Israeli occupation is root cause of conflict

Imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti delivered an impassioned plea to the international community to tackle the root causes of violence between Palestinians and Israelis on Sunday, as he praised the “new Palestinian generation” for resisting the Israeli occupation.

In an article for the Guardian written from his cell in Hadarim prison – his first for an international publication since 2002 at the height of the second intifada – Barghouti said he was pleading with the world as then to “to deal with [the violence’s] root causes: denial of Palestinian freedom”.

The intervention by Barghouti – whom many Palestinians view as a potential future president – comes before a meeting later this week by representatives of the Quartet – United Nations, the US, the European Union and Russia – attempting to mediate a peace deal, and amid a mounting toll of death and injuries on both sides.

In comments supporting the recent wave of protests, he wrote: “This new Palestinian generation has not awaited reconciliation talks to embody a national unity political parties have failed to achieve, rising beyond political divides and geographic fragmentation.

“It has not awaited instructions to uphold its right, and its duty, to resist this occupation. It is doing so unarmed, while being confronted by one of the biggest military powers in the world.”

Fifty-six-year old Barghouti – who was an important figure in both the first and second intifadas – was arrested by Israel in 2002 in the middle of the second intifada and convicted on five counts of murder two years later.

Despite of several releases of prisoners from Israeli prisons, mr Barghouti was never on the list of the Palestinian Authority.