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Oslo Architect Praises Barghouti as "Partner in Peace"

"You are a true partner for peace," wrote Dr. Ron Pundak to Marwan Barghouti - who was recently convicted of murdering five Israelis. At least one Likud leader demands that Pundak be fired from the Peres Peace Center.
First Publish: 8/25/2004, 3:08 PM / Last Update: 8/25/2004, 11:37 AM

"You are a true partner for peace," the Director-General of the Peres Center for Peace, Dr. Ron Pundak, wrote recently to Marwan Barghouti - who was recently convicted of murdering five Israelis and sentenced to several life terms in prison. The court found that Barghouti was also indirectly responsible for the murder of some 30 other Israelis.

A senior aide in the Prime Minister's Office, Yoel Hason, demands that Pundak - one of the two architects of the original Oslo Accords - be fired. "I am stunned at the crooked thinking that led the Director of the Peres Peace Center to call a cruel murderer like Barghouti a 'friend' and a 'true partner in peace,'" wrote Hason to Labor Chairman Shimon Peres. "I am sure you are as shocked as I am by the acts of Dr. Ron Pundak, which are not only in opposition to the essence of the Peres Peace Center, but are also a disgrace to those men, women and children for whose murder Barghouti was directly responsible. I turn to you with the unambiguous demand to fire Dr. Pundak from the Peres Center. His continued employment at the Center that bears your name disgraces you."

Maariv, which reported Hason's letter today, reported on the original Pundak letter to Barghouti yesterday. Pundak wrote to the Fatah-Tanzim commander, "From knowing you, I am certain that the chains and bars will not weaken your resolve on the way to achieving peace. You may me encouraged by the fact that a large number of Israelis see in you a real partner. Your arrest is a terrible mistake, and I can only regret that the political and security leadership of Israel arrested you... I hope you are feeling well. The Palestinian people now needs, more than ever before, a young leadership that will lead it to peace and independence."

Pundak, who was a partner to the secret Oslo negotiations, spoke with Arutz-7 in 2000 on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the Oslo Accords. Asked what he felt were Israel's practical gains from the Oslo process, Pundak responded, "First of all, Israel is currently at the pinnacle of the process that I hope will lead to a final agreement between Israel and a Palestinian state..." He said this two weeks before the current Oslo War broke out.