Erdan: 'We will not surrender to terrorist blackmail'

Minister Gilad Erdan pens New York Times article: 'The true motivation behind this strike is political jockeying'.

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Mordechai Sones,

Gilad Erdan
Gilad Erdan
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

Internal Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan attacks the PA's incitement and support for terror and responds to Marwan Barghouti's claims in an article published today (Monday) in the New York Times.

In his article, Erdan writes, "Since his arrest in 2002, Mr. Barghouti has become adept at rebranding Palestinian Arab terrorism as legitimate 'resistance' and casting himself as a 'moderate.' (Palestinian Arab groups like to use language calibrated to make their actions more palatable to Westerners: Incarcerated terrorists are called 'political prisoners,' and cold-blooded attacks against civilians in restaurants and buses are whitewashed as a 'struggle for freedom.')

He would prefer that his Western audiences not know that he was convicted of ordering or approving three attacks that cost the lives of five people," he said.

Minister Erdan notes, "Mr. Barghouti would like his audience to believe that the hunger strike is a reaction to the mistreatment of prisoners like him. In fact, it has nothing to do with their conditions, which meet international standards. This is reflected in the list of demands presented by Mr. Barghouti to the Israel Prison Service: the option to obtain university degrees, more family visits, access to more television channels, public telephones and private doctors.

"Mr. Barghouti seems to hope that being chosen to succeed Mr. Abbas will lead to his release from prison. But he faces competition from several rivals and recently failed to secure a senior position in a round of political appointments of Fatah leadership. The hunger strike is another step in his campaign to position himself as Mr. Abbas’s successor. The political nature of the strike is a main reason the leaders of Fatah’s rival, Hamas, have not backed the strike...

"Israel will not give in to extortion. The conditions and regulations in Israel’s prison system are determined according to Israeli law and international standards, not by pressure tactics. Surrendering to such a strike would constitute a surrender to terrorism and would only embolden terrorist groups, weaken our deterrence and lead to further conflict and bloodshed," Erdan added.