Israel Toughening Conditions for Palestinian Detainees - by Stephen Lendman
On June 24, Haaretz writers Barak Ravid and Revital Hoval headlined, "Netanyahu: Israel to toughen conditions for Palestinian prisoners," saying:
On June 23, Netanyahu announced plans "to toughen the conditions of Palestinian security prisoners," meaning all of them wanting Palestine to be free, yet few committed crimes warranting imprisonment.
During his Jerusalem Israeli Presidential Conference, he said:
"We will give them all that they deserve according to international law, but nothing beyond that," despite systematically brutalizing detainees ruthlessly. More on that below. He added that:
"We will stop, among other things, the absurd practice in which terrorists who murdered innocent people enroll in academic studies. There will be no more 'doctors of terror' - the celebration is over."
Netanyahu spoke after the International Red Cross' request for proof that IDF soldier Gilat Shalit is alive went unanswered. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters:
"The Red Cross should not get involved in Israeli security games aimed at reaching Shalit. It should take a stand that results in ending the suffering of (thousands) of Palestinian prisoners" held under brutalizing conditions.
At the same time, Shalit's father, Noam, criticized Red Cross officials for not doing more, saying:
"We demand that the Red Cross' approach be more active and decisive. I would like to believe that they would give us a sign of life from Gilad. We are conducting ongoing dialogue with the Red Cross but it has not been much help. I did not hear them condemn Hamas on its crime against Gilad. The Red Cross has been a complete failure in this affair."
Shalit's been held captive since June 25, 2006 after Hamas responded to repeated IDF attacks, including a widely reported beach shelling, killing eight Palestinians and injuring 32 others, 13 children among them. Israel denied responsibility, falsely blaming a Hamas mine despite forensic evidence proving otherwise.
In retaliation, Hamas struck an Israeli military post near Kerem Shalom crossing, southeast of Rafah, killing two soldiers, injuring several others and capturing Shalit. He's been held ever since because Israel refuses to negotiate responsibly to free him, preferring to use his captivity to vilify Hamas, what his father doesn't understand or won't admit.
On June 24, Haaretz writer Avi Assacharoff headlined, "Hamas: Israel's decision to toughen prison conditions violates international law," saying:
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called it an attempt to cover up Netanyahu's failure to secure Shalit's release, explaining:
"Israel has failed to reach the captured IDF soldier. Netanyahu is responsible for Shalit not having been returned. (He'll) only be returned in exchange for Palestinian prisoners."
Thousands, in fact, are held lawlessly under horrific conditions. Netanyahu now spuriously claims international law justifies toughening them further. In March 2009, a Knesset committee recommended ways for Hamas prisoners and their sympathizers, including further limiting family visits already denied or greatly restricted, as well as prohibiting physical contact, banning television, radio and print publications, and denying administrative release and lawyer contacts.