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Stuck in Debate: Bill to End ‘Five-Star’ Hotel for Terrorists

A Knesset panel debates a bill to end “five-star” hotel conditions for jailed Hamas terrorists. Netanyahu is in no hurry to advance the proposal.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/28/2011, 3:15 PM / Last Update: 3/28/2011, 4:31 PM

A Knesset panel discussed on Monday a bill to end “five-star” hotel conditions for jailed Hamas terrorists, but Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is in no hurry to move the bill forward.

 

The bill, proposed by MK Danny Danon (Likud), would curtail the right of terrorist prisoners to receive visits in jail, except from Red Cross representatives and defense lawyers. The limitations would remain in place until abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is freed.

National Union chairman and Knesset Member Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, agreed with the grandfather of Gilad Shalit that the proposed legislation should not be called the “Shalit law.”

“The bill is intended to protect all citizens of Israel,” he said. “We should learn from the American model and not cooperate with terrorist organizations. I would not be surprised if the murderers of the Fogel family will be released from an Israeli jail [if and when they are captured and convicted]."

Gilad Shalit’s grandfather also asked the committee not to approve any harshening of conditions for terrorist prisoners until his grandson is released, fearing that Hamas might take reprisals against the abducted soldier. Hamas has not permitted the International Red Cross to visit Shalit, despite international conventions requiring prisoners to be allowed communication with family and Red Cross visits.

In contrast, Arab terrorists in Israeli jails enjoy the right of other inmates, including family visits and free education for university degrees.

National Union MK Aryeh Eldad said at the committee debate, “The policies of the government of Israel regarding prevention of family visits to Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails even as visits to Shalit are not allowed is a policy that demonstrates fear and uncertainty. For five years, they have been saying that they are taking care of the [Shalit] issue quietly – that is also what they've been saying for the past 25 years about Jonathan Pollard. Judging by results, the government has failed.”

MK Eldad accused the Netanyahu government of agreeing to bring the bill for a preliminary reading in the Knesset “in order not arouse public anger, while refusing to allow advancement of” the bill for second and third readings in the Knesset.