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Profile: Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi

2005 Presidential candidate; physician; social, political, human rights and peace activist; one of the most active grassroots leader in Palestine; campaigner for the development of Palestinian civil society and grassroots democracy; outspoken advocate of internal reform; international spokesperson for the Palestinian cause; leading figure in the non-violent, peaceful struggle against the Occupation; and organizer of international solidarity presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mustafa Barghouthi has made an extraordinary contribution to building the institutional framework of Palestinian civil society and promote the principles of internal democracy and good governance, and to initiatives peacefully challenging the ongoing Israeli Occupation of Palestine.

Trained in medicine in the former Soviet Union, with post-graduate training in Jerusalem and an MSc in Business Administration and Management from Stanford University, Dr. Barghouthi spent 10 years as a medical doctor at the Maqassed Hospital in Jerusalem from 1978-88.

During this period, Dr. Barghouthi also emerged as a leading figure in Palestinian civil society.† He co-founded and was later elected president of a voluntary, non-governmental and non-profit medical relief movement, the Palestinian Medical Relief Society [1].† He also co-founded and became director of the Health, Development Information and Policy Institute (HDIP) [2].† HDIP also houses the Palestine Monitor [3], an information clearing house, on behalf of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) [4], a cluster of 95 of the most active and well respected civil society organisations in Palestine.† Together with PNGO, Dr. Barghouthi also helped found the Grassroots International Protection for the Palestinian People (GIPP) [5], a program that aims to protect Palestinian civilians through the presence of international civilians by deterring Israeli army and settler aggression.

Dr. Barghouthi has been at the forefront of initiatives promoting non-violent resistance as the most effective means of overcoming the Israeli Occupation.† He is consistently present at grassroots, non-violent resistance initiatives against the construction of Israelís Apartheid Wall.

His political career dates back to the late 1970s, when he served as a leader of the student movement, and later, as a national leader of various social action and grassroots movements.† He was a member of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991, and a member of the Steering Committee to the Multilateral Peace Negotiations from 1991-93.† In 1996, Dr. Barghouthi was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council but was obliged to relinquish his seat to a Christian candidate under the quota system.† He also formed part of the Palestinian delegation to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in 2004.†

Dr. Barghouthi ran in the Presidential elections of January 2005 on an anti-corruption and pro-democracy platform, and achieved second place behind Mahmoud Abbas, with 20 percent of total votes [6].† He stood as a candidate of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) [7], a movement he co-founded in 2002 along with Dr. Edward Said [8], Dr. Haider Abdel-Shafi [9] and Mr. Ibrahim Dakak, and currently serves as its Secretary General.† The PNI is a democratic opposition movement that seeks to build a reformist, inclusive alternative to both Fatah and Hamas.†

Currently, Dr. Barghouthi is heading the Independent Palestine coalition running in upcoming Legislative elections, slated for 25 January 2006.† The coalition consists of independents, business leaders, academics, writers, representatives of womenís and youth groups, people with disabilities, labour movements, and the PNI [10].† It seeks to provide a truly democratic and independent alternative to the large majority of silent and unrepresented Palestinian voters, who favour neither the autocracy and corruption of the governing Fatah party, nor the fundamentalism of Hamas.†

It consistently gains third position in polls gauging levels of support for the various groups standing in Legislative elections.† A recent poll conducted by Najah University in Nablus, indicated that Independent Palestine was set to gain 10.4 percent of votes in upcoming Legislative elections, behind Fatah (39.3 percent) and Hamas (31.3 percent), and ahead of all other lists. [11]

In addition, recent polls identified Dr. Barghouthi as most popular candidate for the position of Prime Minister [12].

If you would like to meet, or arrange an interview with Dr. Barghouthi, please contact:

Ms. Diala Ghassan
Press Officer (Arabic and English)
Tel: 0599-674411