Palestinian terrorist and convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti has been leading a hunger strike to protest detention of so-called political prisoners. Sunday, though, Israeli authorities released video appearing to show that well-placed cookies and candy have repeatedly overcome his resolve:
The video starts with a clip from April 27, showing Barghouti eagerly unwrapping an envelope with cookies inside, and retreating to his stall to gobble them up before figuring out how to hide the envelope. Footage from May 5 shows him opening another envelope — this one containing popular Israeli candy bar Tortit.
Prison guards reportedly placed the sweets in Barghouti’s cell, and Israeli officials such as Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan are enthusiastically using the incident to discredit the Palestinian leader. Erdan said, “I hope that the prisoners will understand that the leader of the (hunger) strike is cynically exploiting them while not participating on his own.”
Others have turned the Tortit bar into a symbol of Barghouti’s hypocrisy:
Free Palestine from the Tortit! pic.twitter.com/TFj9VOYSjQ
— Conservative TLVian 🇮🇱 (@qumranqu) May 8, 2017
Critics have accused Israel of using food as a “weapon” against Barghouti, but nothing indicates any coercion. The video could very well be damaging to the former intifada leader, especially if Palestinian media fails to stop his supporters from seeing it. Recent polls have shown that Palestinians consider him a leading candidate to succeed current Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. He even had a grandiose opinion piece about leading this “hunger strike” published in the New York Times, which eschewed any mention of his murders until pressure forced the Times to add an editor’s note.
Barghouti’s wife and many others are unsurprisingly calling the footage “fake.” But it could be that he is simply copying Yale graduate students’ guidelines for a proper hunger strike.