Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti on Tuesday accused the Palestinian Authority of not doing enough to secure secure his release.
Barghouti’s accusations came on the 11th anniversary of his imprisonment for his role in terror attacks against Israelis.
In 2004, Barghouti, who is an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was convicted of five counts of murder.
In statements to a number of Palestinian media outlets, Barghouti said: “It’s impossible to explain the official silence. For the first time in history, parliamentarians of an occupied people are detained, harassed and tortured while the international community and the Palestinian [leadership] remain silent. This is something that can’t be explained.”
Barghouti said that the Israeli government refused to release him as part of the prisoner swap with Hamas in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
“Frankly, I believe that there wasn’t enough pressure or efforts to force Israel to release me and the prisoners,” Barghouti said. “The case of the prisoners was not on the agenda of the negotiations for the past 20 years.”
He said that it was “unjust and nationally irrational that Palestinian fighters” remain in prison for 20 years after the signing of the Oslo Accords.
“This is a real tragedy resulting from the Palestinian leadership’s shortcomings and negligence,” he added. “It’s time for the Palestinian leadership to start dealing in a more responsible way with this important national issue.”
Barghouti said that he was spending most of his time in prison studying and teaching inmates.
Referring to renewed US efforts to revive peace talks between the PA leadership and Israel, Barghouti said that what was needed now was not the resumption of negotiations, but an Israeli-American commitment to “end occupation and withdraw to the 1967 borders.”
He added: “There is no need for new negotiations which will be a waste of time and a cover for aggression, occupation and settlements.”
Barghouti said that the time has come for the PA leadership to be honest with its people and declare the failure of the peace process.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Barghouti-accuses-PA-of-not-working-to-secure-his-release-310040