Jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghuti has urged the Palestinian Authority to “end all forms of coordination” with Israel in a letter to mark 10 years since his arrest.
In the letter, which was published late on Monday, Barghuti also called on Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to recognise that negotiations with Israel were not working.
“I call on the Palestinian Authority to end all forms of coordination, security and economic, with the occupation,” wrote Barghuti, who is serving five life sentences for his role in anti-Israeli attacks.
“The job of the Palestinian security services is to provide security and protection to Palestinian citizens, not to protect the occupation,” said the man widely recognised as the driving force behind the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, and who still commands great respect among Palestinians.
The letter also called on Abbas to “stop marketing the illusion that it is possible to end the occupation through these negotiations.”
Barghuti said the Palestinians should not enter negotiations without a commitment by Israel to halt settlement construction, and use the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War as a basis for talks on future borders.
Abbas has insisted on the same conditions, but Barghuti said he should also call for “the release of all Palestinian prisoners in the occupation’s prisons.”
A lifelong activist who supported the Oslo peace process in the 1990s, Barghuti is widely believed to have masterminded the second Palestinian intifada that erupted in 2000.
He was arrested in April 2002 and two years later was handed five life terms for his role in several deadly anti-Israeli attacks.
Barghuti has since said he never supported attacks on civilians inside Israel and in recent years, has thrown his support behind peaceful resistance.
In his letter, he called on the Palestinians to back a “combination of resistance and diplomacy,” repeating his support for “popular resistance” and for the Palestinian bid to become a full member of the United Nations.
“We must affirm the absolute right of our people to resist occupation in all ways, and in the way appropriate to the situation — and at this stage, popular resistance serves our people,” he said.