The Palestinian Prisoners Society said that the Israeli Prison Service had transferred Fatah’s leading activist Marwan Barghouti to solitary confinement in the Hadarim prison in central Israel after he leaked a message calling for a renewed commitment to resistance on the anniversary of the death of late President Yasser Arafat, Alamat Online news reported.
The society explained, in a statement cited by Alamat Online, that the prison service admitted that the transfer of Barghouti came as a punishment for the message that he had leaked on the anniversary of Arafat’s death.
The statement added that the prisoners staged a protest against Barghouti’s isolation.
The head of the Prisoners’ Society, Qaddura Fares, pointed out that: “Isolating Barghouti demonstrates the magnitude of confusion among the Israeli occupation’s political and security establishment. But whatever measures are taken against him, he will remain faithful to the Palestinian people’s goals and to the mission of the iconic martyr Yasser Arafat, which is what he died for.”
“Furthermore, isolating Barghouti because of a statement he leaked [to the people] on the anniversary of Arafat’s death is evidence that the latter is still scared of Arafat from his grave as well as of Marwan from his cell,” Fares added.
In an earlier statement that was leaked from his prison cell, Barghouti said that Arafat’s death was an Israeli-US decision, calling for reviving the option of resistance as the fastest way to defeat the occupation, achieve freedom and restore independence to Palestine. He also called on the Palestinian leadership to officially adopt the campaign to boycott Israel.
Barghouti is one of the celebrated symbols for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. He is currently detained in Israeli prisons after receiving five life terms on top of a 40-year sentence on charges of being behind resistance activities that resulted in the killing and injury of Israelis. He has so far served 18 years of his sentence.
Barghouti led the Palestinian masses in the West Bank during the first Intifada in 1987. He was then arrested by the Israeli authorities and deported to Jordan, where he stayed for seven years, after which he returned to the West Bank in 1994 under the Oslo agreement of Palestinian self-rule. In 1996 he won a seat in the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Arafat died on 11 November 2004 in a French hospital, after being held under an Israeli siege in the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters in Ramallah, central West Bank.