BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi said Tuesday it was "too early" to discuss the outbreak of a third Palestinian uprising amidst internal Palestinian division.
Speaking from prison on the 10th anniversary of the Second Intifada, Barghouthi said a new uprising "is to be decided by all Palestinians and is carried out by their will. They are the ones who chose the right time, appropriate means and tools for each stage," adding that neither experts, officials nor the Palestinian leadership "expected either the first or second intifada."
"To say that Palestinians are tired, exhausted and indignant toward the Intifadas is unfair and slander against the great Palestinians, the creators of the longest armed revolution in contemporary history and the greatest uprisings in the region," he added.
Barghouthi also expressed strong support in "sharing in the currents of the political process with Hamas and to take any final agreement with Israel to a referendum."
"Hamas is an integral part of the Palestinians, and has popular, electoral and political leverage; I am the first one who called and formulated the slogan 'partners in blood, partners in decision,'" Barghouthi further said.
The Fatah leader was jailed in 2002 for leading the movement's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, and organizing attacks against the Israeli army. He was sentenced to five life terms and 40 years and is among the high-ranking officials that Hamas seeks to secure the release of in a potential prisoner swap deal for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
However, Israel has refused to release the leader, citing the indictments against him. On Tuesday, Israeli Knesset member Shaul Mofaz said his government should consider the release of Palestinian detainees which Israel deems to have "blood on their hands" if it would secure Shalit's release.