Palestinian prisoners' demands are just and legal

Bruno Cirelli
Aprile 20, 2017

Government officials have shown little interest in meeting the prisoners' demands, as Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has said that prison officials will not negotiate with the striking prisoners.

The hunger strike is not simply about the rights of prisoners, it is about the rights of all Palestinians to live without occupation and its unlawful and cruel restrictions.

In response to the hunger strike, Barghouti has been moved to solitary confinement.

The April 16 piece - where the Times referred to Barghouti as a "Palestinian leader and parliamentarian" - was slammed by Israeli officials and Jewish leaders in the US and elsewhere.

Around 6,500 Palestinians are now detained by Israel for a range of offences and alleged crimes. "In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it".

"Calling Barghouti a "political leader" is like calling Assad a 'pediatrician, ' said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad".

A day after convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti wrote a New York Times op-ed that omitted his crimes and terrorist organization membership and sparked scathing rebuke from the global community, the newspaper added a brief editor's note acknowledging the murder and terror-related convictions that led to his imprisonment.

Barghouti was arrested by Israel in April 2002 and charged in relation to suicide bombings and shooting attacks that claimed the lives of hundreds of Israeli civilians and soldiers, and wounded hundreds more.

In an updated editor's note, the Times wrote that Barghouti's op-ed "explained the writer's prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted".

In the latest reaction to a widely criticized decision by The New York Times to publish an op-ed by Palestinian terror chief Marwan Barghouti, without initially identifying him as a convicted killer, a former Israeli general detailed Barghouti's extensive terror connections and culpability for some of the deadliest attacks of the second Palestinian intifada.

Such harsh sentences are used as retaliatory tactics aimed at countering youth activism or as a means of retribution against older family members.

According to the Times, "a rash of readers" complained about the failure to include an explanation of why Barghouti was in prison.

The officials have also cracked down on the rank-and-file hunger strikers, some of whom are in administration detention without charges or trial, and said they do not negotiated with prisoners.

"We're not talking here about prisoners with serious stamina and personal discipline, as we saw with the administrative prisoners [who are detained without trial] who persevered with a 2012 hunger strike for 100 days or more, jeopardizing their lives", said the source.

The protest is a peaceful one, say the prisoners, a fight to improve deteriorating living conditions imposed by the Israeli Prison Service.

The head of the Palestinian Detainees' Committee Issa Qaraqe has reported that a Palestinian mother of four detainees, held by Israel and are participating in the hunger strike, has also started a hunger strike in solidarity with them and the rest of the detainees. The group of so-called Palestinian security prisoners is not unified or united around one leadership despite the image some try to convey.

The move is meant to pressure officials into furnishing prisoners with telephone access and better medical treatment and to meet other demands. The political divisions that plague the Palestinian public, and the tensions among the various factions within Fatah, the largest of the movements, are mirrored in the Palestinian prison population.

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