subject concerns Jerusalem, and even more it regards Al
Aqsa. The meaning of this - setting fire to the entire region and specifically
[due to the fact] that the issue of Al Aqsa inflames and ignites the
sensibilities of the masses."
- I saw within the situation a historic opportunity to ignite the conflict.
The strongest conflict is the one that initiated from Jerusalem due to the
sensitivity of the city, its uniqueness and its special place in the hearts of
the masses who are willing to sacrifice themselves [for her] with not even
thinking of the cost.
During the second Intifada, Barghouti organized the Tanzim and
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and was a central figure (and probably the
organizer) of the "National and Islamic Front" which included extremist
Fatah activists, extreme Marxist PLO factions such as the DFLP and PFLP, and the
and Islamic Jihad, groups that do not belong the the PLO. Al-Aqsa martyrs
brigades were responsible for numerous terror hits in Israel and was identified
as a terrorist group by the US State Department. Barghouti was captured by
Israel in March of 2002, tried and convicted of the murders of five people on
June 6, 2004. He was sentenced to 5 consecutive life sentences. He claimed he
did not recognize the jurisdiction of the court.
According to Palestinian sources, Barghouti considers any Palestinian who
bargains over the 1967 borders a traitor, and believes that this issue may lead
to the destruction of the Palestinian people. In a
Washington Post article, Barghouti claimed he advocates recognition of
Israel, and a peace solution based on 1967 borders and a "just solution" of the
refugee problem based on UN resolutions, without mentioning the right of return
specifically. Barghouti does not consider that the US can be an impartial
mediator and would favor European intervention.
In late 2004, following the death of
Yasser Arafat, Barghouthi
was touted as a candidate for the office of PNA President and initially
attracted a great deal of popular support. At first it appeared that Fatah
officials had dissuaded him from running, but he reversed his decision, and was
registered as a candidate by his wife. The Fatah leadership announced that he
was expelled from the Fatah, and that the Fatah would have only one candidate.
However, that was hardly the end of Barghouti's influence. He was apparently
instrumental in organizing the famous 2006
Letter which bears the stamp of his political views - no compromise over
right of return of Palestinian refugees or 1967 borders, and unity of all
Palestinian factions. The Hamas insisted that he must be part of any prisoner
exchange deal that would free Israeli captured soldier Gilad Shalit. Barghouti
is favored in Palestinian opinion polls to succeed
Mahmoud Abbas as President ("rais") of the Palestinian Authority.
Synonyms and alternate spellings:
Further Information: Marwan
Barghouti Recent history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict