Don't cheat this time, Marwan Barghouti

This is not the first hunger strike organized by Barghouti, the "moderate," but let's hope he doesn't cut corners this time around.

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Ariel Natan Pasko,

West Bank
West Bank
צילום: פלאש 90

According to the latest pictures I’ve seen of Marwan Barghouti, he can use a little dieting. He’s grown a bit heavier, with his sedentary lifestyle of late. Not like the early 2000’s, when he was active and busy planning the murders of hundreds of Jews. Some say, he helped plan the entire Oslo War - a.k.a. the second intifada.

Of course cheating on his diet – i.e. hunger strike – as he did earlier in the century, is no way to take off the pounds.

That’s right - terrorist mastermind, mass murderer and part time dieter Marwan Barghouti, called for a Palestinian security prisoner hunger strike recently, the same Marwan who was caught in the past on video cheating, eating food, while his comrades starved themselves to "liberate Palestine."

As I wrote in “Palestinian Leaders Trick Their People Again” (2004), “...while his fellow prisoners were refraining from food, Marwan Barghouti, the Tanzim terrorist leader, was caught on camera feeding his face. First he covered the door and window of his cell - so as not to be seen - then he washed his hands and pigged out.


Barghouti asked wardens for the food and ate without knowing that a camera was filming from a small hole in the wall.
According to Prison Services spokesman Ofer Lefler, Barghouti asked wardens for the food and ate without knowing that a camera was filming from a small hole in the wall. Israel wanted to catch him, to show fasting prisoners how their leader was behaving, Lefler said. "I want to show the world and the Palestinians that we are dealing with terrorists," Lefler continued, "Barghouti is sitting on a pot of meat and he sends his friends to die.”

Barghouti was a leader of the first intifada who was arrested by Israel and deported to Jordan for seven years. He was allowed to return under the Oslo deal in 1994. He was later elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 1996. Barghouti founded the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade terror group and was the leader of Fatah’s armed wing, the Tanzim terrorist organization during the Oslo War, before being captured by Israeli forces in April 2002. He was tried in 2004, the court acquitted him of 21 counts of murder in 33 attacks for “lack of sufficient evidence.” But he was sentenced to five life sentences for five murders in three attacks, plus an additional 40 years imprisonment for attempted murder.

Even so, for years, assorted Israeli leftists, like Gush Shalom, former MKs Yossi Beilin, Meir Sheetrit, and even Shimon Peres, and some world leaders, have looked at Barghouti as a possible successor to Mahmoud Abbas, capable of delivering a peace agreement. Many of them consider him to be more moderate than Abbas.

He must be, last year Belgian Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum, nominated Barghouti for the Nobel Peace Prize. He seems to be following in the footsteps of that other well known peace monger, Yasser Arafat.

In addition to his former terrorist exploits, when Marwan Barghouti has made political statements, he’s said things such as, “After we attain a Palestinian state [in Judea and Samaria], there will be greater things for which to strive... There is no room for more than one state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.” More moderate than Abbas?

Peace delusional Israelis and others, only see Barghouti’s friendly side. But as a terrorist leader and then pop-star security prisoner for the last fifteen years, Barghouti is very popular on the Palestinian street. According to the last poll done by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, about elections, No. 59 in 2016, if the presidential elections were between Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, Barghouti would receive 57% and Haniyeh would receive only 39% of the vote. Evidently violence - murdering Jews - sells in “Palestine”.

Barghouti was recently elected to the Fatah Executive Committee. And, according to Dr. Mordechai Kedar of the BESA Center at Bar-Ilan University, in spite of the list of demands of the prisoners, Barghouti really organized the hunger strike “...because he wants to position himself as ‘the leader’ not only inside the prisons, but of all the Palestinian Authority. He wants to challenge Abbas...”

It seems Palestinians love their leaders murderous, corrupt, and duplicitous, they’re probably cheering him on...

After his Op-Ed and the NYT scandal, Israel moved Barghouti to solitary confinement. He might find it easier to eat there again, away from the eyes of the other prisoners.

Well, if you want to be president, don’t cheat this time Marwan. Put that piece of pizza down!


 

Ariel Natan Pasko, an independent analyst and consultant, has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites and in newspapers.