Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hebrew press: Gov't to impose stricter measures against Palestinian prisoners

[ 29/03/2009 - 09:12 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli government is expected to endorse a new set of penal measures against the Palestinian prisoners especially those affiliated with Hamas following failure of the prisoners' exchange deal, Hebrew press reported on Sunday.

Ma'ariv daily said that the government is expected to prevent prisoners from watching TV and from following up education in addition to barring entry of newspapers, confiscating radios and reducing the amount of money allocated to each prisoner to buy needs from the prisons' cantinas.

It said that the "justice minister" Daniel Friedman would table at the cabinet session on Sunday means of imposing those new penalties against the prisoners without violating the international law on prisoners' rights.

The government of outgoing premier Ehud Olmert had formed a special ministerial committee headed by Friedman to look into ways of pressuring Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners.

The penal measures hope to pressure Hamas into softening its conditions for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Israel refused Hamas's list of Palestinian prisoners to be freed in return for the release of Shalit and asked for a change in some of those names and for deporting others. Hamas refused to amend the list.

Seeking Shalit deal, Israel to strip Palestinian prisoners' rights
Date: 29 / 03 / 2009 Time: 17:09

Gilad Shalit appears on a poster
in Gaza [Ma'anImages]
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israel plans to strip Palestinian political prisoners of certain rights in order to pressure Hamas to accept a deal involving the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Palestinian prisoners are facing severe limitations on family visits, access to media, and transfers of money for use at the prison canteen. Prisoners may also be denied the right to take high school matriculation exams or take university correspondence courses.

Israel is seeking the release of soldier Gilad Shalit who was captured by in 2006. Hamas is demanding the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange.

The Israeli cabinet voted to adopt these tactics at a meeting on Sunday after being briefed by security officials and by Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann.

"It is true that we are the only democracy in the Middle East, but we can't let ourselves become the only suckers and we mustn't show weakness," Friedmann said, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Mounir Mansour, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Committee, said on Sunday that Hamas prisoners are considering a hunger strike in protest of the sanctions.

Mansour told Israel Radio that the Israeli prison administration has already begun to revoke prisoners rights including cutting family visits and access to Arabic-language television. Some prisoners belongings were seized, he said.

There are more than 11,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons.