Fatah has trained thousand of fighters

Fatah head Marwan Barghouti: Fatah has given military training to thousands of civilians in the last two years. Fatah can recruit from the security services. Tension with Israel diverts attention from PA corruption.

IMRA interviewed Marwan Barghouti the head of Fatah West Bank in English, on August 7. The entire interview follows. Barghouti is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
IMRA: Will the current tension with Israel divert attention from the PA corruption scandal?
Barghouti: Yes of course. Absolutely. Unfortunately always when we talk about decisions to correct the general situation and strengthen ourselves and exercise the principle of accountability inside the Palestinian Authority we face new tension. A new situation with the Israeli government.

So this is the biggest obstacle for democracy in Palestine now - the problem with Israel.

We have started to discuss the corruption in the Legislative Council. This is the first time in the Arab word that there is a formal report of corruption with public discussion in the Council and 15 ministers, one after the other, is coming with documents and defending their operations.

This is a very important start. This will influence the Arab world. They are all following what we are doing, via satellite television and newspapers. So if we achieve true democracy this will influence the entire Arab world and not just the West Bank.

The big obstacle is Netanyahu with the closure and the economic situation. This kind of thing makes the people not interested in the internal situation.

IMRA: Within what framework is Fatah training fighters? Are they part of the police force?
Barghouti: They are Fatah but most of them are connected to the police. We also have the ability to recruit everybody in the security services and the activists of the intifada are interested.

The course included swimming, karate, political lectures and training in guns.

We feel we have to strengthen ourselves. Maybe we will face problems with the Israelis. Maybe Mr. Netanyahu will try to go into the cities. Do you think we should put out flowers for him if he does?

IMRA: The training is within the context of the security forces?
Barghouti: This is special training for Fatah members.
IMRA: The reports today refer to 50 Fatah fighters who graduated from the course. Are there others taking the course?
Barghouti: Yes, we have. I was astonished that the media dealing with this issue reported it as a new development. Many have passed these courses in the past two years.
IMRA: How many?
Barghouti: Some thousands.
IMRA: Were they mostly from inside or outside of the security services?
Barghouti: Most of them came from the outside, but they are interested in security.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director
IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)

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