Marwan Barghouti, serving five life terms in prison for involvement in murderous attacks on Israelis, told CNN that he has not changed his political views and that he expects to be one of hundreds of terrorists Hamas wants released for the safe return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Barghouti evaded answering whether he would return to violence if freed.
Barghouti is considered the most popular personality in the Palestinian Authority, and although he is a member of the Fatah faction, the rival Hamas party is interested in including him in an exchange for Shalit in order to pave the road for a reunification of the two parties. Several months ago, Barghouti said he does not see any difference between Hamas and Fatah.
“I have high hopes and expectations to be released in this deal,” he told the interviewer.
Barghouti dodged giving direct answers to several questions. When asked if the "resistance” movement includes bombings, Barghouti answered, “What I mean by resistance is the one that is permitted under international law and has international legitimacy…. It is the right of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli military and settlement occupation.”
Concerning the likelihood that he would run in elections for PA chairman if freed, Barghouti answered that he would make the “appropriate decision…when we are capable of holding elections.”
He explicitly said that his years in prison have not changed his political views and added be believes “in a two-state solution living side by side in peace and security, based on a total Israel surrender from all land restored to the Jewish State in the Six-Day War in 1967.
The convicted terrorist stated that several Knesset Members have visited him in his Negev cell, where he has been granted special conditions, but that "not one single Israeli official has met with me." He referred to his arrest in 2002 as a "kidnapping."