Barghouti's Cheering Section

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Israel's terrorism trial of Marwan Barghouti, the head of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction in the West Bank, got off to a raucous start last week with the Palestinian's yelling defiant slogans in the Tel Aviv courtroom. Now Khader Shkirat, a Barghouti lawyer, tells Time he has "a promise" from aides to Nelson Mandela that the South African leader will attend the trial as a signal that he views it as a violation of Barghouti's rights. Mandela's office was not available for comment. Meanwhile, during a tour of Arab states, Barghouti's wife Fadwa was pushing the parallel between her husband and the hero of the antiapartheid struggle. "Marwan is the Palestinian Nelson Mandela," she said in Damascus.

Barghouti, facing charges that he was involved in terrorist attacks by al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militia funded by Fatah, appears to be getting little support from a more obvious source: Arafat. Barghouti's camp complains that Arafat, who sees Barghouti as a rival for power, hasn't tried to get Europe or the U.S. to free him following his April arrest in Ramallah. In late May a huge poster of Barghouti was stretched across the side of Manara Square in the center of Ramallah. A jealous Arafat ordered its removal.