Palestinian hunger strike heightens tension with Israel

Lucy Bush
May 10, 2017

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan revealed Sunday that convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti, who has led a hunger strike in Israeli prisons, has been caught secretly eating.

As some 1,600 Palestinian prisoners marked their 23rd day on hunger strike on Tuesday, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs warned that hunger strikers had entered a unsafe stage, reporting that health conditions were deteriorating considerably.

Israeli authorities say 894 Palestinian prisoners have kept up the strike. He said that "the prisoners will not buy this account from the Israeli side, and they will continue their strike".

Barghouti, a senior member of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party and a highly popular figure among Palestinians, is serving five life sentences over his role in the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

In a press conference Monday, the wife of strike leader Marwan Barghouthi, Fadwa, stated, "We are not surprised by this fake video, it is all part of Israel's psychosocial warfare against the detainees in particular, and the Palestinian people in general".

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Protesters hold up portraits of Palestinian leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti in front of a statue of Nelson Mandela in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 3, 2017, during a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails.

The Palestinian official stressed that the lives of more than 1500 hunger striking detainees are at real risk, and called for extensive local, regional and worldwide support.

Palestinians called for a boycott of Pizza Hut yesterday after the company's franchise in Israel was accused of mocking hunger-striking prisoners.

In a public apology posted to its global Facebook page, Pizza Hut apologised for the "completely inappropriate" advertisement and said that it "does not reflect the values of our brand".

"Pizza Hut International apologises for any offence caused by a recent post on Pizza Hut Israel's Facebook page".

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The post, which Pizza Hut stated came from an agency, has since been removed.

"It was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the values of our brand", she told AFP.

"The local franchisee in the country removed it", she added.

An image shared by Palestinians on Facebook to promote the boycott of Pizza Hut for its alleged Facebook post, with imagery of a prisoner and an Israeli watchtower emblazoned on the chain's famous logo.

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