Abdallah Barghouthi on hunger strike until transfer to Jordan | Published yesterday (updated) 19/06/2013 19:04 | RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A Jordanian citizen imprisoned in Israel will not end his hunger strike until he transferred to a Jordanian prison, a lawyer said Thursday. Abdallah Barghouthi, who was transferred to the Haemek Medical Center in Afula in northern Israel, has been on hunger strike since May 2. Hanan al-Khatib, a lawyer for the PA Detainee Affairs Ministry, visited Barghouthi and said he was chained to his hospital bed by his legs and his left hand. Prison guards have turned Barghouthi's hospital room "into a kitchen" to harass him, al-Khatib said. They also provoke him by having noisy gatherings in his room. Barghouthi told the lawyer he felt isolated from the world as he is not allowed to receive newspapers or listen to news bulletins. In May, Barghouthi, 41, was taken to the al-Jalameh prison for four days where he was interrogated about his hunger strike, a lawyer from the Addameer prisoner rights organization said. A Palestinian [sic] with Jordanian citizenship, Barghouthi is demanding his release from Israeli prison to serve the remainder of his sentence in a Jordanian jail, under the Wadi Araba agreement between Jordan and Israel. Barghouthi is also demanding that Israel disclose the whereabouts of 20 missing Jordanian prisoners, he told Addameer lawyer Faris Ziyad. Further, he is calling on Israel to remove the bodies of Palestinians who died in Israeli custody from nameless graves. Barghouthi is serving 67 life terms, the highest sentence ever handed down by an Israeli military court. He has been detained since March 2003. A Hamas leader, Barghouthi was convicted of involvement in multiple attacks in Israel.We almost have sympathy for the people who write the Ma'an news reports. They describe how he is harassed, chained, feels isolated, detained and convicted of involvement in multiple somethings. But Ma'an's editors know that both Hamas and the morally-bankrupt Palestinian Authority of the non-moderate Mahmoud Abbas routinely and publicly call this Barghouti a hero. They bestow honors on him and on his family.
He is in the news in other places too. The government and parliament of Norway are currently embroiled in a debate over how, in the name of moral decency, they could have provided the funding for a 'rewards for terror' scheme hatched by the Abbas regime that places this same Barghouti at the highest rung for payments made out of the PA's overdraft account at the bank. See "22-May-13: Asking Norway to face up to the lethal consequences of its funding decisions". And "14-Mar-13: Shock! Horror! Norwegian politicians awaken to discover they were played for fools by the terrorists"
Perhaps this explains the difficulty Ma'an's editors have in actually articulating what this Barghouti did. They say he holds the record for the longest sentence ever imposed by an Israeli military court. Why is that?
Six years ago, we wrote about him here ["10-Apr-07: Regarding Abdullah Barghouti"]. We said Barghouti built the bomb that ended the life of our daughter, Malki. A Kuwaiti who settled in the West Bank village of Burqa in 1999, he has been frequently described in the media - and from his own mouth - as the brains behind the Sbarro restaurant massacre on 9th August 2001. Arrested and put on trial in Israel, Barghouti pleaded guilty and told the court he "did this to kill as many Israelis as possible".
In December 2004 he was sentenced to 67 life-terms in an Israeli prison (report). In a later interview, he said: "I do not accept responsibility for their deaths. I feel pain, of course. They are little children. But the government of Israel is solely responsible."
Below is an open letter we wrote in 2006 about Abdullah Barghouti. It was originally published on the website we created in our daughter's memory. We wrote it as an open letter in response to the screening of a Bob Simon segment called Terror Behind Bars on the CBS "60 Minutes" television program. That segment focuses on three Palestinian mass murderers - Barghouti and two others.
An Open Letter from Frimet and Arnold Roth [April 21, 2006]Back in 2006, we wrote that it was hard for us to imagine the government of Israel giving serious consideration to handing Barghouti his freedom and a license to go out and kill more innocents. But that was some years before they made other decisions that we would have thought impossible to make, starting with giving the woman who plotted the Sbarro massacre, and who brought the bomb to the center of Jerusalem, her freedom. On the other hand, it's not at all hard for us to imagine politicians and media analysts calling on Israel to do just that.
This coming weekend, the high-profile television program "60 Minutes" is going to give public exposure to a convicted murderer and terrorist called Barghouti. Speaking from an Israeli prison, the interview will show him taking credit for a massacre at a restaurant in the center of Jerusalem in August 2001 and another at the Hebrew University's cafeteria a year later. In front of a huge audience throughout North America, he will say of the number of people killed in the attacks he masterminded: "I feel bad because the number is only 66."
Our daughter Malki, fifteen years old, was one of Barghouti's 66.
We, together with our neighbors living here in Jerusalem and throughout Israel, belong to the much larger number of living people about whom Barghouti feels so bad.
We have nothing to say to Barghouti, and he has nothing to say that deserves to be heard. His opinions are worthless to us and to anyone with a sense of morality. His life is a disgrace to the society which nurtured him.
But while we have no interest in him, we are very interested in the leadership of the society which has turned Barghouti into a hero - in their opinions and even more in their actions.
The political leadership of the Palestinians was decided by a process that seemed democratic when their elections took place two months ago. Whether or not a democracy can truly function when gangs of heavily armed Arab thugs rule the streets of their towns and villages is a fair question. But the legitimacy of the Palestinian government is not for us Israelis to determine. The Palestinians and most of the media called it a democratic process, and no one seriously suggests today that the Hamas leadership lacks political legitimacy. Their stated viewpoints therefore have to be heard and analyzed.
For those like us with a special sensitivity to terror, the Palestinian leadership today is the world's outstanding embodiment of unadulterated terrorism: a government which actively supports terror, promotes terror, honors terror and justifies terror. We hear them speak, and we hear the voice of terror. The current minister of the interior in the Hamas government says he will not arrest those who carry out terror attacks against us. His actions make clear that he should be believed.
As ugly and repugnant as the words of Barghouti will likely be to the viewers of "60 Minutes", we urge them and CBS not to focus on the man. He is irrelevant, except that he creates a context. Barghouti's evil deeds are the concrete expression of the desires of a government which wants to be accepted as an equal by the community of nations. The anger and revulsion which his interview creates should be redirected at them - at the terrorists in business suits who plot and scheme every day to increase Barghouti's 66 to the largest number they can think of.