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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Meretz MK mediating between Barghouti, PM's Office

Nov. 27. 2006

Meretz MK mediating between Barghouti, PM's Office

Chaim Oron, who supports release of former Fatah
secretary-general jailed in Israel, serving for several months
now as mediator conveying messages to help maintain PA stability,
strengthen moderate elements

by Attila Somfalvi
Published: 11.27.06, 21:06,7340,L-3333358,00.html

After two years of being one of the well-kept secret in the
political and diplomatic arena, the diplomatic activity of
Knesset Member Chaim Oron (Meretz) was revealed Monday evening.

Oron has been mediating for two years now between former Fatah
Secretary-General Marwan Barghouti, who is jailed in Israel , and
the Prime Minister's Office.

Oron has also helped senior Palestinians wishing to visit
Barghouti at the prison to receive permits from the Israel
authorities, in a bid to reach a calm in the Palestinian street
and maintain the stability and the control of the moderates in
the street and in politics.

Oron has been operating independently, but over time has more
than once led to a calm in the relations between Israel and the
Palestinian Authority.

Oron's activity has been known by different elements for a while
now, but was kept a secret.

Sources in the Israeli Left, including Chaim Oron, believe that
Barghouti's release from the Israeli jail will bring about a calm
and will enable reaching an agreement with the Palestinians.

Ready for a serious dialogue?

The same sources believe that Barghouti has changed since being
jailed in Israel and that he has become more moderate and is
ready for a serious and significant dialogue.

Barghouti's name was raised by PA senior officials as a person
who must be included in the prisoner exchange deal for the
release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

During a meeting last summer with MK Talab El-Sana, Barghouti
said that he anticipates that if senior Palestinian prisoners are
not released as part of the deal, this may lead to additional

Barghouti claimed in the same conversation that the Israeli
government was responsible for the abductions. According to him,
had Israel agreed to release Samir Kuntar, there would have been
no kidnappings in Lebanon , and had it released Palestinian
prisoners, it would have strengthened Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas and prevented Shalit's kidnapping.

Barghouti added that "just as Gilad Shalit is important to his
family and his country, so is every Palestinian prisoner.

According to him, it has already been proven that the prisoners
are the Palestinians' real leaders, as they were the only ones
who could have formulated the prisoners' document , which became
the source of unity among the Palestinians.

He said that any real move must receive the blessing of the
Palestinian prisoners, and therefore it is expected that a
prisoner exchange deal for Shalit's release will also include
senior Palestinian prisoners, otherwise it would lead to
additional abductions.

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