Palestinian prisoners held in the Nafha and Shikma prisons in southern Israel are eligible for various benefits: They have a television set, they can read newspapers, they are allowed to study for an academic degree, and they have visitation rights.
However, these prisoners are not entitled to conjugal visits with their wives. This restriction is considered a problem among the Palestinian inmates, as it prevents them from having children.
So how do they overcome this problem? Palestinian websites have reported of six successful attempts by security prisoners to smuggle sperm to their wives.
The Hasam organization, which cares for Palestinians prisoners, says the prisoners in question come from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. According to Mufak Hamid, head of the organization's PR division, the sperm was smuggled in the presence of witnesses who are relatives of the couples.
The websites fail to detail the smuggling method, but it appears that if the claims are indeed true, the prisoners have been transferring the sperm secretly through family members or friends visiting them at the prison.
'Permitted by Islam'
The Palestinian public is split over the matter, particularly on the religious level. In an article published on Palestine magazine's website, Hamid expressed his support for the idea, but called on the prisoners to ensure that the sperm smuggling is conducted "in accordance with the laws of Islam."
According to Hamid, a witness must be present during the smuggling in order to guarantee that a woman receives her husband's sperm and not someone else's. He recommends that the witnesses be relatives of the husband or wife.
Hamid offers legal services for women who may suffer from rumors that the children they gave birth to were not conceived from the sperm of their legal husbands.
Hamid stresses that "the association's stand is based on religious rulings, and the matter has already been presented to Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi (the most prominent ruler in the Sunni-Jihadist world). He has ruled that this is permitted by Islam, while ensuring certain rules and criteria."
According to Hamid, a similar ruling had been issued by late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of the Hamas movement.
A number of websites have praised the initiative, defining it as "a war of provocation against the occupier," but not everyone is pleased with it.
One of those who opposes the move is Dr. Yunis Al-Astal, a member of the Palestinian researchers' association, who says that "there is no guarantee the sperm will reach its destination, and this whole matter is infected with social and moral corruption."
According to al-Astal, "The Jews can perform acts of deceit with the sperm, and the wife may have a thousand doubts."
The Israel Prison Service said in response to this report, "The IPS does not address peculiar publications."