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Shita Prison
Photo: Ido Erez
Israel cancels family visits for Hamas prisoners
In effort to put pressure on the Gaza terror organization and advance talks on return of Israeli citizen, bodies of soldiers held in Gaza, the Israel Prison Service halts visitation for some 1,200 prisoners.
Israel decided Thursday to no longer allow family visits for some 1,200 Hamas prisoners in an effort to put pressure on the terror organization and advance talks on the return of Israeli citizen Abera Mengistu and the bodies of two IDF soldiers who were killed in Gaza in 2014.

 

 

The Israel Prison service (IPS) refused to comment on the decision.

 

The Gaza Prisoners' Affairs Ministry came out against the decision, saying this "punishment" serves as "a declaration of war against the prisoners" and insisting Hamas would not allow the decision to stand "whatever the cost."

 

Shita Prison (Photo: Ido Erez)
Shita Prison (Photo: Ido Erez)

 

The family of Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was killed during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza and snatched by Hamas, said about the decision, "For over two years, we have been demanding the Israeli government acts to cancel family visits and improved conditions for Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails. The family believes the equation must be changed on the issue of hostages, with pressure put on Hamas to lead it to the realization keeping hostages is a burden, not an asset."

 

The family of Sgt. Oron Shaul, also killed and snatched by Hamas during Protective Edge, said in response, "We ask the Israeli government and the prime minister—do not loosen your grip, this is the right decision and we hope its purpose is to return Oron from Hamas captivity as soon as possible."

 

In April, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal said the organization will not negotiate over the return of Mengistu and the bodies of Goldin and Shaul before Israel frees security prisoners who were released in the Shalit deal and have since been arrested again.

 

"One of the obstacles standing before a new deal is the fact Israel is ignoring its commitments," he said.

 

 

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