Former leader of the leftist Meretz Party and former Labor Deputy Justice Minister Yossi Beilin has called on Israel to immediately release arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti.
Barghouti is serving five life terms in an Israeli prison for his masterminding and involvement in deadly terror attacks against Israelis. He was one of several arch-terrorists whom Prime MInister Netanyahu insisted were left out of the recent deal to release abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
“We made a big mistake not to release him on our own,” Beilin told Shalom Yerushalmi of the Israeli Ma’ariv newspaper. “Soon there will be presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority. Barghouti will be a candidate and will win, and then there will be international pressure on Israel to release the jailed president. Why do we need this? We could have released him now as part of the deal with Hamas and then he would not be portrayed as a collaborator.”
Beilin added, “Barghouti is a political leader, not a terrorist, even if he led others to use terror and was responsible for the second intifada.” He did not explain how a mass murderer can be considered a legitimate political leader.
Beilin was previously a member of both the Labor Party and the far-left Meretz party, which he headed between 2003 and 2006, during the period in which they were reduced to 5 Knesset seats.
He was the prime architect of the disastrous Oslo Accords, meeting PLO representatives in Oslo secretly until the outline of the plan was completed.
He also created the Geneva Initiative, which proposed that Israel give up the Temple Mount and much of eastern and northern Jerusalem. The initiative would commit Israel to the "right of return" to both the descendants of Arabs who fled Israel during the War of Independence and the countries in which they live. In addition, it would require Israel to release all PA Arab prisoners, including those convicted of murder.
It would also put third parties, among them the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia in charge of enforcing implementation of the plan.
The Geneva Initiative was publicized on December 1, 2003, after two years of secret planning, at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland. It has been widely rejected by Israelis and Arabs alike. PA leaders have said it is not good enough and rejected the clauses that would see Israel retain access to the Old City and the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem, would allow for some Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria to remain in exchange for land from within 1948 Israel, and would leave the PA state demilitarized.
In the Ma’ariv interview, Beilin rejected the argument that the Oslo Accords brought about the 2000 Oslo War, in which more than a 1,000 Israelis were killed as a result of terror attacks by Palestinian Authority-based terror groups.
“Yitzchak Rabin would have continued Oslo and reached a permanent agreement with [former PA Chairman] Yasser Arafat in 1999, but Yigal Amir came, assassinated Rabin and killed our way in the process,” Beilin said. This is a popular leftist belief which, of course, has no way of being proven.
Rabin expressed very strong doubts about the Oslo Accords and called Beilin by the derogatory nickname "Peres' poodle" in the early 1990s. Peres was then Rabin's political rival.
Beilin added, “The people who brought the terror attacks are the people who did not go Rabin’s way. The person who opened the big wave of terror attacks in the mid-nineties was Baruch Goldstein in the Cave of the Patriarchs. The extremists have done everything in their power to prevent Oslo. After Rabin’s assassination, Netanyahu won the election. He did not cancel Oslo but did not fulfill the agreement either,” blaming Israel rather than Arafat, for the Intifada.