Marwan Barghouti, the leader of the hunger strike in which hundreds of terrorists in Israeli prisons are currently engaged, issued a call from his prison cell for the Arabs living under the rule of the Palestinian Authority to escalate the struggle on behalf of the terrorists and threatened an increase in civil disobedience if the demands of the hunger strikers are not met.
The Lebanese network Al-Miyadin published a letter in which Barghouti wrote: "I call for cohesion between the commemoration of Nakba Day with all-out civil disobedience."
His letter continued: "I promise the Palestinian people that I will continue the struggle for Palestinian freedom and dignity until their goals are achieved...Their attempts at blackmailing [us] only convince us that our victory is assured.
On Friday, the London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported that the Palestinian Authority and Israel were conducting intensive negotiations to end the hunger strike of the imprisoned terrorists.
PA Minister Issa Qaraqi admitted to the existence of the negotiations. According to the report, the parties intend to form an agreement before May 15, Nakba Day, for fear of disturbances among the Arab population in Judea and Samaria. Nakba day, meaning "Day of Catastrophe" is the Palestinian Arab attempt to counter Israel's Independence Day, Yom Ha'atzmaut, and is held one day after the May 14, 1948 establishment of the Jewish state. Since Israel's Independence festivites occur on the Hebrew date of its establishment, Nakba Day rarely takes place the day after Yom Ha'atzmaut.
"We do not know if the Israel Prison Service (IPS) will be serious in the talks, but it seems that the international pressure, the intensity and scope of the strike, and the health of the prisoners and the transfer of some of them to hospitals has paid off," Qaraqi told the PA news agency, Ma'an.
Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited Barghouti last Thursday. Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences for the murder of Israeli civilians, was caught on camera breaking his hunger strike by eating chocolate sweets in the corner of his prison cell.
However, approximately 800 terrorists, less than one-sixth of the number imprisoned, are currently engaged in the hunger strike, which began last month.