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Marwan Barghouti's son threatens to expose corrupt PA officials

Palestinian Fatah leader Marwan Barghuti flashes the V-sign of victory as he is escorted by Israeli police into Jerusalem's Magistrate Court to testify as part of a US civil lawsuit against the Palestinian leadership, on 25 January 2012. [MARCO LONGARI/AFP via Getty Images]
Palestinian Fatah leader Marwan Barghuti flashes the V-sign of victory as he is escorted by Israeli police into Jerusalem's Magistrate Court to testify as part of a US civil lawsuit against the Palestinian leadership, on 25 January 2012. [MARCO LONGARI/AFP via Getty Images]

The son of senior Fatah leader and Palestinian MP Marwan Barghouti has threatened to expose corruption within Fatah, the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Rai Al-Youm reported on Wednesday.

In a letter addressed to his father uploaded on Facebook on 20 November, Qassam Barghouti said that he would reveal some of those whom he described as "corrupt traitors" who are preventing the release of his father from prison in Israel. The same people, he believes, have been involved in the arrest of many Palestinians and also helped to thwart a major hunger strike in Israeli jails in 2017, led by his father.

Quoting Israeli journalist Yoni Ben-Menachem, the UAE newspaper said that Marwan Barghouti is involved in a war against Mahmoud Abbas, who heads Fatah, the PA and the PLO. Barghouti accuses him of undermining his release as part of the prisoner swap reached between Israel and the Palestinian resistance in Gaza in 2011. The veteran activist has been held by Israel for 19 years.

Ben-Menachem cited a letter leaked from prison in which Barghouti criticised the normalisation of some Arab states with Israel and the resumption of the PA's security cooperation with the occupation state. The analyst for the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs claimed that Barghouti has started to empower his supporters within Fatah in the West Bank as they get ready for the struggle over who Abbas's successor will be. Sources close to Barghouti apparently believe that he is planning to stand as a candidate if and when the Palestinians are allowed to hold a presidential election, from his prison cell if he has not been released by then.

Hamas: PA's return to security cooperation with Israel foiled reconciliation

Fearing his influence and power, Ben-Menachem said that the PA sought help from Egypt, Israel and the US to block his release in 2011. Sources told the journalist that senior Fatah and PA official Hussein Al-Sheikh warned Israel's secret police, Shin Bet, not to release Barghouti. The head of the PA's Intelligence Services, Majed Faraj, is said to have warned the CIA that Barghouti will stop security cooperation with Israel and incite violence if he is ever released.

Abbas, it is alleged, undermined Barghouti's hunger strike in order to damage his status among the other Palestinian prisoners. The PA President proposed banning him from standing for public office; Al-Sheikh are Faraj are said to be working on this.

Israel is reluctant to release Marwan Barghouti, whose supporters describe him as the "Palestinian Mandela". If Abbas told the Israelis not to release him in a prisoner swap, then they probably won't.

Concluding his analysis, Ben-Menachem said that if Abbas's successor is chosen through a free and fair presidential election, then Barghouti will succeed him. He is, added the journalist, the most popular of Fatah leaders.

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