Friday, October 03, 2003

More excerpts from Barghouti's closing argument: "At one point, Barghouti praised the 27 pilots who said they would refuse to fly missions in the disputed territories. "They deserve the utmost praise for reaching the conclusion they were perpetrating war crimes," said Barghouti. He then turned to the judges and said, "why don't you refuse like the pilots You should oppose putting me on trial just like the pilots oppose the occupation."

"Barghouti, who has represented himself in most of the trial proceedings, began his summation by lowering his head in memory of the Palestinian victims of the Intifada, which broke out exactly three years ago, when seven Palestinians were killed during demonstrations on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. According to Barghouti, 7,727 Palestinians have been killed from that day on, most of them women and children.

"The Intifada was the Palestinian response to the violation of the Oslo Accords," said Barghouti. "In the first year of the Intifada, 581 Palestinians and 34 Israelis were killed. This was because the IDF is the army that claims to be the most moral in the world when, in fact, it is the least moral in the world. I want to remind the entire world that saw how the boy Muhammad Dura was killed while the soldiers sat and laughed."

"How can the Jews, who suffered and survived the Holocaust, allow themselves to resort to such insufferable and unacceptable means against another people," Barghouti said, referring to Israeli military operations.

Barghouti charged that "the occupation forces did not build a single school in all of the territories. They stole the taxes of the Palestinians, who live with roadblocks and curfews. The Israelis took over lands and built settlements. To live under occupation is to live without honor."

"Barghouti peppered his remarks with black humor. "How many women have given birth at checkpoints?" he said at one point, referring to the network of army barriers that restrict Palestinian travel in order to keep militants from Israel. "Some even ended up naming their children Roadblock," he said, eliciting laughter."

"Dozens of Barghouti's supporters attended the trial and cheered at the end of his speech. They included members of the European Parliament from Italy and France as well as Sari Nusseiba, formerly in charge of the Jerusalem portfolio on behalf of the Palestinian Authority."

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