SPOTLIGHT: PALESTINIAN PRISON LETTER
"My release is bound to happen, sooner or later ... "
The most charismatic living Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, who has been in an Israeli prison since 2002, offered a rare written exchange recently with Le Monde. Some see the 56-year-old, who was sentenced to five life imprisonments in 2004 for directing suicide bombings during the second Intifada, as the only figure who can unite the Palestinians — and then, the thinking follows, forge peace with Israel. A sort of "Mandela of the Middle East" is the dreamy hope: A Hebrew-speaking visionary with street cred in Gaza could not only bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but could in turn reverse the spiral of violence across the entire Arab world, and make those in the West safer in the process.
Middle East dreamers, however, are a vanishing breed. Not only are heels dug in deep in both Jerusalem and Ramallah, but few still hold onto the illusion that the conflicts burning within the Muslim world can be tamed in one fell swoop by the achievement of Palestinian statehood. That, of course, is no reason not to seek it more urgently than ever.
Check out the English edition of the Le Monde story, Marwan Barghouti, A Palestinian Mandela Or Israel's Worst Nightmare?
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