TEL AVIV – The Israeli Prison Service released a video on Sunday that appears to show Palestinian terrorist and wannabe politician Marwan Barghouti secretly eating a candy bar and other food in the bathroom of his cell while purportedly leading a hunger strike.
Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences, was filmed eating on two separate occasions. The first time on April 27 shows him unwrapping cookies from a hiding place in the bathroom and then eating it while sitting on the toilet. He then tries to conceal the fact by washing his hands and face and hiding the wrapper. On the second occasion on May 5, Barghouti is filmed eating a candy bar and salt.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan slammed Barghouti as a “murderer and a hypocrite” for eating while leading a hunger strike.
“As I said from the very beginning, this hunger strike was never about the conditions of the convicted terrorists, which meet international standards. It is about advancing Marwan Barghouti’s political ambitions to replace Abu Mazen,” Erdan said, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by his nickname. Barghouti is seen as a major contender to succeed Abbas.
“Barghouti is a murderer and hypocrite who urged his fellow prisoners to strike and suffer while he ate behind their back. Just like he lied to the world when he wrote in the New York Times that he decided to strike in order to protest ill-treatment, he lied to the Palestinian public when he claimed to be striking. Israel will not give in to extortion and pressure from terrorists,” Erdan said.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said Barghouti’s eating proved that the hunger strike is nothing more than “a media stunt, which seeks to glorify terrorists with blood on their hands.”
According to Palestinian sources, there are 1,500 hunger strikers in Israeli prisons. The goal of the hunger strike is supposedly to improve prison conditions. Demands include resuming a second monthly visit by family members (originally cancelled by the International Committee of the Red Cross over budgetary concerns), restoring academic studies for prisoners, and allowing additional TV channels and cell phones in security wings.
Barghouti served as chief of the Tanzim armed wing of Fatah and is the founder of the terror group the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. In 2004, he was found guilty of ordering terror attacks in three different locations and was implicated in another four.