Gilad Shalit. Almost 4 years in captivity
Photo: Reuters
Netanyahu. Change of mind
Photo: Reuters

Ministerial committee approves 'Shalit law'

Almost year after removing it from government's agenda, Prime Minister Netanyahu decides to advance law toughening conditions of Hamas prisoners

The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs on Sunday approved a bill aimed at aggravating the conditions of Hamas prisoners jailed in Israel in a bid to pressure the Palestinian organization to advance the talks for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit's release.


Ynet reported several weeks ago that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu removed his objection to the bill, after working to postpone a discussion on the proposal last summer in light of security element's objection.


The bill will now be brought to the Knesset for a preliminary reading with the coalition's support. The exact changes in the prisoners' conditions will be determined later on.


No visits from prisoners' families? (Photo: AFP)


The bill, initiated by Knesset Members Danny Danon and Yariv Levin (Likud), addresses prisoners that were convicted for being members in a terrorist organization "that holds an Israeli citizen or resident in conditions of imprisonment, without allowing him to receive visitors."


According to the bill, these prisoners will be barred from meeting family members and lawyers, except for what is required by international law. After the bill passes in a primary vote, its specific restrictions will be confirmed.


"It's time to put an end to the VIP conditions Hamas prisoners enjoy," explained MK Danon. "Every day that they receive family visits while (kidnapped soldier) Gilad Shalit doesn't receive any visits – even by the Red Cross – is wasted."


Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) criticized the decision and said it would compromise efforts to release the captive



He noted that the Shalit affair has only one solution: "An exchange deal in which Palestinian prisoners will be released in exchange for Shalit. In any case the families of Palestinian prisoners from Gaza are withheld from visiting their sons in Israel… A state which is a member of international conventions cannot behave in such a way."


The Israel Prison Service's objection to the bill did not affect Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch's decision to promote the new restrictions together with the Justice Ministry.


Minister Daniel Hershkowitz said during the discussion, "Hamas only understands the language of force."


Gilad Shalit was kidnapped to the Gaza Strip 1,428 days ago


Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 05.23.10, 15:55
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