Palestinians stay on hunger strike despite 'snacking' claims

Palestinians stay on hunger strike despite 'snacking' claims

Pizza Hut's franchise in Israel on Monday released an ad poking fun at Palestinian hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti following the recent release of video footage showing him secretly eating a candy bar and cookies in his prison cell.

The protesters handed a memorandum to the UN Representative in Sudan, demanding the worldwide organization to intervene to improve the conditions of the Palestinian prisoners and force Israel to respect the global humanitarian law.

That's about the same number as before the release of a video Israel claims shows the strike leader secretly eating in his cell.

Marwan Barghouthi, the prisoner leading the mass hunger strike, has been called the "Palestinian Mandela", after the late South African President and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela.

In parallel with the strike, local solidarity activities continue with the striking prisoners throughout the Palestinian governorates, while Arab and European cities and capitals witness other solidarity activities with the prisoners.

Barghouti, a leader of the Fatah movement, has seen his popularity grow among Palestinians since he was convicted of murder over the killing of Israelis during the second intifada and sentenced in 2004 to five life terms. The video, purporting to show Barghouti snacking, was released Sunday.

His wife, Fadwa Barghouti, said the footage was "fake" and "intended to break the morale of prisoners" after more than 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails joined Barghouti in refusing food on April 17. Israel says 890 prisoners are participating in the hunger strike.

In a public apology posted to its worldwide Facebook page, Pizza Hut apologised for the "completely inappropriate" advertisement and said that it "does not reflect the values of our brand".

The post was taken down from their Hebrew Facebook page. "It was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the values of our brand", she said.

The post sparked fury on Palestinian social media, including calls to boycott the chain.

"The local franchisee in the country removed it immediately and the relationship with the agency that posted it was terminated, and we truly regret any hurt this may have caused".

"Pizza Hut is ridiculing the prisoners' strike", activist Alaa Abu Diab wrote on Facebook, using the hashtag #boycott_pizzahut.

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