A top Israeli official has called on Tel Aviv to consider the release of a high-profile Palestinian Fatah prisoner who has been elected to the group’s governing body.
Israeli Minister of Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman called on the regime to consider releasing Marwan Barghouti after he was elected to the Fatah’s central committee on Tuesday, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for his alleged role in attacks against Israelis during the second Intifada, is Fatah’s secretary general for the West Bank, but he has never been a member of the central committee.
Following the release of the initial results from the Fatah election on Tuesday, Braverman urged the government to look at Barghouti as a possible partner for the peace talks.
"We must weigh his release with the aim of creating a moderate and strong political leadership among the Palestinians," Braverman said. "Barghouti can, it appears, supply the goods and strengthen the moderates who support a diplomatic solution and an arrangement with the State of Israel."
He said releasing Barghouti, who is a popular figure among many Palestinians, would help garner support in the Palestinian street for the need for negotiations.