So called justice was done today as the Israeli legal system sentenced Marwan Barghouti to five life terms AND forty years for a range of offences including attempted murder, murder and membership of a terrorist organisation.
Marwan Barghouti is a key member of Fatah – the Yasser Arafat led Palestinian liberation group. An active member of the current Intifidah and a tipped successor to Yasser Arafat, he is seen by many as a pragmatist and someone with whom, despite the rhetoric, a lasting peace could be forged.
So many things, on so many levels are wrong with this judgment. Not only with this judgment , but with the entire legal process of convicting Marwan Barghouti and of course, the wider Occupation of Palestine.
Firstly, only a fool would think that the judiciary of Israel is separate from its executive or indeed, the military. They are all weaned on the milk of paranoid defensiveness and the catastrophic Zionist vision of the ‘promised land’. The separation of the judiciary from the executive is a key principle of democracy – this is not so in Israel. By their words their deeds, the Israeli judiciary has consistently supported the illegal Occupation of Palestine since the occupation began. Neither has it stepped in when, not only have national laws been broken, but also when International Human Rights law has been violated.
Torture and repeated Human Rights violations are the norm in Israel – sanctioned both by the executive,the judiciary and , of course, the military. The US also lends it support with the eternal chorus of ‘…Israel has a right to defend itself against terror’ – what about the terror it causes in Palestine?.
Within the Israeli justice system, Arab cases – worse still Palestinian Arab, are special. To be tried under different personal mindsets. Lady Justice is not blind when an Arab is up on trial, it sees clearly. Conviction is a certainty. A system that is so tainted with national bias must have relished the opportunity to try Marwan Barghouti – to paint a picture of legal upstanding and democratic principle, with one of the most wanted Fatah members. Well the picture is flawed, because unless the legitimacy of the armed struggle against Occupation is recognised by the Israeli judiciary, all forms of resistance will be considered illegal and thereby guilty as charged. Unless the Occupation is considered unjust, illegal and immoral, any resistance against it will be doomed to go the way of Marwan Barghouti.
Marwan Barghouti is unrepentant even in defeat. He has consistently not recognised the jurisdiction of the Israeli court. By the accords that made the Palestinian Authority a reality (of sorts), he , as a member of the Palestinian parliament, is safe from prosecution. This has not been respected. What good are we as a society if we cannot abide the very rules we set ourselves?. He is remaining outspoken against the continued Occupation of Palestine by Israel. The continued intimidation and ghettorisation of Gaza and other occupied lands will never guarantee Israeli’s peace, but will score a deep and lasting hatred of Israelis and Jews by generations of Palestinians and the wider Islamic nation.
The campaign to free Marwan Barghouti will not falter, even when all seems dire. Even though he is not appealing the verdict to a higher court – what would be the point?, This is a judiciary in which the outcome was a certainty – an enemy of Israel is guilty. Period.
Those who have supported him and the wider call for making the Israelis accountable for the atrocities in Palestine will not give up. We will keep shouting.