JNN Newsletter - April 20, 2017

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Eph. 5:11

PALESTINIANS IN ISRAELI JAILS BEGIN HUNGER STRIKE: Over 1,500 Palestinians held in eight Israeli jails on security offenses - out of a total of 6,500 Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli prisons on terrorist related charges - have entered into a hunger strike. The leadership of the strike is being credited to Marwan Barghouti, the popular head of the Fatah Tanzim, who is serving five consecutive life sentences for terrorist murders. Barghouti is often mentioned prominently in lists of possible successors to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is now 82. The purpose of the strike is ostensibly to protest prison conditions, to receive more visitation time with family and to end detention without trial, but a number of observers see the effort as part of a Barghouti run for PA leadership. Israeli officials were livid with the NY Times after it published an op-ed by Barghouti on 16 April 2017 in synch with the start of the strike and omitting any reference to his incarceration being the result of multiple murder convictions. After an uproar broke out, the newspaper finally published a tepid clarification in which it stated that “This article explained the writer’s prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction and legitimacy.”

Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan said he believes the strike is politically motivated and that the prisoners have no legitimate complaints. "These are terrorists and incarcerated murderers who are getting exactly what the international law requires," he told Israel's Army Radio. “There is no reason to give them additional conditions in addition to what they already receive." Erdan said Barghouti was transferred to another prison in northern Israel and was placed in solitary confinement. "It doesn't have to do with publishing the article in the New York Times but rather that he is instigating mutiny and leading the hunger strike and that is a severe violation of the rules of the prison," he said. (Medialine/AP/Ha’aretz) The timing is no accident, as Barghouti leads an organized Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike meant to draw public attention and portray terrorists as political prisoners held by Israel to stifle Palestinian aspirations. And the New York Times has gone along with this charade by giving Barghouti a prime-time billing.

PM NETANYAHU, ISRAELI POLITICIANS ACROSS THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM, SLAM NY TIMES FOR BARGHOUTI OP-ED: Calling imprisoned Fatah terrorist Marwan Barghouti a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian is like calling Syrian President Assad a pediatrician, Israeli PM Netanyahu stated on Tues. 18 April 2017. "These are murderers, these are terrorists and we will not lose clarity.” The prime minister added that "this moral clarity, the willingness to protect our land, to fight for it against those coming to wipe us out, is one of our great strengths, together with love of Israel. Love of Israel expresses itself in this munificence, in this beauty and warmth. We will continue to develop our country and protect it." Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum fiercely condemned The NY Times on Mon. 17 April 2017 for publishing an op-ed by Barghouti that neglected to mention that he is in prison for murder, not his political views. Barghouti was convicted in June 2004 of five murders and an attempted murder, including that of a Greek Orthodox priest he mistook for a rabbi. He was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences and 40 additional years in prison. But the newspaper’s tagline on the article called him a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.

Deputy Minister Michael Oren compared Barghouti to Dylann Roof, an American mass murderer and white supremacist convicted of killing nine people in the June 2015 Charleston church shooting. “Shame on NYT for printing libelous op-ed by convicted killer Barghouti, the Palestinian Dylann Roof,” Oren wrote on Twitter. “Americans would be horrified. So are we.” Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett posted on Facebook a picture of Yoela Chen, a mother of two who was murdered at a gas station on her way to a wedding by terrorists under orders from Barghouti. Bennett noted that as the commander of Fatah’s Tanzim paramilitary offshoot, Barghouti was behind the murders of dozens of Israelis. “Barghouti is not just an enemy,” Bennett wrote. “He is a lowly murderer who should rot in prison until the day he dies.” (J.Post)

VISION FOR ISRAEL HELPS TERRORIST VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES: Victims of terror in Israel face, in many cases, months of rehabilitation, loss of work, emotional trauma, all of which affect entire families. Vision for Israel helps support victims of terror and their loved ones. This is in addition to providing comfort and provision for many of the nation’s poor, including children, the elderly and Holocaust survivors. According to the most recent findings, some 2,546,000 poor people live in the country, or 31.6 % of the population, including 1,613,000 adults (29.8% of the total), and 932,000 children (35.1% of the total). Please give generously at www.visionforisrael.com. For residents in the UK and outside N. America visit our website at www.josephstorehouse.co.uk

HOTOVELY: NY TIMES HAS PROVIDED A PLATFORM FOR TERRORISTS: Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely responded to the publication of Marwan Barghouti's article in the NY Times by saying, "Barghouti is not a prisoner. He is a convicted murderer and a terrorist. The New York Times has provided a platform for a terrorist without noting that he planned and carried out the cold blooded murder of Jews simply for having been Jews." She concluded, "This is not a matter of freedom of speech. It is anarchy. When a major newspaper with a reputation for responsible journalism becomes a platform for murderers, it provides legitimacy for terrorism. This is a very disappointing decision by the editors which seriously undermines the credibility of the New York Times." (INN)

ISRAELI MK AND LEADER OF THE YESH ATID PARTY, YAIR LAPID, CONDEMNS THE NY TIMES: Marwan Barghouti doesn’t only believe in violence, he also believes that it’s permissible to lie. He believes in the approach, which typifies terror organizations, that the West is weak and naïve and so our media and good intentions should be cynically abused to attack us from within. The attempt by the New York Times “to be balanced” amuses Barghouti. He understands that this sacred attempt at balance creates equal standing between murderer and murdered, terrorist and victim, lie and truth. So Barghouti tells horror stories about torture he underwent during Israeli investigations. There is no factual basis for these stories. The torture he describes is prohibited under Israeli law and even Israel’s greatest opponents must acknowledge that we abide by our laws. The reality is that a convicted terrorist is inventing stories about those who imprison him, as prisoners do all over the world, including in the United States. Instead of saying to him – as a responsible newspaper should – that if he doesn’t have a shred of evidence to support his stories then they can’t be published, the NY Times published them in its opinion pages and didn’t even bother to explain that the author is a convicted murderer of the worst kind. (Honest Reporting)

‘I WILL NOT FORGET THE JOY WHEN BARGHOUTI WAS ARRESTED’: Uri Schechter, IDF Lieutenant Colonel in the reserves and Deputy Commander of the Nahal Brigade, wrote in his Facebook account about the capture of terrorist chief Marwan Barghouti in Operation Defensive Shield. Barghouti is now leading the hunger strike of terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails. Shechter wrote: "Exactly 15 years ago, I was drafted as a deputy battalion commander for Operation Defensive Shield, which we commenced following the murder of hundreds of Jews and the wounding of thousands," recalls Schechter. "During the operation, my brigade occupied the city of Ramallah, where we arrested about 700 terrorists. "I will not forget the joy when the Duvedevan undercover unit arrested the head of the serpent, Marwan Barghouti, who was responsible for a large part of the attacks directly. We felt at that defining moment that the operation had achieved its goal." According to him, Barghouti "got off cheap" and was convicted in the District Court for five life sentences and 40 years in prison. "So how does he become legitimate to some people and politicians? I just don't understand. I wish the despicable murderer to go with his hunger strike to the very end," wrote Schechter. (Arutz-7)

NYT PUBLIC EDITOR CHIDES FAILURE TO IDENTIFY AUTHOR AS MURDERER: The Public Editor of the NY Times took the newspaper to task for failing to identify Palestinian Authority leader Marwan Barghouti as a convicted murderer of Israeli Jews. Public Editor Liz Spayd was responding to criticism of the newspaper for publishing on 16 April 2017 an Op-Ed by Barghouti titled “Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons” and identifying him only as “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.” Nearly a day later, an editor’s note appended to the end of the opinion piece clarified that Barghouti is serving a lengthy prison term after being convicted in an Israeli court of five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Failure to “more fully identify the biography and credentials of authors, especially details that help people make judgments about the opinions they’re reading,” Spayd wrote, “risks the credibility of the author and the Op-Ed pages.” The newspaper was slammed by Israeli leaders and USA Jewish groups for its failure to mention Barghouti’s terrorist activities and conviction for murder. (Arutz-7)

NO BARGHOUTI OPTION: In fact, the real impetus for the hunger strike seems not to be about prisoners’ rights at all, but rather it is a political initiative designed to promote Marwan Barghouti. When security prisoners go on a hunger strike, they are usually motivated by discontent with their incarceration. Ostensibly, a demand for improved conditions is what sparked the open-ended hunger strike launched by convicted Palestinian terrorists being held in Israeli prisons for murder or other forms of violence or support for violence. Judging from their demands – public phones in the security wards, reinstating a second visiting period each month and restarting academic studies programs so that prisoners can receive academic degrees – the situation is not all that bad. These prisoners might not be able to earn advanced degrees or use the phone whenever they want to and they might have to wait a month to meet loved ones. But it is doubtful that terrorists held in Gouantanamo Bay, in European prisons or in those of democratic countries in the Far East receive any better conditions – particularly not terrorists who murdered innocent civilians.

In fact, the real impetus for the hunger strike seems not to be about prisoners’ rights at all, but rather it is a political initiative designed to promote Marwan Barghouti, probably the single most popular Palestinian political leader despite his sentencing 15 years ago for five life terms for murder plus another 40 years. In a March 2017 survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Research, Barghouti garnered more support than any other Palestinian presidential candidate. In a standoff against Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the second most popular candidate, Barghouti received 59% of the vote. Barghouti is a savvy political manipulator who has managed to remain relevant despite his incarceration a decade and a half ago. He is using the Palestinian prisoners as his latest ploy for self-advancement. It is depressing that a man like Barghouti, with the blood of so many victims on his hands, has consistently been the most popular candidate to lead the Palestinian people. And it is not despite his murderously violent past, but precisely because of it, that Barghouti is able to beat a Hamas candidate for the Palestinian vote. This is the sad state of radicalized Palestinian politics that is the real obstacle to peace. (J.Post) Intercede that Barghouti’s political manipulations will not succeed. Pray that the present hunger strike on the part of jailed Palestinian terrorists will fizzle out rather than achieving the strike’s objective to again cast Palestinian murderers as being the victims of alleged Israeli injustice - rather than the other way around.

The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff