The most prominent Palestinian imprisoned by Israel, Marwan Barghouti, is now serving two weeks in solitary confinement for having been caught with a mobile phone in his cell. Israel’s Channel 2 News reports that the phone was discovered during a search by prison personnel in response to tips that contraband had been smuggled to security detainees in the Hadarim prison.
The discovery of the phone took place just one day after Barghouti (once Yasser Arafat’s right-hand man, founder of the Tanzim-Fatah militia and a main leader the Second Intifada) made a public call for Palestinians worldwide to stage mass demonstrations in September, when the Palestinian Authority is expected to unilaterally seek recognition for a Palestinian State at the U.N.
“The victory in the upcoming campaign in September, which we view as a major milestone in our nation’s struggle, requires the greatest public demonstration in our homeland, the Arab countries, Muslim countries, and the world’s capitals,” Barghouti said. He urged Palestinians to not see this as an initiative of only Abu Mazen, the P.L.O. or the Palestinian Authority, but of the entire Palestinian people worldwide.
It is highly doubtful that Barghouti himself will be participating in any such potential demonstrations, as he is serving five life sentences for the murder of Israeli civilians and soldiers in terrorist attacks he directed. He could, however, be a free man if by some chance a deal to free captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is made by September. Arab news sources have reported that Hamas has put the Fatah-affiliated Barghouti at the top of the list of prisoners whose freedom it would demand in an exchange for Shalit.