Writing on the liberal Arab website Elaph, Palestinian writer Majdi 'Abd Al-Wahhab discussed rumors regarding the possible release of Marwan Barghouti from Israeli prison. He argued that chances for this were nonexistent, first of all due to the current makeup of the Israeli government, but also due to Barghouti's own hard-line position, which advocates liberation through armed resistance. He added that, given these circumstances, Barghouti will only be released if Israel decides to expel all the Palestinians from the country, a catastrophe that has not yet occurred. In the meantime, he said, it is better if Barghouti and others like him remain behind bars rather than lead all the Palestinians to perdition.
Marwan Barghouti (Photo: Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London)
Following are excerpts from the article:
"A few days ago I was arguing with a friend about politics and about our situation today. After a heated argument about the dead end that the Palestinian issue has encountered and the dejection we are [all] feeling, my friend tried to reassure me that salvation was near. When I prompted him to explain his optimism, he told me that a friend of his whose son is in an Israeli prison met Marwan Barghouti, who told him of talks between himself and the Israeli authorities regarding certain solutions, and said that he would soon be released from prison and that the Palestinian issue would be settled.
"From that moment on, I could not stop thinking about what I had heard: Will Marwan [Barghouti] really be released, and is a solution truly at hand? To the best of my knowledge, Marwan Barghouti's release from the Israeli prison is no trivial matter, considering the current political [situation] in Israel. And if it does happen, it can only be as part of a political agreement that would constitute a substantial breakthrough in resolving the Palestinian issue. This is because neither Marwan nor the Palestinians will settle for less...
"After examining this issue from every side and analyzing it thoroughly... I concluded that there are only two options: either the friend who had told me this story was or is dreaming, or Marwan himself was or is dreaming. If it is former who was dreaming - that isn't so bad. But if it was Marwan who was dreaming - that is a serious disaster. Because what solution does Marwan think he can realize? What is he betting on? What will he negotiate for? How can he convince the Israelis to release the prisoners, starting with himself?
"These are just musings, because I know for sure that Marwan will not be released... He was placed in an Israeli prison because he champions the idea of liberation by means of [armed] resistance, and what has changed on this front? In effect, nothing! Has prison changed him? If he has changed and his ideology has changed - then [I say to him] welcome to our camp! But if he has not, then why would he be released? [And] how would his release affect us [Palestinians] and how would it help us?
"I have nothing left to say except this: if [Barghouti] is released, then this is a bad omen that means we are all on our way out - out of the country, never to return! Only [in such a situation] will I be convinced that Marwan is on his way out [of jail]! This, because his release without the necessary change will spell nothing but [the imminence of the Palestinians'] destruction, and I do not think that Israel believes we have arrived at the stage of destruction. This may yet happen, but only after several steps take place along the way. Therefore, I say to Marwan and to all his supporters and champions: Your time has not yet come to get out, by which I mean out of the country [to exile], not to out of prison. Stay where you are [i.e. in prison] and do not take us with you."
 Elaph.com, May 2, 2016.