RAMALLAH, May 4 (JMCC) – Palestinians received with chagrin the news that the Israeli government may be planning a crack-down on prisoners in Israeli jails.
“This move would exacerbate the seriousness of the condition of prisoners in detention and threaten the lives of many,” said Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian prisoners' society.
Israel’s Channel Two reported Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
was leading a debate over tightening restrictions on Palestinian prisoners, in the hopes that this would pressure Hamas
leaders to agree to a prisoner’s swap.
The television channel reported that prisoner’s visitation rights would be scrubbed, university studies stopped, reading materials and television banned, and an increase made in the number of prisoners in solitary confinement.
“The prisoners are already living in unimaginable conditions,” says Fares. “How will they be if these new sanctions are applied?” He urged the international community to intervene to prevent the new measures.
Some 7,000 Palestinians are detained in Israeli jails.
Germany has sought to broker a prisoner’s release by Israel in exchange for Hamas’ freeing of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, believed to be held in the Gaza Strip
Hamas has demanded the release of some 1,000 prisoners, including senior leaders of the movement and other Palestinian factions. Israel
has so far refused to free high-level prisoners, and insisted that some prisoners be deported to third-party states where they would remain.