During his first televised interview since his trial in 2004, Palestinian imprisoned lawmaker Marwan Barghouti, head of the Fatah ruling party’s list of candidates, interviewed Sunday by both gulf-based satellite channels of Al-Arabia and Al-Jazeera in Hadarim central jail in Israel, announced that after holding the Palestinian parliamentary elections slated for Wednesday, a unity government will be formed involving all Palestinian factions participating in the elections, and called on Israel to honor the election results.
He added that the coalition would be a "National Unity Government" which he described as a salvation government.
"This will be a consensual government that will carry out true reforms, which will be comprised of clean people with status, a national salvation government with the participation of all the forces," Barghouti told the Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia satellite television stations yesterday.
Barghouti said that the principles of the government had already been established and will include the establishment of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital. He also mentioned the Palestinian right of return repeatedly and said, "Return is a sacred right and the issue should be resolved in accordance with UN Resolution 194."
Barghouti also said that forming a new government is not the only process expected to take place after the elections. He added that the Fattah Central Committee should be reorganized next summer, in an effort to resolve the problems between the veteran Fattah members and the younger generation.
Barghouthi dedicated large part of the interview to discuss the Intifada. He said that there is no peace process and called the "armed struggle" necessary for the sake of achieving a Palestinian state and other rights, adding that with out this armed struggle Israel did not withdrew from the Gaza Strip.
Barghouti, who is serving five life time sentence after Israeli army held him responsibility of five suicide bombings in Israel, said that "There was a strategic Israeli decision taken six years ago when the original negotiations for a final-status agreement under the Oslo Accords ended not to speak to any Palestinian partner, and already at the beginning of the Intifada I told our brethren in Hamas the sentence: `Partners in blood are partners in decision.’ There is no peace process, even though Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen is always calling for a renewal of negotiations, and Israel does not respond. The high-quality armed struggle characterizing the Intifada would not have taken place without the Palestinian Authority, and this struggle is what transformed Gaza into a burden for the Israelis and caused them to withdraw."
Asserting that the weapons of the resistance is to protect the civilians’ rights, Barghouti rejected the argument on the weapons in the hands of the various Palestinian resistance groups is the main reason behind the internal chaos in the Palestinian territories.
"These weapons have no connection to the chaos, and the two must be distinguished," he said. "The armed struggle doesn’t harm civilians. It exists so as to protect their rights. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades are grassroots groups, without a centralized decision, but there are groups or individuals who damage their reputation."
Many Fatah officials were awaiting Barghouti’s comments yesterday, on the assumption that these comments will give the party’s campaign a push in the elections. But Barghouti refrained from endorsing Fattah candidates, choosing instead to appeal to the Palestinian public at large to participate in the elections.
"I call on all of our people to participate in the elections, out of loyalty to the homeland and the principles, and so as to strengthen our stance and the internal reforms that will bolster our struggle and the Palestinian image throughout the world," Barghouti concluded.