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Thursday, May 20, 2004


An Israeli protester holds a picture of a woman killed
during the Palestinian uprising, at the end of Marwan
Barghouthi's hearing in a Tel Aviv District Court, May
20, 2004. REUTERS/ Nir Elias

JPost: The Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday convicted West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti in the deaths of 5 Israelis.

Barghouti was convicted of four of the 37 terror attacks he was charged with orchestrating, including three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. In addition, he was convicted of membership of a terrorist organization.

The judges said that, even though it was clear Barghouti was involved in the other terrorist attacks, there was not enough concrete evidence to link him with the rest of the cases, as required by Israeli law.

The verdict stated that Barghouti, in his capacity as commander of the both the Fatah-Tanzim and the al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades in the West Bank, he was responsible for all of the terror organizations' military activities.

It also said that, in this position "he was a direct subordinate of Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat. His military actions were intrinsically connect to his political work, as secretary general of the Fatah in the West Bank and member of the Palestinian parliament."
According to a Justice Ministry spokesman, Barghouti "can expect multiple life sentences."


Barghouti, speaking at the trial, said, "We the Palestinians believe in peace, the Intifadah has been an effort to achieve a peace process."

MK Ahmed Tibi (yes, an Arab member of Israel's Knesset, duly elected) said, "the occupation cannot judge the leaders of the Palestinian people and its freedom fighters."

Commenting on the verdict, Justice Minister Yosef Lapid said: "We may have to consider putting Arafat on trial one of these days."

Among the family members who demonstrated outside the courthouse, was Zion Sveri, whose three sons were murdered in a terror attack on the Modi’in Jerusalem highway in August of 2001. Sveri told Maariv Online, “I came to the trial to witness the sentence of Barghouti, who was convicted of murdering my children and probably many other children who were killed by his operatives. There is no death sentence in Israel so I hope he will rot in prison for the rest of his life”. (Maariv)

UPDATE: The other day, I turned on NPR at three various times during the day when I was in the car; all three times they were discussing the Abu Grahib scandal. This morning, coming home from bringing my daughter to school, I heard their coverage of this trial. Barghouti was quoted at length about the illegitimacy of the Israeli court and prosecutors. No one else was quoted. Oh yeah, and they called him an "activist" (he's a terrorist murderer).