Poor Marwan Barghouti. While Yasser Arafat gets thousands of Palestinians to rally for him in Ramallah, numerous world leaders to tell Israel to leave him alone and all 15 members of the UN Security Council to pressure Israel not to expel him, Marwan Barghouti languishes in an Israeli prison. It just isn't fair.
A member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Marwan Barghouti founded the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade. As leader of the Fatah-Tanzim terrorist organization, Barghouti is on trial for overseeing dozens of terror attacks and having direct responsibility for at least 14 murders. Israeli forces captured Barghouti in April 2002. He and his nephew were arrested in a building only 500 meters from Arafat's Mukatah compound. His nephew, Ahmed Barghouti, received thirteen life sentences in July by the Ofer Military Court for his part in the terrorist murder of 12 Israelis and the wounding of dozens of others. Marwan is still in the trial stage.
In addition to his terrorist exploits, Marwan Barghouti has made statements such as this gem:
"After we attain a Palestinian state [in the “West Bank”/Judea and Samaria], there will be greater things for which to strive...There is no room for more than one state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean."
This is nothing particularly radical in comparison to what Yasser Arafat has said or done for years. Yet Arafat, who as head of Fatah personally authorized funds later used by Barghouti for terror attacks, isn't being tried. Israel can't even "threaten" to expel him.
Of course, Arafat can count among his supporters Israeli Labor Party leader and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres and much of the Labor Party leadership, the two Yossis - Beilin and Sarid - and ultra-leftist leader Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom (the peace bloc). In defiance of the Israeli Army ban on entering PA autonomous areas, radical left-wing activists led by Uri Avnery joined together with Arabs in a show of support for Arafat. The supporters visited with Arafat in his Mukatah headquarters in Ramallah, vowing to act as human shields against Israeli forces if they attempt to harm him. Marwan can't count on that type of support from such heavy-hitters on the Israeli left. Poor Marwan.
You can also put wheelchair bound Hamas "spiritual" leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in that category. Yassin, who just recently dodged an Israeli assassination attempt, gets off no easier than Marwan. Why go after him? It just isn't fair. Arafat continues to avoid trial or assassination, though he has a much longer record of killing Jews than Barghouti and Yassin combined. Maybe an old gray religiously fanatical paraplegic terrorist just doesn't garner sympathy on the world stage, as an old gray unshaven dumpy little terrorist like Arafat.
Maybe it's Arafat's support from people like Peres, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former President Jimmy Carter, French President Jacques Chirac, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, European Union Foreign Minister Javier Solana and other world leaders. The Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio said that Spain considered Arafat part of the "solution" to the conflict in the Middle East. Even the U.S. warned Israel not to harm Arafat.
But why? Why should small fry like Barghouti, Yassin, Rantisi, Abu Shanab, and others get killed or incarcerated, while the granddaddy of them all, founder of modern-day terrorism, Yasser Arafat still walks free on the world stage of politics?
Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in describing the recent Israeli Security Cabinet's decision to "remove" Arafat, said that "killing [Arafat] is definitely one of the options" under consideration by the Israeli government. "We are trying to eliminate all the heads of terror, and Arafat is one of the heads of terror," Olmert told Israel Radio. "In my eyes, from a moral point of view, this is no different from killing others who were involved in acts of terror."
Trying – or killing – all those responsible for terrorist acts would be a large step in that direction. That includes, all the leadership of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, the DFLP, Fatah and it's "babies" - the Tanzim and Al-Aqsa Brigades - the current and former Palestinian Authority Cabinets, and all the members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Last but not least chief terrorist Yasser Arafat, who should be brought to Jerusalem, tried, and hanged like Nazi leader Adolph Eichmann was. Rafi Eitan, anti-terrorism expert, advisor to Israeli prime ministers, and the senior Mossad officer who was in charge of the Eichmann capture in 1960, said the same thing recently. "Arafat is a war criminal. We should take him to court and try him for war crimes . . . Bring him to Jerusalem, like Eichmann."
Maybe after watching his execution on worldwide television, some of his supporters might have second thoughts about helping Jew-hating mass murderers in the future. Or maybe Israel should charge them as his accomplices and take that option away from them.