Convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti has been elected to the Fatah faction's Central Committee. The decision was announced Tuesday morning at Fatah's sixth conference in Bethlehem. Also elected, according to the preliminary results, were Jibril Rajoub and Mohammed Dahlan. Not making the list was former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, who also served as head negotiator between the PA and Israel.
Barghouti, who enjoys broad support among local Arabs, is the head of Fatah's Tanzim terrorist group. He was originally predicted to win the Palestinian Authority elections following the death of PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, had he been allowed to run.
But Barghouti, a former Fatah secretary-general, is currently serving five life terms plus 40 years in an Israeli prison for masterminding and supervising numerous murders of Jewish men, women and children.
Among them was 17-year-old Ronen Landau, who was murdered in an ambush on the Ramot-Givat Ze'ev highway while driving home with his father in 2001. Barghouti was also responsible for organizing the attack that ended the life of 45-year-old Yoela Chen, who was shot to death at close range next to the Givonim gas station near Givat Ze'ev as she was heading to a family wedding.
Nevertheless, PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas expressed strong support throughout the conference for Barghouti's inclusion on the committee. Abbas, who was re-elected at the conference to another five-year term as Fatah's leader, said the Tanzim terror leader could be "Fatah's savior" in future.