Several local councils in France forwarded an initiative to grant honorary citizenship to convicted Palestinian terrorist, Marwhan Barghouti. Barghouti is one of the founders of the Tanzim terror group, an affiliate of Fatah (PLO). He was convicted on five counts of murder in 2002 and is presently serving five consecutive life terms in Israeli jail. He is responsible for planning numerous terror attacks and is credited with inciting the second Intifada. He is unrepentant and continues to incite violence from his prison cell.
Israeli Ambassador to France Aliza Bin-Noun on Thursday condemned the initiative in an open letter.
“Barghouti is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people,” wrote Bin-Noun and added, “At a time when Western countries should unite against the threat of terrorism, the French support for Barghouti in fact legitimizes his actions.”
This is not the first time France has expressed admiration for Barghouti. In 2014, Valenton, a suburb of Paris, named a street after Barghouti. Two months later, nearby Aubervilliers, granted the terrorist honorary citizenship.
According to the French L’Humanite newspaper, Paris has declared Barghouti an honorary citizen eight times since 2009 and at least 20 more French cities have done so as well.
Members of the Belgian Parliament launched a campaign earlier in the year to nominate Barghouti for the Nobel Peace Prize. This cause was taken up by South African archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Barghouti is popular among Palestinians and is considered to be a popular choice to replace the present Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.