Wife of Palestine resistance icon eyes Nobel Peace Prize
By Qais Abu Samra
RAMALLAH, Palestine: The wife of Palestinian resistance icon Marwan Barghouti is rallying efforts to have her husband -- who has languished in an Israeli prison since 2002 -- nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Fadwa Barghouti believes her husband’s nomination for the coveted prize would help legitimize longstanding demands for an end of Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian territory.
"This nomination would have very positive implications for the Palestinian people and legitimize the Palestinian struggle for freedom," Fadwa, a lawyer, said.
A leading member of Palestinian group Fatah, Barghouti has long been considered an icon of resistance to the Israeli occupation.
He played leading roles in both the first and second Palestinian Intifadas ("uprisings") in 1987 and 2000, respectively.
In 2002, Barghouti was arrested by Israel and slapped with five consecutive life sentences for his alleged involvement in a number of attacks on Israelis.
In March, Argentinian Nobel peace laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel announced his support for Barghouti’s nomination for prize.
"There are many Palestinian, Arab and international campaigns aimed at nominating Barghouti for the Nobel Peace Prize," Fadwa said.
She said that some European parliamentarians were also backing efforts aimed at securing her husband’s nomination for the prestigious prize.
"The nomination of Marwan would bring the Palestinian issue back to the forefront after being marginalized by other Arab and regional issues," Fadwa said.
Barghouti’s wife says the campaign for nominating her husband for the prize faced fierce opposition from what she described as "the Zionist lobby".
"The battle goes on between us and the occupation," Fadwa said.
"While there are those who support our struggle, there are others who defend [Israeli] aggression and occupation," she added.
Three years ago, activists in South Africa launched a campaign calling for Barghouti’s release from prison in Israel.
Fadwa believes that Barghouti’s nomination would send a message about the legitimacy of the Palestinian cause.
"It will also deliver the message that Barghouti is an icon of legitimate resistance -- not a symbol of terrorism, as Israel claims," she said.
She went on to urge the Palestinian Authority and various Palestinian factions to rally their efforts to secure her husband’s release from prison.
"He has become an indisputable icon of Palestinian unity," a defiant Fadwa asserted.