Marwan Barghouti remains a hated figure in Israel for his involvement in terrorist activities during the second Intifada. However, his place as a national leader of the Palestinian people is unquestioned in the West Bank and Gaza. For this reason, Israelis will likely be seeing Barghouti on the other end of a negotiating table after his inevitable release from prison.
In a new book, smuggled out of jail page by page, Barghouti details his life behind bars in Israeli prisons. I have written a feature story about Barghouti’s new book, his current position inside Palestinian politics and where the campaign to free him is heading. You can read the whole piece at The National. Excerpts:
Fadwa Barghouti is a carefully appointed woman who has spearheaded her husband’s awareness campaign since the beginning of his current imprisonment. From the same village of Kober, Fadwa is a distant relative of Marwan, sharing the same fourth-generation great grandfather. Sitting in her comfortable office overlooking the Muqata compound where Yasser Arafat was confined by Israeli forces at the height of the Second Intifada, Fadwa remains confident that her husband will be released soon, but is visibly upset at the recent failure by Hamas to gain his freedom. “I know why he was not released,” she told me sipping sugary tea, “but I am not going to tell you.”
Sitting under the ubiquitous photo of her husband surrounded by Israeli prison guards with handcuffed hands held high, she glowingly reports that he is using his time in prison to enrich himself intellectually.
He is a ferocious reader, consuming books in English, Arabic, Hebrew and French on topics ranging from French colonial rule in Algeria to the latest biographies of the former US president Bill Clinton and Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister. He also has a deep respect for the work of Paulo Coehlo and the Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Liebowitz. Additionally, Barghouti has written two books and completed his PhD from the University of Cairo entitled, The Legislative and Political Performance of the Palestinian Legislative Council and its Contribution to the Democratic Process in Palestine from 1996 to 2008. His doctorate, like the recent book, was smuggled out of jail one page at a time and took years to complete.