Officials Ignore Terrorist Barghouti’s Illegal Media Campaign
National Union Knesset Member Dr. Michael Ben-Ari and his parliamentary aide Itamar Ben-Gvir issued an ultimatum Tuesday to prison officials to punish convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti for breaking prison rules and conducting interviews with the media.
They gave officials 24 hours to enforce punishment or face an appeal to the High Court.
Barghouti is serving five life terms for planning deadly suicide attacks against Israelis, and conflicting rumors are rampant concerning his name being on the list of 1,400 terrorists and prisoners Israel may free in order to bring home kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
The convicted terrorist has conducted several interviews from his jail cell, without permission, for several weeks. Prison officials have ignored appeals by Ben-Gvir and MK Dr. Ben-Ari that he be punished like other prisoners, including Yigal Amir, convicted for killing former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.
Ben-Gvir and MK Dr. Ben-Ari said that the discrimination in favor of Barghouti is unacceptable, particularly in light of his five life terms in prison.
Barghouti has been the center of constant rumors on the current and previous proposals to free terrorists in exchange for Shalit. Barghouti recently said from his jail cell that he sees no difference between the Fatah faction and the rival Hamas terrorist organization, which helped kidnapped Shalit more than three years ago.
Arabic-language newspapers have reported Barghouti is on the yet unpublicized list of terrorists Israel has agreed to free, pending Cabinet approval. Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, (Likud) insisted he is not on the list, but it is doubtful than he has been given a roster of the names of terrorists involved in the proposal.
Barghouti enjoys widespread support throughout the Palestinian Authority and would be a likely successor to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas if he decides to seek the position, even if he remains in prison.
Among the terrorist attacks he planned was the bombing of a Tel Aviv market that killed four Israelis and a Greek monk.