A senior Israeli cabinet minister and former Israeli minister of defense, Binyamin Ben Eliezer, has proposed that the jailed Fatah secretary Gen. Marwan Barghouti, be released from an Israeli prison in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit and said that Mr. Barghouti is expected to be the next leader of the Palestinians. In Mr. Ben Eliezer’s words, “We must break the cycle; the release of Marwan Barghouti could constitute a move that would both move the peace negotiations forward and lead to the release of Shalit.”

Mr. Barghouti, whom Mr. Ben Eliezer suggests should be released from prison so he can “lead the Palestinian people,” was convicted of murder of direct responsibility for the murders of Salim Barakat, 33; Eli Dahan, 53; Yosef Habi, 52; Fr. Georgios Tsibouktzakis, 34, a Greek Orthodox monk from St. George’s Monastery in Wadi Kelt near Jericho; and Yoela Chen, 45.

According to the court protocols, Mr. Barghouti proudly admitted that he directed terrorist attacks in which scores of Israelis were killed and revealed how he directly allocated funds needed by terrorist cells to operate and purchase necessary weapons. He stated that Yasser Arafat personally authorized this funding for Tanzim activities, knowing that this money would be used to finance murderous attacks. Furthermore, protocols of interrogations of Palestinian officials before the trial showed how the process worked: Names of Tanzim killers were submitted to Mr. Barghouti, who would routinely take them to Mr. Arafat for approval.

At Mr. Barghouti’s trial, people who were maimed as a result of Barghouti-sponsored attacks also appeared as witnesses to the pain that he caused them – pain they will experience for the rest of their lives.

Chicago-born Alan Bauer and his then seven-year-old son Jonathan were among those witnesses. They were walking on King George Street in downtown Jerusalem when a Barghouti-funded suicide bomber blew himself up three feet away from them on March 21, 2002. Two arteries in Mr. Bauer’s arm were severed. A screw went all the way through little Jonathan’s head. Today, as a result, Jonathan walks with a limp.

It was also Mr. Barghouti who, from 1995 until his imprisonment in 2002, hammered out cooperative agreements in Cairo between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and who continues to do so today from prison.

According to Israeli intelligence sources and in the indictment issued against him, it was Mr. Barghouti who, on the outbreak of an armed rebellion in October 2000, became the head of a joint coordinating body of all violent Palestinian organizations in the West Bank – including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, all three of which are listed by both the American and the Israeli government as terrorist groups.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.