Last week I posted about jailed Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti declining to run for the Palestinian presidency. His decision caught me by surprise, as I expected Barghouti to use a presidential campaign to embarrass his Israeli jailers, who convicted him of terrorist acts as the chief of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (now renamed the Yasser Arafat Martyrs Brigade). His withdrawal appeared to hold out promise that the Palestinians had finally gotten serious about pursuing peace with Israel.
Apparently, my analysis was a bit too optimistic:
Associates of Marwan Barghouti said Wednesday that the jailed Palestinian uprising leader has decided to run for president, reversing an earlier decision and throwing Palestinian politics into disarray. …
Barghouti’s decision came after he met with his wife and two senior Palestinian officials at an Israeli prison where he is serving multiple life sentences, the associates said on condition of anonymity.
Hmmm. The Palestinians either convinced him to run, or could not talk him out of it. Mahmoud Abbas, the former PM who resigned when Arafat blocked him from any real authority, had already announced his candidacy and is clearly viewed as a moderate with whom Israel and the US can work. Barghouti remains wildly popular among Palestinians as a living martyr, imprisoned unfairly in their eyes by the oppressor. Barghouti has a good chance of winning — which will create a huge amount of pressure for Israel to release him, even with his record of killing women and children in Israel.
In a way, this may wind up as a positive development. If the Palestinians reject Barghouti for Abbas, the world will see that they are serious about peace. If they elect Barghouti, we will know that they seek nothing more than more war and destruction.