PA (Palestinian Authority) representative in Washington, DC Husam Zomlot met with senior State Department officials earlier this week as the PA continues efforts to increase pressure on Israel. The PA is using a hunger strike declared by imprisoned terrorists to increase political pressure on Jerusalem. Convicted arch terrorist Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences for his heinous acts, has called on his fellow imprisoned terrorists to join him in the hunger strike, which began last Friday, 18 Nissan.
Zomlot explained to US officials that the terrorists are demanding increased rights and improved conditions including more family visits, more cable TV channels, daily newspapers [which were ceased] and the ability to complete one’s high school diploma at Israel’s expense.
PA sources report that approximately 1,100 of the 6,000 imprisoned terrorists are participating in the hunger strike, which they insist is an open-ended effort.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan released a message “We do not negotiate with prisoners”, telling the media he is confident the Israel Prison Service has the experience and expertise to deal with the hunger strike. He added the prison service is coordinating with IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).
Former PA Minister of Prisoner Affairs Qadura Fares denies the accuracy of Israeli reports, insisting Barghouti is not the driving force behind the hunger strike.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)