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.
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.