Netanyahu. Needs to consider PA talks
Photo: AFP

PM considers aggravating Hamas prisoners' conditions

Netanyahu withdraws opposition to Likud bill discussed last year. Internal Security, Justice ministries to explore possibility of drawing up government bill regarding Palestinian prisoners' confinement conditions, to match those of Shalit

The Internal Security and Justice ministries have been instructed by the prime minister to examine the option of submitting a government bill regarding the confinement conditions of Palestinian prisoners. The Prime Minister's Office withdrew its opposition to a former bill initiated by Likud Knesset members concerning the matter, Ynet learned Sunday.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has yet to decide on the issue, and it remains unclear when the bill will be put forward. The matter depends on comprehensive political moves regarding negotiations with the Palestinians and indirect talks with Hamas for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Noam Shalit was also consulted on the issue.


Both ministries would have to decide whether to initiate a government bill to replace the one submitted by MK Danny Danon, which proposed to aggravate Palestinian prisoners' confinement conditions, so long as Shalit remains captive.


Right-wing MKs including Danon have been pushing for the bill for some time in an effort to match the confinement conditions of Palestinian prisoners to those of Shalit. Netanyahu blocked the initiative as he waited to receive findings from the Public Security Ministry and a Prison Service committee.


The prime minister also had to consider the complex political situation involving negotiations for Shalit's release and possible peace talks with the Palestinians, before reaching a decision.


Senior officials close to Netanyahu stressed that a dialogue is being held on the matter but that no decision has been made. It is unclear whether such a decision will be reached in the near future.


Proximity talks to be considered

The government has to consider two points in evaluating the bill: The possibility that such legislation would hurt efforts to release Shalit as part of suspended negotiations with Hamas, and future proximity talks with the Palestinians.


Such a bill is surely to cause uproar in the Palestinian Authority, which is extremely concerned with the incarceration of thousands of prisoners in Israeli jailing facilities.


Meanwhile, the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs rejected a bill initiated by MK David Azoulay (Shas) demanding the release of Jewish prisoners convicted of nationalistically-motivated offences in case Palestinian inmates are set free.


Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog noted his opposition to the bill on the grounds it may hurt Shalit amid attempts to secure his release.


Gilad Shalit was abducted to the Gaza Strip 1,407 days ago.


Roni Sofer contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 05.02.10, 21:06
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