Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mustafa Barghouti included in Forbes Top 100 Global Thinkers

Decades of terrorist attacks may have cemented the Palestinian cause in the world's consciousness, but they never delivered the Palestinians' national dream -- a state of their own. More than anyone else, politician and human rights activist Mustafa Barghouti has pioneered an alternative path that emphasizes nonviolent tactics to delegitimize the Israeli occupation and demands that the Palestinian national movement live up to its ideals. He was the only political figure to contest Yasir Arafat's anointed successor, Mahmoud Abbas, in the 2005 Palestinian presidential election, and he won a seat in the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006 on a platform that promoted an alternative to Arafat's Fatah and the militant group Hamas.

Barghouti has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Palestinians' bid this year for member-state status at the United Nations, framing the move as part of the "diplomatic resistance" to Israel. At the same time, he has pressed the Palestinian Authority to revitalize its often-ignored democratic institutions and provide a transparent accounting of its budget, while urging Fatah and Hamas to set aside their deep differences. "Democracy was the first victim of the split," he told Foreign Policy. "That's wrong for internal life in Palestine, it's wrong for the future of our kids, and it's wrong for peace."

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