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Israel

Marwan Barghouti, A Palestinian Mandela Or Israel's Worst Nightmare?

Imprisoned in Israel since 2002, Marwan Barghouti may be the only figure who could unite all Palestinians. Israel must decide if it's more risky to release him or keep him in jail. Barghouti offers a rare written exchange with Le Monde.

A mural in Ramallah depicting Marwan Barghouti
A mural in Ramallah depicting Marwan Barghouti
Piotr Smolar

JERUSALEM — One of the three men locked up in cell number 28 at the Hadarim prison loves reading. Whether it's in Arabic, Hebrew or English, he devours history books, poetry collections and biographies of famous Israeli leaders. He wants to know the way they think.

Marwan Barghouti, 56, takes care of himself. He walks and runs. Once a week, he meets with one of his lawyers. Once every two weeks, his wife Fadwa visits and tells him about their four children. In 14 years, he's gotten to see them just a few times. A picture of his face painted or plastered on the walls of the West Bank reminds the children that their father has a special status. He is the hardened résistant, a symbol of the Palestinian national movement.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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