WASHINGTON (JTA) – Former Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti refused to testify during a rare court appearance in Israel.
Barghouti was brought Wednesday to Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court to testify via video link in a civil lawsuit being heard in Washington District Court under the auspices of U.S. anti-terror legislation.
The family of Esther Kleiman, who was shot and killed by members of the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades in Ramallah in 2002, brought the suit in an effort to have the Palestinian Authority pay millions of dollars in compensation for its alleged responsibility for Kleiman’s murder.
Barghouti, who is considered a potential next president of the Palestinian Authority, was asked to testify on ties between the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and the Al-Aksa Martyrs’’ Brigades, but refused because he said he does not recognize the authority of Israeli courts.
Barghouti has been serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison since 2002 for his role in the murders of five people.
Before his court appearance, in a rare opportunity to speak with Israeli reporters, Barghouti said Israel should withdraw to the pre-1967 borders and that he was considering running in the PA elections.