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"First-Degree Terror Architect" Barghouti on Trial

The trial of Marwan Barghouti, termed a "first-degree architect of terrorism" by Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein, resumed this morning in the Tel Aviv District Court.
First Publish: 7/14/2003, 11:59 AM

The trial of Marwan Barghouti, termed a "first-degree architect of terrorism" by Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein, resumed this morning in the Tel Aviv District Court. The leader of the Tanzim terrorist organization, Barghouti is on trial for overseeing dozens of terror attacks and direct responsibility for at least 14 murders. He refused to testify today, saying that in any event he will not receive a fair trial. Barghouti said that Rubenstein should not have said that he was a terrorist while his trial is ongoing - and Judge Sarah Sirota, the court's Deputy Chief Justice, agreed. Rubenstein made the statement in a letter to Prime Minister Sharon when it was announced that the latter was considering releasing Barghouti.

A mini-disturbance was caused when 20 extreme-left Gush Shalom activists suddenly pulled out signs reading, "Barghouti up for negotiations - not to prison." Court security personnel forcibly removed them from the courtroom.

Israeli forces arrested Barghouti, Secretary-General of the Fatah-Tanzim terrorist organization, as a 54th Independence Day present in April 2002. He was taken, together with his nephew, from a building only 500 meters from Arafat's Mukata compound. In addition to his terrorist exploits, 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."

A member of the Palestinian legislature, Barghouti founded the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, which was later outlawed by the U.S. and which is responsible for killing scores of Israelis. Yasser Arafat personally authorized many funds later used by Barghouti for terror attacks. Barghouti was responsible for, among others, the following murderous attacks:

* the shooting attack at a Bar Mitzvah in Hadera in January 2002 in which six Israelis were murdered;
* the murder of a Greek Orthodox monk on the highway to Maaleh Adumim in June 2001;
* the shooting spree in downtown Jerusalem the same month in which two women were killed;
* three attacks in February 2002 in which two Israelis were murdered and two policemen were wounded;
* the murder of three Jews at a Tel Aviv restaurant,
and many other attempted human-bomb murder attempts.