21 April '17..
Palestinian internal politics and liberal hostility to Israel came together at The New York Times this month.
The newspaper provoked a firestorm of criticism through its decision to publish an article on the eve of Passover authored by Marwan Barghouti, the imprisoned mastermind of a second intifada terror campaign, without mentioning that he is currently serving five life terms for the murder of civilians. But a more important discussion got lost amid the outrage about media bias. The question to be asked about this episode is not whether terrorism is significant enough to be worthy of mention, but why Barghouti is a likely candidate to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as head of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Barghouti is currently leading a hunger strike by Palestinian security prisoners in Israel jails. But the real motive for this gesture is promoting Barghouti’s desire to replace the 81-year-old Abbas. Given that Israel has as little interest in releasing Barghouti as Abbas does in having a new election—the current PA leader is serving the 12th year of the four-year presidential term to which he was elected—it’s not clear how he’ll pull off that trick. But the real issue here is the reason for Barghouti’s popularity among supporters of the peace process is very different from the reason for his high standing among Palestinians.
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