Rabat - Israeli officials are refusing to negotiate with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners, now on day 2 of their protest. Strikers are demanding access to phones, better visitation and improved medical care inside the prisons.
Rabat – Israeli officials are refusing to negotiate with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners, now on day 2 of their protest. Strikers are demanding access to phones, better visitation and improved medical care inside the prisons.
As far as the Israeli government is concerned, there will be no talks with the approximately 1,187 Palestinian prisoners engaged in a hunger strike since Monday. According to the BBC, while Palestinians regard these protestors as political prisoners, Israel prefers to view them as terrorists.
Israel’s Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, had strong words for the strike’s ringleader, Marwan Barghouti, saying he was “instigating mutiny and leading the hunger strike and that is a severe violation of the prison.” Erdan continued his remarks on Israeli public radio by describing the prisoners as “terrorists.”
“We have no reason to negotiate. They are terrorists and incarcerated murderers who are getting what they deserve,” Erdan said.
In the meantime, according to The Guardian, Barghouti has reportedly been moved from his cell at Hadarim to another prison, as yet undisclosed, although rumoured to be located in Haifa. It is known that he has been placed into solitary confinement.
Israeli officials have dealt with hunger strikes on the part of Palestinian protestors before, however, they are clearly rattled by the scale of this one, which comes as the international community recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation.
Officials are also said to be upset by an interview Barghouti gave to the New York Times, in which he stated, “Decades of experience have proved that Israel’s inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong, by inflicting suffering on their bodies, separating them from their families and communities, using humiliating measures to compel subjugation… In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it.”
In response, Israel’s Minister for Intelligence and Transportation tweeted that Barghouti should have been executed right after his 2004 conviction for five murders as part of the 2nd Palestinian Intifada. The minister openly called for the “death penalty for terrorists,” according to the same source.
Barghouti, who has been named as a possible successor to Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, called the strike “the most peaceful form of resistance available.”
Various organizations are estimating the number of prisoners involved in the strike between 1,100-1,500.