Mass terrorist prison hunger strike fails, Palestinians declare victory anyway
The Palestinian terrorist prison hunger strike led by Marwan Barghouti, serving 5 life sentences for murder, is over. The hunger strike was launched through an Op-Ed by Barghouti in the NY Times on April 14, 2017.
Barghouti was one of the leaders of the bloody Second Intifada, which killed over 1000 Israeli civilians. Barghouti was charged with dozens of murders, but the Israeli court applied exacting evidentiary standards, resulting in Barghouti escaping punishment for most of the murders for which he was charged.
Some 800 or so other prisoners, most serving terror related sentences, participated. The hunger strike was widely viewed as a means for Barghouti so set himself up as a successor to Mahmood Abbas at top of the Palestinian Authority.
Quite embarrassingly, Barghouti was on video caught cheating and eating.
The internet almost broke when the Israeli Pizza Hut franchise ran an ad mocking the sneaky eater. There were some other newsworthy scenes, including Israeli protesters barbequing outside the prison where Barghouti and other hunger strikers were imprisoned.
Barghouti’s list of demands was lengthy, as this Times of Israel report summarizes:
Among the demands Barghouti made were 20 channels of television, unrestricted books and magazines, air conditioning, a greater selection of items available for purchase in the canteen, family visits, the restarting of open university studies, public telephone use, and annual medical checks for prisoners.
The hunger strike never garnered the attention hoped for. The international media pretty much ignored it.
Only hardcore anti-Israel activists in the West seemed to care, like Jewish Voice for Peace.
Very little that JVP does surprises me any more given their obsessive demonization of Israel, enabling of anti-Semitism by providing Jewish cover, and twisting of Jewish holidays into anti-Israel events.
I was surprised, though, to find a JVP pop-up ad supporting Barghouti at the left-wing Israeli Haaretz website (the image below is a pop-up ad screenshot from my phone when visiting the Haaretz home page on May 26, 2017)
The hunger strike ended without any Israeli concessions.
The only concession came from the International Red Cross. The Red Cross agreed to second monthly family visit per prisoner, which had been suspended by the Red Cross (not Israel) because few families showed up and the Palestinian Authority had stopped paying for it. The Palestinian Authority agreed to pay, providing a face-saving way for Barghouti and the others to resume eating:
The deal announced Saturday morning will apparently see just one of the prisoners’ demands met: that their monthly visits from family members be brought back from one to two per month.
However, the issue of visitation is not an Israeli one. Family visits to Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails are administered solely by the Red Cross. Last year, the organization reduced the number of visits it coordinated, citing a lack of funds and little family interest in the initiative.
Prison officials told Channel 2 that hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti negotiated the additional monthly visit in a phone conversation with PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh. They said officials at Ashkelon’s Shikma Prison allowed Barghouti to speak with al-Sheikh and meet with other leading prisoners in an effort to end the hunger strike before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
According to the Israeli officials, Barghouti and the other prisoners agreed to call off the strike after the PA promised to pay for the additional visits, at an estimated cost of $6 million per year.
Nonetheless, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency declared victory. So did JVP:
The failed hunger strike serves as both a metaphor and a lesson for the failed Palestinian attempt to destroy Israel: Self-created hardships lead to demands for international action and, in the end, delusional claims of victory.
Those delusions sustain the continued warfare, and are fed by leftist anti-Israel groups in the West like JVP, whose reason-to-be depends on continued conflict.
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