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Marwan Barghouti's health deteriorating

April 26, 2017

According to Palestinian media, the health of Marwan Barghouti -- Palestine's Nelson Mandela -- has deteriorated severely.(1)

Marwan Barghouti is leading a mass hunger strike against denial of family visits, negligence of prisoners' medical needs, forcibly taking Palestinians to Israel to be detained, detention without charge or trial, solitary confinement, and the same abuses against prisoners who are younger than eighteen. Hunger strikes are a kind of non-violent resistance.

Barghouti was reportedly put in solitary a week ago(2) and appears to be in solitary still or at least in isolation. Solitary confinement in combination with other conditions may contribute to Barghouti's death within a matter of weeks. Widely considered unethical, inhumane and torturous, force-feeding would be risky, even leading to death potentially. Barghouti is nearly 58.

According to Lebanese Al-Manar Website, Barghouti said in a letter addressed to other parliamentarians around the world: "If you are reading my letter, this means that the Israeli occupation has decided to go ahead with its repressive policy, practicing collective punishment against the Palestinian prisoners."(3) "When you receive this letter, it means that I was once again placed in solitary confinement. But we won't keep mum, we won't surrender and our will won't be broken." Barghouti is one of more than a dozen members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in prison in I$rael.

Despite claims that the open hunger strike is just about Barghouti, Barghouti's own survival isn't the goal of the strike, not one more important than defending prisoners' rights and advancing the cause of Palestinians as a nation. As the leader of the hunger strike, Barghouti is not disposed to eat as long as I$rael refuses to negotiate over the legitimate concerns of the hunger-striking prisoners. I$rael is reportedly preventing lawyers from visiting hunger strikers.(4)

This is an unacceptable situation. It is subsidized and encouraged by the United States in various ways.

If Barghouti dies for leading an act of non-violent resistance, that will send a message to Palestinians. Israelis will not like the results, but the Americans will take advantage.

Palestinians have a right under international law to resist, in a variety ways, the illegal occupation and settlement activity associated with many violations of Palestinians' human and national rights. Marwan Barghouti's survival and release would help advance Palestinian unity efforts and the two-state solution with less violence. Palestinians shouldn't have to compete with each other and ISIS to show militancy, but it may come to that. If Barghouti -- who leads in polls among those who have an opinion about possible future Palestinian presidents -- dies, the ISIS problem will probably become worse regardless of popular Palestinian non-ISIS action. ISIS activity hurts Mideast countries more than it hurts the United States, but U.S. President Donald Trump seems inclined to exploit ISIS activity to deal with pressures from Democratic and Republican warmongers and justify the United States' excessive involvement in the Middle East.

This writer has said the imprisonment of popular Marwan Barghouti -- an intifada hero who also supports the two-state solution, is considered a unifying figure, and has a level of international support -- is hampering processes in Palestinian politics and public opinion. There are two ways for this to end. Both of them involve leaving prison. One of them involves a body bag.

There is a reason for the hunger-striking prisoners' demands about educational rights and other seemingly less-urgent demands. There is a variety of areas of potential compromise. The hunger-striking prisoners are giving both Israelis and Palestinians a way to save face. Despicable barbecue pranks and ridiculing and dismissing hunger strikers as seeking "goodies," when it can be clearly shown Palestinians have concerns about serious illegal practices both inside and outside prison, isn't a good place for Israelis to be at. As a whole, Israelis -- including those in government agencies -- are more secular than some might think and may not care about Israel being a Jewish state as much as they did in the past, but supposedly there are Israelis who know sense and aren't enthusiastic about putting the interests of rogue settlers before Zionist or national interests, or at least understand there is some reason Barghouti wasn't immediately killed. They may want to really do something to encourage negotiation with the hunger-striking prisoners. If Israelis continue to choose to function as pawns for the AmeriKKKans, they will lose independence in relation to various countries and continue to incur other long-term costs.

There is no settler proletariat in Israel or the United Snakes that even exists in order to do something in the place of some sane Israelis who are in positions of power or influence at this time. And narcissistic and opportunist Amerikans are too busy protesting and worrying about everything except war. Different classes in various countries have interests in opposing the state of affairs under U.S. hegemony and supporting an alternative to U.$. influence in the Middle East.

Politics in the United $tates is seemingly upside-down right now with some conservatives opposing certain wars more than many liberals do. Amerikans who are against non-interventionism cause problems and make them worse. Many of the isolationists, though, lack consistency or strength. They are prone to accepting militarism, the creation and perpetuation of conflicts in the Middle East, and the maintenance of Israel's condition as an Amerikan outpost in that region, if they get some of what they want on immigration and economic issues. Although, if they had to choose between war and the border wall, they might choose the border wall, while others have shown a willingness to support war or both.

Though Trump threatened to abandon the two-state solution and in different ways excited one-state solution supporters and two-state solution supporters who accepted U.S. hegemony, opposing China and/or Russia could mean opposing the two-state solution in the Palestinian context and promoting the conflict. With other countries, liberals and so-called leftists in the United $tates have already proved willing to oppose Trump and conservatives in ways that lead to war. That is true despite some liberals' expressions of consternation about the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike.

Two days ago U.S. State Department Deputy Secretary Mark Toner indicated in a strange way some awareness of "the hunger strike by a Palestinian prisoner now in its eighth day."(5) A Palestinian prisoner. But Toner suggested Marwan Barghouti's health might not have been of particular concern. "Yeah. I – we're looking into news reports about it. Obviously, we're concerned about the health of any prisoner, but I'd have to refer you to Israeli authorities."

Question: "And they're striking because they're asking for better conditions and so on. Something that Secretary Kerry, former Secretary Kerry has talked about in the past. Is that something that you guys would push the Israelis on?" Mark Toner: "Well, look, we've talked about this before. We always – with respect to the treatment of any prisoner anywhere, but certainly the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, we would expect them to be treated in accordance with existing human rights standards and with dignity and respect. That said, I can't speak to the specific case. I'd refer you to Israeli authorities."

The U.S. State Department has been saying things like that for years.

It's understandable that some professional diplomats are expressing openness to working with the new U.S. administration on Palestine issues, but expecting the United States to push Israel to do something is a dead end. The United States has been in control for decades -- just as a powerful and abusive master is in control of the aggressive dog they feed and train. ◊

See:
• "More Palestinian prisoners join mass hunger strike on 8th day," 2017 April 24. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/04/24/519268/Palestinian-prisoners-hunger-strike
• "Palestinian hunger striker's health critically worsening: committee," 2017 April 24. http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/04/24/519334/Palestine-Marwan-Barghouti-hunger-strike-IPS
• "AL chief urges UN for immediate intervention to stop "atrocities" against Palestinian detainees," 2017 April 25. http://en.chinagate.cn/2017-04/25/content_40691409.htm
• "EP body voices support for hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners." 2017 April 25. http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2606076&language=en
• "Opinion: Bibi's theatrics," 2017 April 25. http://www.dw.com/en/opinion-bibis-theatrics/a-38589670
• "How Israel denies rights to Palestinian prisoners," 2017 April 25. http://www.marsad.ps/en/2017/04/25/israel-denies-rights-palestinian-prisoners/
• "Why we are on hunger strike in Israel's prisons," 2017 April 16. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/16/opinion/palestinian-hunger-strike-prisoners-call-for-justice.html
• "13 April 2017 – Palestinian Prisoners Day," 2017 April 13. http://palestineun.org/13-april-2017-palestinian-prisoners-day/ "This year, in an effort to draw attention to the plight of the Palestinian prisoners, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have pledged to go on hunger strike on the observance of Prisoners Day, which will be led by the imprisoned Palestinian leader, Marwan Barghouti, who is also a member of the Fatah Central Committee and an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council."

Notes:
1. "Newspapers Review: Day eight of the hunger strike focus of dailies," 2017 April 25. http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=ofOoMTa80219453358aofOoMT
2. "American stooges put Palestinian prisoner hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti in solitary confinement," 2017 April. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-04-20-news-Marwan-Barghouti-solitary-confinement.md
3. "Marwan Barghouti: Our will won't be broken," 2017 April 26. http://english.almanar.com.lb/247740
4. "Summary of 8th day of collective hunger strike," 2017 April 25. http://www.marsad.ps/en/2017/04/25/summary-8th-day-collective-hunger-strike/
"Barghouthi's health deteriorates on 8th day of Palestinian prisoner hunger strike," 2017 April 24. http://www.maannews.com/content.aspx?id=776626
5. "Department Press Briefing - April 24, 2017," 2017 April 24. https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2017/04/270412.htm

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