Video shows Palestinian hunger-strike leader Marwan Barghouti eating in his cell bathroom

JTA

Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti being escorted to Jerusalem court, January 25, 2012. (Flash90
Maarivout)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Prison Service released a video which shows Marwan Barghouti, the high-profile Palestinian prisoner leading a hunger strike, secretly eating in the bathroom of his cell.

The hunger strike launched three weeks ago with a Barghouti op-ed in the New York Times. The hundreds of Palestinian hunger strikers are calling for more favorable prison conditions. Barghouti is serving multiple life sentences for the murder of five Jewish Israelis.

The video released on Sunday shows Barghouti eating in his bathroom twice, on April 27 and May 5.

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“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,” Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan said in a statement following the release of the video. Abu Mazen is the nom de guerre of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas; Barghouti is seen as a possible successor to Abbas.

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“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 also said.

Some 850 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are still taking part in the strike.

Israeli authorities are considering bringing in foreign doctors to force-feed the Palestinian hunger strikers if Israeli doctors continue to resist taking part in the practice, as advised by the Israel Medical Association.

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