Former Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is jailed in Israel, published an unusual message on Monday in which he called on the Palestinian public to launch a widespread resistance against Israel.
Barghouti made the remarks ahead of Land Day on Friday, when thousands of people are expected to protest along Israel's borders to mark the deaths of six Israeli Arabs in March 1976 and protest the Israeli government's land policies.
The imprisoned Fatah commander, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail, sent the missive from Hadarim prison and called on Palestinians to undertake a popular resistance against Israel.
"The Palestinian Authority must stop all coordination with Israel – economic and security – and work toward Palestinian reconciliation," he said in the missive.
Barghouti's remarks marked an unusual turn for the Fatah leader, who for the first time called for a complete halt in peace negotiations with Israel and encouraged Palestinians to sever any normal relations with Israel.
Barghouti, who was arrested by Israeli commandos in Ramallah in 2002, was one of the initiators of the second intifada. He called on Palestinians to combine popular resistance with diplomatic actions.
"It must be understood that there is no partner for peace in Israel when the settlements have doubled," Barghouti said. "It is the Palestinian people's right to oppose the occupation in all means, and the resistance must be focused on the 1967 territories."
He also called for the boycott of all Israeli products and for the support of Palestinian products.
Moreover, he commented on the Palestinian Authority's efforts to be recognized at the United Nations. He said that if these efforts prove fruitless, "The PA must turn to the UN General Assembly and the rest of its agencies."
In addition to the economic boycott, Barghouti called on Palestinians and all other Arab countries to launch a diplomatic boycott on Israel as well.
Barghouti is considered a senior Tanzim member (Fatah's armed wing) and was convicted by the Israeli justice system of five counts of murder – four Israelis and a Greek monk - during the second intifada.
Barghouti spearheaded the Fatah faction that called for terrorist attacks against Israeli targets in the West Bank, and from January 2002 he even supported attacks within the Green Line. Like many Palestinians, Barghouti drew inspiration from Hezbollah, which forced Israel to retreat from southern Lebanon in May 2000, and thought that adopting the Shiite group's tactics will cause Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories.
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