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Proposed Law to Worsen Prison Conditions as Parley Tactic

Eight MKs have submitted a proposed law that would allow the state to worsen terrorists' conditions as a negotiating tactic.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/23/2009, 9:45 PM

Israel News Photo: (Flash 90)

Eight MKs have submitted a proposed law that would allow the government to worsen imprisoned terrorists' conditions as a tactic when negotiating for the freedom of kidnapped Israelis. MKs from six parties worked together to initiate the legislative proceedings.

The law was written in cooperation with the Land of Israel Legal Forum.

The proposal was submitted by MKs Yariv Levin and Moshe Kachlon of Likud, Yoel Hasson of Kadima, Daniel Hershkowitz and Uri Orbach of the Jewish Home, David Azoulai of Shas, Faina Kirshenbaum of Yisrael Beiteinu, and Michael Ben-Ari of the National Union.

The eight explained that their goal was to “do justice and put an end to the absurd situation in which Israeli soldiers and civilians kidnapped by terrorist groups are held in sub-human conditions, while terrorist prisoners who belong to those same groups, who took part in murderous attacks on innocent civilians, enjoy superior conditions.”

If the law is passed, supporters hope it will motivate terrorist groups that have succeeded in kidnapping Israelis to set reasonable conditions for a prisoner exchange. At present, Hamas is demanding hundreds of terrorists, including arch-murderers, in exchange for kidnapping victim Gilad Shalit.

Benefits and privileges currently enjoyed by imprisoned terrorists include meat and cigarettes from the prison canteen, special food on Muslim holidays, several television stations, and programs that allow them to complete college degrees. The conditions in Israel's prisons recently led one Prison Services official to complain that jails have become “one big summer camp” for terrorists.

The law would allow the state to worsen prison conditions for terrorists demanded in exchange for the freedom of kidnapped Israelis and terrorists affiliated with the kidnappers. The prisoners would still enjoy the minimal conditions required by international law, but would not receive the same benefits as other prisoners.

The proposed law would also allow the Shin Bet (General Security Services) to keep a terrorist prisoner under administrative detention after his sentence is complete if his freedom has been demanded in exchange for that of a kidnapping victim.