Marwan Barghouti: 25th August!

Marwan Barghouti  It appears that Abbas has ‘won’ the release of the first group of ‘important’ prisoners/hostages (150 or more). We can now predict that in a few weeks time Hamas will get another 300-400 released (less prominent hostages) in exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, or some such arangement.

A small wager on Marwan Barghouti being released on August 25th anyone?

On the bigger picture there is still time for the ‘big breakthrough’ required to end the war for greater Israel this year. It really is only Israeli leadership weakness that is holding up the agreement. If Barghouti walks free on August 25 this will indicate indicates that the deal is effectivly done. The Israeli argument against it until recently, has been that releasing him would be counter productive because once freed, Barghouti would take a more militant stance to demonstrate that he had not sold out to them.

We will see on August 25!

9 Responses to “Marwan Barghouti: 25th August!”

  1. 1 Cyberman

    Is it too late too take up you offer of a small wager?The 25th August is tomorrow, so I feel that I’m not being very sporting about taking advantage at this late satge. How about I give you another month? I’d like to place $100 on there being no release.I’d be pleased to be wrong, and have to pay up,  for MB’s sake.

  2. 2 patrickm,7340,L-3584129,00.html You are a little late with your take up, and I don’t think much will happen in the next thirty days unless Gilad Shalit is released and in that case it would be game still on.But I have no idea as to how this would do very much to ‘boost Abbas’.   So things are very much still up in the air.But as Arthur said a couple of years ago “Ask yourself this.  How goes the war for greater Israel?”

  3. 3 Cyberman

    OK. How about I give you until after the US elections in November? $100 stakeYou made your prediction just two weeks ago and I’m offering you a three month extension. How generous is that? If you don’t feel confident enough in your predictions to take bets that’s fair enough, and after your previous predictions have failed to materialise, fully understandable.I’d appreciate a ‘yes or no answer’ just so that there are no disputes later.Thanks,Cyberman

  4. 4 Steve Owens

    Patrick what I don’t understand (apart from your negative EV bet) is that you provide a link that argues against your position.

  5. 5 patrickm

    Steve I posted the link to show that a week ago I had known he was not to be released.
    Now consider this link,7340,L-3587336,00.html  and consider the Palestinian celebrations on the news.  It seems that there is a bit more to this than the release of 198 prisoners would suggest.  After all there have been larger prisoner releases before but never so large a celebration of their release.  But still disciplined and measured behavior.     
    What do you make of the situation that Olmert and the alternate Israeli PM’s face?  Do you think that MB will stand for the presidency of the PA and win and that it would be strange to negotiate with someone you are holding prisoner?  If you think MB will probably be PA president then do you believe MB will be released before the PA elections?  Same question to Cyberman.  Do both of you recall what people around LS have been saying over the last half-decade?  Does it seem more or less laughable now than when we first started to explain the logic of the US ending it’s old policies? 
    Is Israel going to do a deal with Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and do a full unilateral withdrawal from Gaza but not do a deal over the West Bank? 
    No agreement on prisoners no deal.  
    What, in your view, is holding up the ending of this failed war? 
    It has to end with a deal that can be sold to the Palestinian people and so no deal that can’t be ‘sold’ in a referendum will be agreed to by Abbas.  Has the release of these 198 prisoners boosted Abbas or has it focused the attention on the fact that there are close to 11,000 prisoners being held?  That seems to be the line taken by his wife.
    Anyway the strategic direction is still clear even if the Israelis can’t get their act together and they are also probably stalling to get past the US elections.   Looks like Rice and Bush won’t get what they have been belatedly pushing hard for.  What do people think the trends are? 

  6. 6 patrickm

    Here is another link that gives the flavor of what I have been trying to convey.

  7. 7 anita

    Marwan Barghouti has just been OKd for release by Israel.from Jerusalem Post
    ‘J’lem has agreed to release Barghouti’
    The Israeli government has informed the Palestinian Authority that it has no objections to the release of jailed Fatah operative Marwan Barghouti, a senior PA official in Ramallah said over the weekend.
    The official told The Jerusalem Post that Barghouti and several other prominent security prisoners could be released in the coming days or weeks. Barghouti is serving five life sentences for the murders of four Israelis and a Greek monk.
    But an official in Jerusalem said Saturday night that “the release of Marwan Barghouti is simply not on the table today.” The official also said that last week’s release of 198 Palestinian detainees freed “was not the first prisoner release and will not be the last.”
    The question of an additional prisoner release will be one of the items on the agenda at talks in Jerusalem on Sunday between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
    Olmert, who will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, will stress Israel’s desire to move forward with the Annapolis process with the aim of reaching a deal with the Palestinians before US President George W. Bush leaves office in January.
    Also Sunday, Vice Premier Haim Ramon will convene a special ministerial committee to draw up a list of 450 security prisoners Israel is willing to release in an Egyptian-mediated prisoner swap with Hamas in return for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, who last week marked his third birthday in captivity in Gaza.
    The London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper quoted Hamas sources on Saturday saying that the movement is now demanding more than 1,000 prisoners in return for Schalit.
    According to the senior PA official who spoke to the Post, Israel has agreed in principle to free many security prisoners, including Barghouti and Fuad Shobaki, a PA general who was involved in the failed attempt to smuggle the Karin A weapons ship into the Gaza Strip nearly eight years ago.
    The official added that Israel has also agreed to free Abdel Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council, who is reported to be in bad health.
    The PA official said the release of Dweik and other Hamas officials, including ministers and legislators, would “further strengthen” the standing of Abbas and the PA leadership.
    “It’s better for all if Barghouti and the Hamas officials are released as a result of our efforts and not through a prisoner exchange with Hamas,” the official told the Post. “Hamas is hoping to score points by releasing Fatah and Hamas prisoners in return for Gilad Schalit.”
    Abbas would demand in Sunday’s talks with Olmert that Israel release hundreds of prisoners as a gesture on the eve of Ramadan, a source close to the PA president said.
    Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said Abbas would demand that Israel release all the sick prisoners, as well as the elderly, females and minors.
    He confirmed that Abbas would also seek the release of Barghouti and some Hamas legislators. In addition, Abbas would demand that Israel release Ahmed Sadat, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who is suspected of involvement in the murder of tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001, he said.
    Erekat said that the gap between Israel and the Palestinians remained as wide as ever, especially regarding the fundamental final-status issues.
    He ruled out the possibility that the two sides would be able to reach an agreement before the Kadima primary on September 17.
    “The gap between the Israeli and Palestinian positions still exists,” he said. “This is especially true with regards to all the final-status issues: Jerusalem, borders, refugees, settlements, water and security. Therefore, I rule out the possibility that there would be an agreement or a written document this month.”
    Erekat added that as far as the Palestinians were concerned, “We are not in a bazaar or a market. We are talking about rights and we must ensure our rights in any agreement.”
    Erekat, who is expected to participate in the Olmert-Abbas talks along with Ahmed Qurei, head of the PA negotiating team, said the two sides would review the latest developments surrounding the peace negotiations and the implementation of the road map peace plan.
    He said the Palestinians would demand that Israel start implementing the first phase of the plan, which calls for a halt in settlement construction and, according to Erekat, the West Bank security barrier, the reopening of closed PLO institutions in Jerusalem, removing IDF checkpoints and allowing Palestinian deportees to return to the West Bank.

  8. 8 Cyberman


    You wrote “Here is another link that gives the flavor of what I have been trying to convey.”Do you have any more of that sort of stuff?

  9. 9 Arthur

    This topic seems a good reminder about the hazards of prediction in commenting on the latest Israeli outrage.

    Not having been following events recently, let alone expected the latest, its difficult to be confident in analysing what’s going on.

    But for what it’s worth, the parallels with both the previous murderous assault on Lebanon and Nixon’s Christmas bombing of Hanoi, again strike me as eerie.

    As was obvious at the time, though hardly noticed, the main point of killing a thousand or so Lebanese was to establish a clear understanding among all but the looniest sections of Israeli opinion, of the fact that it’s pointless, that the old policies have failed and they will have to back off generally.

    The better understood point of telling the world that they are still able to beat up their neighbours was quite secondary – since nobody serious doubted it.

    The main point of outraging world opinion by the Xmas bombing of Hanoi was to prepare the way for agreeing to withdraw completely only a few weeks later. Such gestures disorient the diehards on one’s own side by keeping them so busy defending the indefensible that they lack energy, inclination or credibility for obstructing the subsequent “triumphant” or “defiant” retreat.

    If the Israeli leadership really was hoping to restore its “strategic credibility” by actually going into Gaza with more success than they went into Lebanon, the advantage of surprise has been lost by so much shouting.

    Nor am I aware of any evidence that they either still need to prove it would be pointless to a significant section of their own public opinion, or are unaware of that fact themselves.

    So, let’s assume they just keep bombing for a while, and stop when the world gets hostile enough about it. Then what?

    The only plausible “exit plan” I can see is that both sides agree on an actual permanent ceasefire, with Gaza’s borders open instead of still under an absurdly prolonged Israeli occupation blockade, long after the Israeli occupation became completely untenable.

    That gets seen as victory for Israel and defeat for Hamas by those who want to see things that way, just as the Vietnamese were supposed to have been bombed into allowing the Americans to withdraw with honour, and Hezbollah was forced to let the Israelis stay out of Lebanon, and forced to join the Lebanese government!

    Ok, well it was also obvious that the Republicans could not possibly be serious about running what’s his name, and that Condi was their real candidate…I narrowly escaped making an actual prediction rather than a hopeful speculation on that, so I’m certainly not making any predictions on imminent events in the Middle East.

    But I won’t be among the perplexed if this bullshit turns out to be a harbinger of an imminent outbreak of peace.

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