Shalit activists protest family visits for Palestinian prisoners
Some 60 activists from Shalit release campaign protest in front of Hadarim Prison, intend to block families of Palestinian prisoners from visiting their relatives. 'Absurd that they have cell phones, 12-channel television, and Gilad is not afforded even one visit'
If Gilad doesn't receive a visit, neither will Hamas prisoners in Israel. This is the message some 60 activists in the Shalit release campaign seeked to send Tuesday as they gathered near Hadarim Prison in a bid to block families of Palestinian prisoners from visiting their relatives.
Alongside the protesters are some 200 police officers stationed to maintain order.
Hadar Miller, one of the event's organizers, said , "It is absurd that Palestinian prisoners in Israel have cellular phones, television with 12 channels, canteen service, and family visits, when the Israeli captive has not been afforded even on visit for three-and-a-half years."
'Palestinian mothers will become our ambassadors' (Photo: Ido Erez)
The protesters are carrying signs on which is written: "Canteen, cell phone, visits – and what about Gilad?"
Miller also said that if the group does not succeed in blocking the families' entry into the prison, they have Arabic speakers with them who will explain to them the essence of their protest.
"It is no wonder that Hamas is not pressured to negotiate or to speed up (the process). After all, their prisoners are here under conditions as comfortable as a hotel and even are afforded visits. So there is rush," said Miller.
Head of the Kibbutz Movement's task force, Yoel Marshak, who is also participating in the protest, said, "The objective of the protest is to turn the Palestinian mothers into our ambassadors. They will pass the message on to the prisoners and to the Hamas leadership in Gaza. We hope this will set in motion and expedite the negotiations."
A similar protest was held last year next to prisons in which security prisoners were being held. The protests took place outside Megiddo Prison in the north, Shikma Prison in Ashkelon, and Hadarim Prison in Tel Mond. Gilad Shalit's father, Noam, also participated in the protests then.
Protest activities for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit were renewed in recent weeks.
On Friday, they protested in front of the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem. The protesters placed life-sized cardboard cutouts of Gilad near in front of the complex, with signs next to them reading: "I want a blanket. I'm cold." In the background, clips from the video of Shalit handed over by Hamas were placed.
Last week, protesters tried to prevent the passage of fuel tanks into the Gaza Strip.
In the meantime, the captured soldier's family is keeping its silence.
Gilad Shalit was captured into the Gaza Strip 1,325 days ago