Jailed Fatah leader moved to separate prison, into isolation amid hunger strike
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 25, 2017,
Apr 25, 2017, 8:57
A senior Israeli official says the regime will not enter negotiations with Palestinian prisoners who have launched an open-ended hunger strike in protest at harsh prison conditions and restrictions on family visits.
He said Barghouti had been placed in solitary confinement because calling for the hunger strike was against prison rules.
He has always been viewed as a future president of a Palestinian state, even as he is reviled by Israelis as a terrorist who is serving multiple life terms in prison for murder.
Deliberately evoking Nelson Mandela - Barghouti himself is often called Palestine's Mandela - the article laid out the cruelties regularly inflicted on prisoners, many of whom are only children.
"The strike is politically motivated and includes unreasonable demands", he said in a statement released on his behalf.
There are fears that the hunger strike - observed by 1,187 detainees, according to Israel's prison service - could fuel tensions across the Palestinian areas. "He is a convicted murderer and a terrorist".
Barghouti, 57, has always been seen as the leader of a young generation of homegrown Fatah politicians who have been vying for years to win power from Abbas and an old guard of leaders in exile who returned to take control of Palestinian territories with Abbas and Yasser Arafat during the peace agreements of the 1990s.
Barghouti, who has been named as a possible successor to Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, called the strike "the most peaceful form of resistance available".
What will Trump mean for Israel? He was convicted on five counts of murder and one attempted murder, and was implicated in - and held responsible for - four other terror attacks.
"The Israeli government will be responsible for any and all of the consequences of this hunger strike - if a prisoner dies, or becomes extremely ill, they are the ones that will have to handle the outcome".
Israeli authorities have arrested about one million Palestinians since 1948 and the subsequent occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967.
"This new hunger strike will demonstrate once more that the prisoners' movement is the compass that guides our struggle, the struggle for Freedom and Dignity, the name we have chosen for this new step in our long walk to freedom", he wrote.
Palestinians regard the detainees as political prisoners.
On Monday, a group of several dozen protesters marched from central Ramallah's Arafat Square to the offices of the International Red Cross, holding pictures of the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners and chanting, "With our souls and blood we will sacrifice ourselves for you, oh prisoner".