Could Barghouti be the Palestinian to make peace with Israel? (Alain Catzeflis, 1/19/24, the Article)

For decades the international community has clung to the idea that peace in the Middle East could be imposed from the outside: essentially by American power and Arab money. Time and again this has proved a dangerous illusion. A go-between can, well, go-between warring parties. But, as every peace initiative in history shows, all you can do is take a horse to water.

Ami Ayalon is a straight-talking Israeli war hero with the ageing good looks of a combat veteran from central casting. Ayalon headed both Shin Bet, Israel’s security service, and the country’s navy. He thinks he has the answer.

Ayalon believes the Palestinian who ticks all the boxes has been sitting in an Israeli jail for 22 years. He’s talking about Marwan Barghouti, the most senior Palestinian leader behind bars and by far the most popular, though not a man widely known to the world beyond.

A veteran of the 1987-93 and 2000-2004 intifadas or uprisings, Barghouti is serving five life sentences for his role in the death of Israelis during the second intifada.

Ayalon told the Guardian recently, that Barghouti is the only leader who can lead Palestinians to a state alongside Israel “because he believes in a two-state solution and because he won his legitimacy by sitting in our jails.”