Someday, Mahmoud Abbas, who is in his early 80s, is going to end his term as president of the Palestinian Authority, whether through exile, retirement, or death. Afterwards, of course, there will be a struggle to replace him.
One possible successor is Marwan Barghouti, a PA official who is currently serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison for his involvement in the murder of five Israelis during the Second Intifada.
In November 2014, Barghouti called for an uprising against Israel, which, if heeded, will likely kill many Israelis and Palestinians. Nevertheless, Barghouti is regularly described as a “Palestinian Nelson Mandela.” Mandela, of course, spent many years in prison before earning the trust of his adversaries and eventually becoming president of South Africa. As president, Mandela achieved some measure of reconciliation between blacks and whites and, as a result, has been enshrined as a kind of secular saint, much like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. John Carlin, author of Invictus: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation, which was made into a moving film in 2009, described Mandela as “the anti-Hitler.”
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