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Poor Marwan!
by Ariel Natan Pasko
18 September 2003Yassar Arafat

Marwan Barghouti, founder of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, sits in an Israeli prison even as Yassar Arafat, the founder of modern-day terrorism, enjoys the protection of the world community. 


Poor Marwan Barghouti. While Yasser Arafat gets thousands to rally at the Mukatah in Ramallah, after Israel "threatened" to "remove" him; while Arafat gets political leaders worldwide to call on Israel to leave him alone; while Arafat gets all 15 members of the UN Security Council to pressure Israel not to expel him; Marwan languishes in an Israeli prison. It just isn't fair.

A member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Marwan Barghouti founded the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade. As leader of the Fatah-Tanzim terrorist organization, Barghouti is on trial for overseeing dozens of terror attacks and direct responsibility for at least fourteen murders. Israeli forces captured Barghouti in April 2002. He was arrested, together with his nephew, in a building only 500 meters from Arafat's Mukatah compound. His nephew, Ahmed Barghouti, received thirteen life sentences in July by the Ofer Military Court, for his part in the terrorist murder of twelve Israelis and the wounding of dozens of others. Marwan is still in the trial stage.

In addition to his terrorist exploits, Marwan Barghouti has made statements such as, "After we attain a Palestinian state [in Judea and Samaria], there will be greater things for which to strive...There is no room for more than one state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean." Nothing particularly radical in comparison to what Yasser Arafat has said or done for years. Yet Arafat--as head of Fatah--who personally authorized many funds later used by Barghouti for terror attacks, isn't being tried. Israel can't even "threaten" to expel him.

Of course, Arafat can count among his supporters, Israeli Labor Party leader and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres and much of the Labor Party leadership, the two Yossis--Beilin and Sarid--and ultra-leftist leader Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom (the peace bloc). In defiance of the Israeli Army ban on entering PA autonomous areas, radical left-wing activists led by Uri Avnery joined together with Arabs in a show of support for Arafat. The supporters visited with Arafat in his Mukatah headquarters in Ramallah, vowing to act as human shields against Israeli forces, should they attempt to harm him. Marwan can't count on that type of support from such heavy-hitters on the Israeli left. Poor Marwan.

And while I'm at it, I might as well mention the wheelchair bound Hamas "spiritual" leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who just recently dodged an Israeli assassination attempt. Why go after him? It just isn't fair. Arafat continues to avoid trial or assassination, though he has a much longer record of killing Jews than Barghouti and Yassin combined, and poor Sheikh Yassin almost bites it. Maybe an old gray religiously fanatical paraplegic terrorist just doesn't garner sympathy on the world stage, as an old gray unshaven dumpy little terrorist like Arafat.

Maybe it's Arafat's support from people like Peres, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former US President Jimmy Carter, French President Jacques Chirac and Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, European Union Foreign Minister Javier Solana, and other world leaders. The Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio said that Spain considered Arafat part of the "solution" to the conflict in the Middle East. Even the US warned Israel not to harm Arafat.

But why? Why should small fry like Barghouti, Yassin, Rantisi, Abu Shanab, and others get killed or incarcerated, while the grand-daddy of them all, founder of modern-day terrorism, Yasser Arafat still walks free on the world stage of politics?

Poor Marwan, if I were him--thank G-D I'm not--I'd be asking just such a question. It just isn't fair.

Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in describing the recent Israeli Security Cabinet's decision to "remove" Arafat, said that "killing [Arafat] is definitely one of the options" under consideration by the Israeli government. "We are trying to eliminate all the heads of terror, and Arafat is one of the heads of terror," Olmert told Israel Radio. "In my eyes, from a moral point of view, this is no different from killing others who were involved in acts of terror." But Marwan still languishes in prison and Hamas leaders still walk in fear of missile attack, while Arafat is defended by the world. It just isn't fair!

Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. His articles can be read at: www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko.

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