This is what passes for a "Middle East peach partner" these days.

Palestinian militant Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five consecutive life sentences for the murders of five people in terror attacks, has been elected to serve on Fatah’s Central Committee, and that is sparking new calls by left-wing Israeli politicians for his release. Freeing Barghouti would bolster the “moderate” Fatah organization, left-wing Israelis say.

Fatah’s recently-concluded congress in Bethlehem, its first in 20 years, elected Barghouti to fill one of 18 available places on its top decision-making body. Provisional results show that he received the third highest number of votes cast by delegates.

Fatah, led by Mahmoud Abbas, is the Palestinian faction backed by the U.S. as a potential Mideast peace partner. It is engaged in a continuing feud with Islamist rival Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Despite the rift, Hamas has been demanding freedom for Barghouti along with hundreds of other prisoners in exchange for releasing Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier abducted by Hamas more than three years ago. He is still being held in Gaza.

Barghouti was a leader of the Tanzim and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, factions within Fatah which have been linked to – and in many cases claimed responsibility for – lethal attacks including suicide bombings. American citizens were among their victims.

The Fatah congress last week endorsed the Al-Aqsa Brigade as an official Fatah organ.

If this was something Israel was doing, the UN would be all over them with 8 Security Council resolutions.  But Fatah gets so many passes it’s amazing.

And the irony is, Israel will still be papered in UN resolutions.

Filed under: DougIsraelMiddle East

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