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Barghouti dismisses Trump’s peace aspirations as ‘conspiracy of the century’

File picture of a man running past a poster of Palestinian hunger-striker and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 3, 2017
ABBAS MOMANI (AFP)
On anniversary of arrest, Barghouti backs Palestinians' right to 'resist' Israel by 'all forms and methods'

Imprisoned Fatah leader and Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Barghouti dismissed US President Donald Trump’s aspirations for Israeli-Palestinian peace as the “conspiracy of the century” and urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to remain steadfast in his rejection of any proposal put forth by Washington.

Barghouti, currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for his role in deadly terror attacks during the second intifada (uprising), gave Abbas his full backing against “international, regional and Israeli pressure” in a message released from his prison cell on the sixteenth anniversary of his arrest by Israeli forces and published by the Palestine News Network.

Ramallah officially severed ties with the Trump administration’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and amid talk of Trump’s “deal of the century” peace proposal. There has been no contact between the two parties.

Barghouti called on Abbas and the Palestinian leadership not to negotiate with any Israeli government not committed to the “principle of ending the occupation and withdrawing to the 1967 borders, and recognizes the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Musa AL SHAER (AFP)

Barghouti has remained politically active behind bars and is a popular figure among Palestinians who have tipped him among likely candidates to succeed 83-year-old Abbas.

Barghouti voiced support for Palestinians’ “right to resist Israeli colonialism in all forms and methods,” apparently referencing armed attacks which he said should be limited to within the “1967 occupied territories”, referring to East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, which Israel captured in the Six Day War.

The wider Palestinian “struggle”, he said, should focus on supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), Jerusalem and its Arab residents, and the Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.

He also called for Palestinians to participate in mass protests organized by Hamas and other factions taking place along the Gaza border.

While backing Abbas’ severing of ties with Washington, Barghouti criticized his handling of domestic Palestinian affairs, in particular, the floundering attempt to reconcile with Fatah’s rivals Hamas -- which operates a parallel government in the Gaza Strip.

ABBAS MOMANI (AFP/File)

Barghouti called on Abbas to “take decisive steps to put the Palestinian house in order, unify the Palestinian people, restore democracy and form a Palestinian unity government that would prepare for holding new elections and lead efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip.”

He advocated for a national Palestinian conference with the participation of all factions -- including terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad which he said should be included under the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) umbrella group.

Abbas’ Fatah and the Islamist Hamas have failed to implement a reconciliation framework signed in October last year aimed at ending a decade-long split between the rival Palestinian factions.

It was hoped that reconciliation could alleviate humanitarian suffering in Gaza, home to some two million people.

The reconciliation deal was also seen by some as a strategy for the Palestinians to face down an increasingly hostile US administration and right-wing Israeli government.

Hamas and Fatah traded blame for what could turn out to be a gradual abandonment of the accord.

AFP contributed to this report.

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