Hamas: ‘Shalit Law’ to Make Soldier’s Release More Difficult
Islamist group says law aimed at aggravating conditions of Palestinian prisoners ‘reflects occupation’s inhumane conduct.’ MK El-Sana: Law may lead to third intifada
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Sunday that a new law worsening the terms of the organization’s prisoners in Israel was intended to extort and put pressure on its leaders to release kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit “for free.”
“The occupation will not succeed in obtaining its goals – just the opposite. This decision will only cause Hamas to add to its conditions, not to relinquish them. The decision reflects the occupation’s inhumane conduct towards Palestinian prisoners,” he said. He added that Israel had retreated from previous agreements and thus caused the negotiations over kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit to fail.
Knesset Member Talab El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta’al) also leveled harsh criticism at the bill, saying it would not expedite Shalit’s release and may lead to a third Palestinian uprising – or intifada. “The decision regarding the Palestinian prisoners is irresponsible. It delays Shalit’s release and encourages a third initifada – a prisoners’ intifada,” said the Arab MK.
“The Israeli government must decide whether it abides by international law or whether it is a gang that bases its conduct on vengeance,” he added, “Hurting the Palestinian prisoners will lead to riots in jails that will reach Palestinian villages and cities.”
Fellow United Arab List-Ta’al MK Ahmad Tibi said the Shalit affair has only one solution – “An exchange deal in which Palestinian prisoners will be released in exchange for Shalit.” He added that “a state which is a member of international conventions cannot behave in such a way.”
However, MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) lauded the committee’s decision, saying it would create the “necessary pressure on Hamas’ leadership and will advance Shalit’s release.
“It is unacceptable that while Shalit is isolated and detached from the world, the Hamas prisoners are granted visitation rights, cable TV and the opportunity to complete academic degrees paid for by Israel, even though international law does not obligate us to grant these rights.”
The Almagor Terror Victims Association also praised the decision and called on the government to apply further pressure on Hamas’ leaders until Shalit is released.