Palestinians stay on hunger strike despite 'snacking' claims

The hunger strike has ended its third week, with more than 1500 Palestinian prisoners entering the unsafe zone of going more than 21 days without food.

The Israeli government on Monday released a video purporting to show the leader of the Palestinian prisoners" hunger strike sneaking food in his cell - but the video does not have a verified time stamp, does not show the face of the prisoner in the cell, and has been discounted by hunger strikers as "pure propaganda'.

Israeli authorities say 894 Palestinian prisoners have kept up the strike, though Palestinian officials say it is more than 1,000.

- The Israeli media launches the war of rumors and lies about the strike, in order to create confusion in the Palestinian streets and between the striking detainees, and to demoralize the escalation of the strike.

Barghouti, a leader of the second Palestinian uprising, is serving five life terms after being convicted by an Israeli court of directing two shooting attacks and a bombing that killed five people.

The post was taken down from their Hebrew Facebook page.

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Supporters of Marwan Barghouti say the video released earlier this week and purportedly showing him snacking is a fabrication meant to break the prisoners' morale. One said, "Pizza Hut taking advantage of the hunger strike to make some money". "It was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the values of our brand", she said.

In response to the ad, a large number of Palestinians called for a boycott of the pizza chain on social media. However, on a visit to the detainees Nael Barghouthi and Muhammad Qiq, they said that the prison administration has tried the detainees who joined the strike in collective trials, imposed financial sanctions and deprived them from the canteen and visits.

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

An unidentified IPS official told Israel's Channel 2 Monday the videos of Barghouti were obtained as part of an IPS plan to tempt the strike leaders to eat by placing food in their cells.

"Pizza Hut is ridiculing the prisoners' strike", activist Alaa Abu Diab wrote on Facebook, using the hashtag #boycott_pizzahut.

Polls suggest that the 58-year-old Barghouti is the most popular choice among Palestinians to succeed 82-year-old Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

  • Sonia Alvarado