Members of Belgium’s parliament on Wednesday nominated Marwan Barghouti for the Nobel Peace Prize, referring to the security prisoner serving five life sentences as the “Palestinian Mandela” and a symbol of peace. The recommendation cited a group of Nelson Mandela’s fellow prisoners on Robben Island, who in 2013 called for the release of “Palestinian political prisoners” held by Israel.
Before we explore the decision and its possible outcome for Israel, it is essential to establish the differences between Mandela and Barghouti, lest a lie be allowed to be perpetuated unchallenged.
In July 1963, Mandela and about a dozen other members of the African National Congress, including three Jews, were arrested in their farm hideout, in the Rivonia suburb of Johannesburg. Ten of them were tried for recruiting individuals and training them to carry out attacks against the Apartheid government; carrying out such attacks themselves; serving world Communism; and raising funds abroad for their illegal enterprise. Mandela spent the next 18 years in prison.
Barghouti, on the other hand, was convicted of 5 counts of murder of innocent civilians, including authorizing and organizing the March 2002 seafood market attack in Tel Aviv in which 3 civilians, including a Druze policeman, were murdered. He was given five life sentences for five murders altogether, and 40 years imprisonment for an attempted murder.
Now that we’re clear on the differences between the South African and the Arab terrorist, we should note that it is hard to imagine the Norwegian parliament not giving the Nobel peace prize to Marwan Barghouti. In fact, if the Netanyahu government had not been rattled this week by right-shifting coalition changes, it could be expected to support the award, at least tacitly.
Marwan Barghouti, with his record as the leader of the First and Second Intifadas, may be the only viable alternative to rule the Palestinian Authority after Mahmoud Abbas (81) leaves office–most likely on a stretcher. Barghouti has the political skills and experience to run the PA effectively. In fact, at one time he said he supported the peace process, but when he realized that Israel was not ready to capitulate on key issues such as the right of return for Arabs, or the unhindered formation of a terrorist haven on its borders, he launched the 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada.
At this point, outside the Gaza Strip, only Marwan Barghouti has the street cred and the political wherewithal to rule the PA, which should be a source of concern to Israel. Indeed, this is the final outcome of the Oslo fiasco, the fact that the only legitimate leadership alternatives in both Gaza and Judea and Samaria are murderous criminals with Jewish blood on their hands.
This is the entire rationale of the Belgian nomination, which tells the Norwegian prize committee: “By granting the Nobel Peace Prize to someone who embodies the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, but also their aspiration to achieve peace, a leader who can unite Palestinians around a political project that clearly includes a two-state solution on 1967 borders, more threatened than ever by colonization and the absence of a political horizon, the Committee for the Nobel Prize would be helping to resurrect the indispensable hope of creating a way out of the current [political] impasse.”
And they emphasize: “Peace requires the freedom of Marwan Barghouti and all of the political prisoners, and more generally the freedom of the Palestinian people living for decades under occupation.”
It’s a well crafted proposal and, as we mentioned, it is very likely going to yield the authors’ desired outcome. It follows two earlier endorsements of Barghouti, one by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Adolfo Perez Esquivel, the other by a unanimous vote of the Arab League’s Arab Parliament. Once Barghouti gets the nomination, Israel would be urged by all its many friends and well-wishers around the world to respond in kind with its own magnanimous gesture, release the glorious leader from his jail cell and put him on a (roundtrip) flight to Stockholm. The word “opportunity” would be thrown around a lot, and although Barghouti would not offer even one measly concession more than Abbas has done—in fact, he’d likely cut down on all that Abbas “good will”—Israel would still be perceived as the oppressor and illegal occupier, while the new peace prize winner would be crowned king of peace. In fact, whether it lets Barghouti out or doesn’t, Israel would still be condemned.