Israel gives Marwan Barghouti solitary confinement after NYT op-ed

Israel gives Marwan Barghouti solitary confinement after NYT op-ed
Israeli authorities placed leading Palestinian hunger striker, Marwan Barghouti in solitary confinement on Tuesday, just hours after he highlighted Israel's treatment of detainees in a New York Times article.
2 min read
18 April, 2017
The popular Palestinian leader is imprisoned by Israel [Getty]

Palestinian prisoner, Marwan Barghouti was among three others forced into solitary confinement on Tuesday, after the leading hunger striker criticised Israel’s treatment of detainees in an op-ed published on the New York Times.

Barghouti, who led a group of more than 1,600 Palestinian hunger strikers in prison, was secluded from fellow inmates at the Jalameh prison in northern Israel along with Karim Younis, Maher Yunis and Mahmoud Abu Sorour just hours after the powerful piece was published.

"Decades of experience have proved that Israel's inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong,” Barghouti wrote in a NYT piece.

“..By inflicting suffering on their bodies, separating them from their families and communities, using humiliating measures to compel subjugation," Barghouti added.

"In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it."

More than 1,600 Palestinians in Israeli prisons launched the hunger strike on Monday, issuing a list of demands ranging from better medical services to access to telephones.

Just a day later, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan vowed not to negotiate with the protesting detainees, confirming the popular Palestinian leader had been moved to another prison and placed in solitary confinement.

"They are terrorists and incarcerated murderers who are getting what they deserve and we have no reason to negotiate with them," Erdan told army radio.

He said Barghouti had been placed in solitary confinement because calling for the hunger strike was against prison rules.

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel for a range of offences and alleged crimes, and of those, 62 are women and 300 are minors. 

Some 500 are held under administrative detention, which allows for imprisonment without charge, prompting prisoners to launch repeated hunger strikes over the years - but rarely on such a large scale.

Barghouti's call for the strike has given it added credibility, with the 57-year-old serving five life sentences over his role in the second Palestinian intifada or uprising.

He is popular among Palestinians, with polls suggesting he could win the Palestinian presidency.