The New York Times (NYT) published without any cautionary notations an opinion piece written by Marwan Barghouti barely mentioning his incarceration of five counts of planning and making all preparations for five mass murder terrorist bombings and shootings during the Second Intifada. He was tried for five of the people who had been murdered in his attacks leading to five lifetime sentences. Barghouti is an idol of the extreme left who hold him as a freedom fighter against Israeli oppressions and as a revolutionary who would raise the Palestinian Arabs to new heights in the struggle for independence from Israel. Left out of their admiration is the small matter that Barghouti views all of Israel as rightfully Palestinian lands and has called for the extermination of the Jews of Israel giving their crimes against humanity as the principle reason. His support is similar to the admiration given Che Guevara, the murdering enforcer of the Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Che Guevara stated in an interview that he preferred murdering people over pursuing any other type of employment. We are willing to bet that Marwan Barghouti would make a similar statement about murdering Israelis. The problem is not that Barghouti was able to write and get this letter to the NYT for publication as it is their eagerness to publish without any notifications which might have given at least some consideration and pause of his accusations against Israel. Instead, the NYT simply noted his incarceration as if he were a political prisoner of conscience and not a murderer. Their notations the next day after receiving strong protests was less than comforting and was a far cry from a more fitting response of placing a written notice from the editor in the next day’s paper and the next Sunday paper and pulling the article from their web pages.
Marwan Barghouti made accusations, which were without merit and old canards reputed many times over. They were the same tired references of Israel. That Israel is a colonialist enterprise, which begs who the parent Jewish State might have been. That Israel is an Apartheid state which members of the South African government who suffered under the real Apartheid have called an insult to their suffering, as Israel is a free and equal society. That Israel has incarcerated him for solely political reasons so that he could not run in Palestinian Authority (PA) elections. The real reason he has not been able to run in PA elections is that since 2006 Abbas has cancelled all elections in order to remain in office. Abbas’s main fear is that almost anybody short of Benyamin Netanyahu, who is ineligible to run being an Israeli, running would win against him. Abbas fears Hamas winning the election, which would be a repeat of the 2006 elections. He also knows that not only would Marwan Barghouti defeat him but so would virtually every other candidate with a single possible exception of those who are not related to Abbas, such as Saeb Erekat, as he has remained loyal to Abbas to the end. Further, there were no political charges and Barghouti was found guilty after refusing to defend himself claiming Israel has no legal right to try him for the murder of its citizens and that Israel has no right to exist therefore should not be allowed to place him on trial.
Another point stressed by Barghouti was that the only means of protest available to prisoners is the hunger strike hoping that their refusal to eat will gain media attention and raise awareness to the inhospitable and cruel punishments and random imprisonment performed by the colonial military forces of Israel. He does not mention that he is apparently able of reaching the NYT and being placed instantly in the next Sunday edition for maximum readership as an honored writer. He has done so previously with a letter to other world papers and all of given him royal treatment though a fair number did actually mention that his trial was for multiple murders and he was tried in a civil court with full representation and rights. He has also been covered with sympathetic articles in Haaretz often claiming his popularity amongst the Palestinian public is a mitigating factor under which the Israeli government should consider pardoning the remainder of his sentence should he win in any PA elections. This would be tantamount to somebody claiming that the United States should commute the sentence of Richard Speck or Jeffery Dahmer should either win an election to public office. Newsbreak for anybody demanding Israel should pardon Barghouti of his sentence, he was sentenced to five life terms thus one life term being removed still leaves him incarcerated. If anyone believes that an arch-terrorist convicted of five counts of murder, and with more blood than those five counts on his hands, should be released, they should seek morality counseling to see why peoples’ mean so little to them.
Israel is a democratic society with a legal system which protects the rights of the accused and which only prosecutes for crimes committed within the territories they are responsible for under International Law. Israel precludes prosecutions of any acts in Gaza short of acts of war, and even those Israel tolerates far more than any other nation on Earth. Israel leaves the majority of policing of the PA areas to their security forces with the exception of arresting terrorists suspected of having committed acts of terror within Israeli controlled areas. Even this would not be necessary had the PA lived up to promises signed for in the Oslo Accords where the PA was to cease incitement and work to prevent terrorism while arresting, trying and incarcerating terrorists. After witnessing the PA release terrorists within days of a guilty verdict, the Israelis had no other resort but to try these criminals in Israel when possible. At that point, the PA ceased even pretending to do anything about terrorism placing the entire onus on Israel.
Addressing the hunger strikes, according to International Law, the holding authority is to have a physician warn the hunger striker twice of the dangers to their lives should they continue their hunger strike. Should the prisoner continue to refuse nourishment from that point they are to be left to their own desired end, in simple terms, to die as a result of their actions. This is not what Israel does and they go against International Law and force-feed the patient upon the recommendation from a physician that such is necessary to protect the prisoner’s life and health. Israel has been condemned by numerous Arab leaders for taking such actions claiming that forced feeding a prisoner preventing them causing permanent physical health problems or possible death is something they consider torture. They believe that if a Muslim chooses to die for Allah, preventing such action is a criminal act denying their religious convictions. This is the strongest sign we have seen of their loving death while we love life. Apparently, we are not allowed to love their lives either, let alone our own. One can only imagine the international uproar should an Arab Palestinian die in an Israeli prison from starvation. The recriminations and accusations that the Jews starved the prisoner ignoring the countless articles in numerous International newspapers and other news services counting the prisoner’s days of refusing food in their hunger strike, it would be Israel’s fault and there would be demands for the Prime Minister’s head at the United Nations. This is not why we do not allow their deaths but because every life, even those of our persecutors are precious and even they are creatures of Hashem and worthy of life.
Marwan Barghouti will continue to receive the sympathies of the world as the picture child of Israeli cruelty. He is an intelligent individual who writes well and convincingly, that does not necessarily make him truthful. There is a parallel in the United States with the demands for the release Mumia Abu-Jamal protests despite his conviction of murdering a Philadelphia police officer execution style. Mumia shot the officer who was arresting his brother, and while the officer was kneeling injured, he walked up and shot him point-blank range in the head. There were witnesses who testified in his trial and there was little to no doubt of his guilt but he has become a folk hero of the same leftist who love Che and Barghouti. There is no telling who will attract the attentions, misplaced as they may be, of the youth, especially when lead by charismatic leftist leadership or their professors at university. There must always be a cause and when none is readily available, then one must be manufactured, and what could be better than wrongful imprisonment. On the other side, there will always be the enemies of the people or the cause or of the world itself. In the recent past in the United States, the police were being portrayed as the enemy to the underclass, especially false heroes. There were the cries of “Hands up, don’t shoot,” repeated even by President Obama despite autopsy evidence that this was a fraud and witnesses who at the scene refuted this story. After that at every police shooting there would be crowds forming screaming, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” no matter the situation. Then police started being ambushed and assassinated and even then, the attitude appeared to refuse to change.
In the international venue, the everlasting villain throughout the ages has been Israel. We faced the wrong end in Egypt, in Babylonia, eventually in Persia though Cyrus the Great was kind, under the Greeks, the Romans, the Christians in the various nations where things went from good to bad and back and forth while in the Muslim world the fates were just as fickled and today we are targeted by the European Union, the United Nations and the Arab and Muslim worlds as we are their favorite target when they are not fighting each another as they are now in Syria. Pick a time period and odds are there will be at a minimum one place where being a Jew is dangerous and being a Jew makes you a descendant of the Israelites and this Israeli by today’s standards. We hold out hope that the world will some day decide that the winners of so many Nobel Prizes and people who write so much software while sharing these discoveries with the world and also there to fight diseases and assist after natural disasters are worthy of a little slack and possibly even a touch of friendship. We hold out hope for the Messiah to bring the age of true and holy enlightenment where, as it is written in Isaiah 2:4, “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
Beyond the Cusp