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Marwan Barghouti

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Marwan Barghouti

Marwan Bin Khatib Barghouti (Arabic: مروان البرغوثي )  Palestinian political leader and terrorist, was born June 6, 1959 (or 1958) in Ramallah. He joined the Fatah at age 15 and was arrested in 1976 and jailed by Israel. During his time in jail he learned some Hebrew.

Barghouti 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 PLO Tunis.

In 1993 Barghouti returned to the West Bank thanks to the Oslo 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 [2000] 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 Islamist groups Hamas 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 Palestinian Prisoners' 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

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Pronunciation - Arabic and Hebrew vowels are pronounced differently than in English. "o" is very short. The "a" is usually pronounced like the "a" in market, sometimes as the "a" in "Arafat."  The " 'A " is guttural.  " 'H "- the 'het ('Hirbeh, 'Hebron, 'Hisbollah') designates a sound somewhat similar to the ch in "loch" in Scots pronunciation, but made by touching the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The CH should be pronounced like Loch, a more assertive consonant than 'het.

The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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Marwan Barghouti