Report: Washington Favors Convicted Terrorist to Lead PA in May Elections
According to the Palestinian daily newspaper, Al Quds, U.S. administration officials are in discussions with the Israeli government regarding the release of convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti, in hopes that Barghouti could lead Fatah in May’s Palestinian Authority elections.
“A high-profile US delegation has regularly discussed with officials in Tel Aviv the option to free Al Barghouti to lead Fatah against Hamas in the next elections,” the paper quoted an unnamed source as saying.
Barghouti was arrested in 2002 by Israel and sentenced to 5 life sentences for murder.
Asked about a possible run for the presidency, Barghouti said on Wednesday, “The PA has yet to set a date. Once they do, we’ll see what happens. What’s more important today is to form a national unity government and pursue peaceful resistance, including negotiations.”
Set against a backdrop of regional upheaval, the PA’s presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in May. Its expected that current PA President Mahmoud Abbas will not run for re-election, and while some reports indicate that Hamas will sit out the presidential election, nothing official has been announced.
Analysts have pointed out that a PA President from Hamas would put the governing body in a more difficult situation, politically, with both Israel and the United States.