Fatah's Barghouti Calls for Renewed Violence

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- On the tenth anniversary of his incarceration, former Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti called on the Palestinian Authority to sever ties with Israel and launch a third intifada -- armed uprising -- against the Jewish state.

Barghouti is serving five consecutive life sentences for masterminding terror attacks in the second intifada (2000 - 2005) and for the murder of four Israelis and a Greek Orthodox priest.

In a letter read aloud at a rally in Ramallah on Tuesday, the former head of Fatah's Tanzim militia called on the P.A. to sever all ties with Israel, saying it is not a partner for peace.

"Launching a large-scale popular resistance at this stage will serve the cause of our people," Barghouti wrote. People have an "absolute right to use all methods and means to resist occupation," he added.

Barghouti praised Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all those who succeeded in carrying out terror attacks against Israelis, including Wafa Idris and Ayat al-Akhras, two female Fatah suicide bombers.

Idris, 28, detonated the bomb in her backpack in front of a shoe store on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road on January 27, 2002, killing an elderly Jewish man and wounding more than 100 others. Al-Akhras, 18, detonated her explosives belt on March 29, 2002, killing herself and two Israelis, including a teenager.

Barghouti also praised members of Fatah's al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades who were either killed or arrested during the second intifada.

He called for an across-the-board, international boycott of Israel politically, diplomatically and economically, while admonishing the local Arab population to adopt a "comprehensive boycott" of all Israeli products.

Israel has refused to include Barghouti in past prisoner exchanges, a point that particularly annoys him, Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh says.

According to Toameh, Barghouti's latest message is directed as much at the P.A. hierarchy as it is at Israel and, in fact, echoes other critics of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his government for "marketing illusions that the occupation could be ended through negotiations."

The P.A. leadership views Barghouti as a potential threat to their hold on power, a reason not to work hard at securing his release.

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The Jerusalem Post contributed to this report.

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