Even some ministers (such as Ben Eliezer) came to the conclusion that it would be to Israel's benefit to release Barghouti, and this would have been a good opportunity. Barghouti is a MODERATE Fatah person, very popular, and a likely winner in the next Palestinian presidential election. Why not release him, rather than risk a win by a Hamasnik? Unfortunately, Netanyahu views him as a "symbol", although it is not clear to me for what. Our Yahoo is a PR man, so perhaps he recognizes good brand names when he sees them. Another moderate leader is al-Natshe, one of the Hamas founders. He and Barghouti were formulators of the "prisoners' document" which also recommended that Hamas joins the PLO and thus resolve the ongoing conflict between the two organizations. He must also be a "symbol" and represent a "threat" of moderation.
Saudi FM: We hope Iran uses sanction relief for development, not nefarious activities (Reuters)
from the article: Shalit deal to set free perpetrators of 2000 lynching of IDF reservists