Nationalist MKs Decry Pro-Barghouti Political Chorus

MKs Eldad, Ben-Ari and Matalon angered by ministers Ezra and Braverman who voiced support for Fatah murderer after his election to Fatah council.

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Gil Ronen,

MK Michael Ben-Ari
MK Michael Ben-Ari
Israel news photo: (Flash 90)

A government minister and Knesset members from the Left voiced support for freeing terrorist Marwan Barghouti Tuesday after he was elected to the top spot on the Fatah terror group’s central council.

Minister for Minorities Avishai Braverman (Labor) said Tuesday that the government “should seriously consider releasing Marwan Barghouti from Israeli jail” following the Fatah convention.

“In light of the elections for the Fatah council we should consider his release in order to create a strong and moderate political leadership among the Palestinians,” Braverman said. “Barghouti can apparently provide the goods and strengthen the moderate stream that supports a diplomatic solution with Israel.”

MK Gideon Ezra (Kadima) said that Barghouti should be released from jail because he is “the best obstacle in the way of Hamas.” Ezra told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew service that “Israel needs a strong man [at head of Fatah] who can negotiate. The fact that he was elected in the Fatah convention proves that this is a strong man who is vital for Israel.”

Asked whether the fact that Barghouti murdered Israelis does not bother him, the former minister said, “He did not personally murder but he sent the terrorists to murder and that is not the same thing.”

Indor: Ezra is a Terror Encourager
Meir Indor, who heads the Almagor Terror Victims’ group, reacted harshly to Gideon Ezra’s call to free Marwan Barghouti. “Ezra, with his conciliatory words about a person who was among the leaders of the Intifada in which over a thousand Israelis were murdered, becomes an encourager of terror, and he should be treated as such,” he said.

Ezra’s statement “makes it easier to understand why the Shin Bet was in such shoddy shape when Ezra served there in the 1980s and 1990s,” Indor added.  

MK Chaim Oron (Meretz), who maintains steady contact with Barghouti and meets him in jail periodically said that he supports his release, but not because of the Fatah elections. “I have always noted Barghouti’s senior status and his ability to fulfill a central leadership role,” Oron explained.

MK Dov Chanin (Hadash) also said Barghouti should be freed. “His place is not in jail but at the negotiating table,” he explained.

Talk? ‘Only through crosshairs’
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) responded to these statements by saying that “only deaf and blind people can ignore the cries to destroy Israel that were made at the Fatah convention, and ignore the fact that they elected the murderer Barghouti and praised other terrorist murderers like those who carried out the terrible attack on the Coastal Road in which 37 Israelis were killed."

"Releasing Barghouti could reawaken a wave of terror attacks like those that he oversaw in the past,” Eldad warned.

MK Moshe Matalon (Israel Our Home) said: “I turn to those ‘delicate souls’ in the Knesset and government to avoid making such statements that weaken us… vis-à-vis… the Fatah members who only a few days ago announced shamelessly that they refuse to resume negotiations and that they will not give up Jerusalem as their capital. I ask those Knesset members – what is it precisely that makes this multiple murderer eligible for release from the Israeli jail?”

MK Michael Ben-Ari (NU) said that the Fatah convention proved yet again that the group is intent upon destroying Israel. “The only way to talk with terrorists,” he said, “is through crosshairs.”