Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman recently called for a policy of non-negotiation with Palestinian hunger strikers, following the steps of former British Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher’s policy in dealing with Irish Catholic hunger strikers in 1981.
Avigdor Liberman suggested to take the approach of Thatcher, who publicly refused to accede to the demands of IRA hunger strikers in 1981, 10 of whom died.
More than 1,000 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons launched a massive open-ended hunger strike on Monday, issuing a list of demands ranging from better medical services to telephone access.
Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently jailed by Israeli authorities. Of those, 62 are women and 300 are minors.
Some 500 are held under administrative detention, which allows for imprisonment without charge.
Palestinian prisoners have mounted repeated hunger strikes, but rarely on such a large scale.
Barghouti’s call for the strike has given it added credibility, with the 57-year-old serving five life sentences over his role in the second Palestinian intifada.
Born in Moldova, Avigdor Lieberman is one of the only foreign ministers in the world who does not live in territory officially recognized as his own country. Originally under suspicion over charges of money-laundering and bribery, Lieberman was formally indicted in December of 2012, on lesser charges of fraud and breach of trust.
His party was recently the focus of a corruption probe within the Israeli political spectrum, and, more recently, Lieberman’s life was threatened with an assassination attempt.