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Israeli minister suggests releasing Barghouthi from prison

Aug. 11, 2009 8:06 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 12, 2009 3:46 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israel’s Minister of Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman suggested the country release newly elected Fatah Central Council Member Marwan Barghouthi from Israeli prison, where he has been since he was detained in 2002.

Barghouthi received the third highest number of votes in the Sixth Fatah Congress' Central Committee elections, held in Bethlehem Monday, with votes being called in from the Gaza Strip until early Tuesday morning.

According to the Israeli daily paper Haaretz on Tuesday, Braverman described Barghouthi as a possible partner for peace. "We must weigh his release with the aim of creating a moderate and strong political leadership among the Palestinians," the paper quoted Braverman as saying.

Barghouthi, serving five life sentences in Israel for alleged involvement in attacks against the state, was an integral figure in the unity moment in 2006-7 when Hamas was elected. He worked from within Israeli prisons to put together a “Prisoners Document” that outlined a possible unity cabinet that would govern Palestine in the wake of the landslide Hamas victory and subsequent stonewalling of that government by the international community.

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