TORONTO – Palestinian terrorists on intermittent hunger strikes in Israeli prisons were hailed as heroes at a sparsely attended protest Saturday across from the Israeli consulate.
The protest, which had a slow start and at its height consisted of only 40 people, was organized by Palestine House and the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid in support of on-again, off-again hunger strikers Samer Issawi, Jafar Ezzedine, Tareq Qa’adan and Ayman Sharawna. The four reportedly decided to go hungry to raise awareness that they were being held on “administrative detention” in Israeli prisons. Two of the men have also stopped taking their vitamins, according to a handout provided by protest organizers.
Speakers and signs at the protest referred to the four men as political prisoners; not one mentioned the terrorism for which two of the men had been convicted or the alleged membership of the other two in a terrorist organization. One teenaged boy held up a sign describing Issawi as a “hero.”
IDF Spokesperson Captain Eytan Buchman told CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting) that Issawi (aka Isawi) “was convicted of severe crimes, which included five attempts of intentional death.”
Issawi was serving a 26-year sentence when he was released as part of the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange and was sentenced recently to eight months for breaching the terms of that release, according to media reports.
Sharawna (aka Sharouna) was also released in the Shalit deal before completing a 38-year prison sentence. He is “a Hamas member…arrested in 2002 for his involvement in multiple attacks…. Sharouna took part in a bombing in Beer Sheva that wounded 18 people, attempted to kidnap an IDF soldier, and was involved in shooting attacks targeting soldiers,” Arutz Sheva reported.
Sharawna was reportedly incarcerated for breaching the terms of his release.
Ezzedine and Qa’adan, members of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad, were arrested and imprisoned during Operation Pillar of Defence, according to Arutz Sheva.
Salim Mansur, vice-president, Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow (MFT), told the Jewish Tribune, “MFT recognizes the difficulties Israeli people are faced with in protecting themselves and we support measures adopted by the Israeli government that are open to scrutiny domestically and by outside agencies. The quickest way to end the violence in the region is for Palestinians and Arabs to end their long-standing opposition to Israel, their anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bigotry, recognize Israel and the Jewish state’s historic rights in Palestine or in parts of the ancient land of Judea and Samaria, and through genuine reconciliation open a better future for Palestinian children.”