jerusalem | During the Palestinian security prisoner hunger strike, which began Sunday, Aug. 15, a number of cases of strike-breaking have been reported. Among those allegedly consuming food are imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and other strike leaders, who have been put in separate cells.
Israel Prison Services released a film Wednesday, Aug. 18, filmed by a hidden camera that shows a man, apparently Barghouti, eating in his cell with the door and window covered by a cloth.
Barghouti, the highest-ranking Palestinian in Israeli custody, is serving five consecutive life terms after being convicted of involvement in fatal attacks.
The West Bank leader of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement was one of the organizers of the hunger strike.
The black-and-white film carries a date of Aug. 17 in the lower right corner. It shows a bare-chested man who looks exactly like Barghouti washing his hands and then eating.
Prison Services spokesman Ofer Lefler said Barghouti asked wardens for the food and ate without knowing that a camera was filming from a small hole in the wall. Israel wanted to show fasting prisoners how their leader was behaving, Lefler said.
“I want to show the world and the Palestinians that we are dealing with terrorists,” Lefler said. “Barghouti is sitting on a pot of meat and he sends his friends to die.”
The Palestinian security prisoner hunger strike intensified on its fourth day Aug. 18, with the number of inmates striking rising from 1,400 to more than 2,200.
The strike started Aug. 15, started with low numbers, but prison officials explained that the inmates were set to gradually join the strike with the peak set to be at the end of the week.
Arafat joined the strike on Aug. 18, in a display of solidarity with the prisoners’ struggle.
“Together we will continue fighting until the establishment of our own state with Jerusalem as its capital,” Arafat said. “[Internal Security Minister Tzachi] Hanegbi says that he doesn’t care if you starve to death. I say to him that he does not scare us.”