On Thursday 27 January 2011 we held an interview with civil rights activist and President of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), Dr. Mustafa Barghouti at his office in Ramallah. Limited capacity and a few mishaps prevented us from publishing the material any earlier.
Barghouti, together with the late Edward Said and others, is a co-founder of Palestinian National Initiative (Al-Mubadara) – a social democratic and reformist organization founded in 2002 which was incorporated into the Socialist International (SI) in 2008. The Al-Mubadara sees itself as a movement of the so-called Third Way, i.e. as an alternative to the PLO and Hamas. Dr. Mustafa Barghouti is a critic of the PLO and is committed to a peaceful resistance against the Israeli occupation and the continuing settlement construction.
In 2005 Barghouti ran for the presidential elections and with almost 20 per cent of the votes came out second behind PLO chairman Mahmud Abbas. He received support from the PFLP for the election which decided against sending one of their own contestants into the race.
In contrast, the Independent list, comprised of Al-Mubadara and some independent candidates, was much less successful in the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006: only Barghouti and one other representative won a seat while Hamas emerged victorious.
Whether the Al-Mubadara will be able to benefit from the current weakness and failure of the PLO will become apparent in the next election.
In this interview Dr. Barghouti addresses the current economic situation in the West Bank, the failed peace process, the Palestine Papers and the responsibility of the international community for the continued occupation and situation of the Palestinians.