Minister of Environment, Gedeon Ezra said on Monday that Israel should release the jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi in order to give the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas support concerning Hamas, Israeli sources reported.Minister of Environment, Gideon Ezra said on Monday that Israel should release the jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi in order to give the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas support concerning Hamas, Israeli sources reported.
‘If we want to blunt Hamas’ capabilities … and if we ultimately want a civil rather than a religious government like those taking shape across the Arab world, we have to make a contribution’, Ezra told Army Radio, in defense of freeing Barghouthi, adding that this will help Abbas.
Ezra, a senior Kadima minister, is the second Israeli leader who calls for the release of Barghouthi. Two weeks ago, Deputy Defense Minister of the Labor party Ephrime Sneh also argued that Barghouthi should be freed.
Barghouti, who was abducted by the Israeli military in 2002 from Ramallah, is an elected Parliament Member and is seen by many Palestinians as the most popular leader. He is widely regarded as the only figure able to unify the Palestinian factions, rein in armed groups.
Barghouthi is serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail for alleged involvement in the killing of four Israelis and a Greek monk.
On the other hand, Barghouthi was among those included in a large-scale prisoner release proposed by Hamas in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Palestinian Resistance groups in June.