Fatah chief: occupation starts end in 2005

Nov. 29, 2004 at 7:32 AM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Imprisoned West Bank Fatah chief Marwan Barghouti is predicting an end to the Israeli occupation beginning in 2005.

Arab member of the Israeli Knesset Ahmed al-Tibi quoted Barghouti, who is jailed in Israel, as saying, "Next year will witness the real beginning of the end of the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories."

Speaking to UPI after a meeting with Barghouti at his prison cell in Beersheba, Tibi said the imprisoned popular leader predicted, "2005 will be the year of the democratic internal (struggle) in the Palestinian territories."

"A new Palestinian political system will be formulated, consecrating the principle of partnership between the various Palestinian factions and reinforcing national unity on democratic bases," Barghouti was quoted as saying.

He also urged the international community to place Israel in front of a real challenge on "whether it wants to end the occupation or just reshape it."

Tibi said Barghouti, who decided not to run in the Jan. 9 presidential election, is optimistic. An Israeli court sentenced Barghouti to four life sentences for role in attacks that killed Israelis.

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