Al-Barguti, speaking in fluent Hebrew, made the remarks on Monday during his own defence on his last court appearance before sentencing. He is currently on trial in Israel for multiple murders or abetting the killing of Israelis, charges he denies.

“The Intifada (uprising) was a clear reaction to occupation and settlements and the frustration of the Palestinian people over non-implementation of Oslo," he said, referring to the 1993 interim peace deals with Israel.

“The occupation cannot continue over the Palestinian people who want freedom and independence like every other people in the world,” said the resistance leader.

“There is one solution - two states for two peoples, or one state for two peoples. Otherwise the bloodshed will continue," he told the court. 

Al-Barguti is the leader of Palestinian President Yasir Arafat’s Fatah movement in the occupied West Bank. Israel arrested him in April 2000.

He is due to be sentenced in mid-November after a trial which has seen the prosecution present little detailed evidence to prove its case.

“I am against killing innocents," said al-Barguti.

Plea for peace

In his 45-minute speech, al-Barguti made no references to the charges levelled against him, but rather gave an impassioned speech about the realities of living under Israeli occupation and called for an immediate end to it.

“It is better to die than to live under occupation. I am standing here because I opposed the occupation"

Marwan al-Barguti, jailed Fatah faction leader in West Bank

“(Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon himself, who has been pursuing war for the last 60 years, said four months ago it was time to put and end to the occupation and it will happen," he said referring to comments made, but later retracted by the Israeli
leader.

“I think it's time the Israeli public realised we need to end the occupation," he said, adding he was proud of his resistance to Israeli occupation.
 
“It is better to die than to live under occupation. I am standing here because I opposed the occupation.” 

Al-Barguti addressed a three-judge panel while often glancing at European Union observers in the gallery and a court camera that screened proceedings to journalists in another room.

He repeated his position that he did not recognise the authority of the Israeli court system to arrest and judge him.

"There is no justice in this court for Palestinians.”