Last week, The New York Times gave a convicted murderer and terrorist, a guy named Marwan Barghouti, access to its pages to bitch about being imprisoned instead of being allowed to run free and kill Jews. The Times described him as “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian” and it does seem like multiple murders of innocent people is a prerequisite to hold office in the Palestinian controlled territories. And he used his op-ed as an opportunity to announce a hunger strike.
Having spent the last 15 years in an Israeli prison, I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners. After exhausting all other options, I decided there was no choice but to resist these abuses by going on a hunger strike.
Some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners have decided to take part in this hunger strike, which begins today, the day we observe here as Prisoners’ Day. Hunger striking is the most peaceful form of resistance available. It inflicts pain solely on those who participate and on their loved ones, in the hopes that their empty stomachs and their sacrifice will help the message resonate beyond the confines of their dark cells.
Now some Israelis have decided to engage in theater of their own:
National Union activists held a barbecue to taunt Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike Thursday.
The youth branch and secretary-general of the far-right party, which has two representatives in Bayit Yehudi, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and MK Bezalel Smotrich, set up grills outside the Ofer Prison to “celebrate the hunger strike” and “break the spirit” of the strikers, in hopes that the smell of the meat would waft into the prison.
The prisoners “will enjoy breathing in the smoke and suffer from the smell of the meat, and [we will] show them that we will not give in to their whims,” the group said.