PA Accuses Israel of 'Terrorizing' Terrorists
The Palestinian Authority has lashed out at Israel over MKs' plans to cut benefits to imprisoned terrorists as long as Gilad Shalit remains in captivity. Riyad Elashkar, a senior official in the PA's Prisoners Affairs Ministry, accused Israel of “an unprecedented campaign of oppression, terror and isolation.”
PA officials warned that the thousands of PA Arabs imprisoned in Israel would begin a hunger strike on Sunday. The strike will be a warning strike, said Elashkar. Prisoners may go on to refuse to take part in the daily headcount, he said.
MKs are seeking to put an end to good prison conditions for terrorists in Israel while Hamas, which is now officially part of the PA leadership, violates international law regarding its Israeli captive.
Israel has traditionally given both Israeli and PA Arab prisoners many benefits exceeding the minimum standard set by international law, including candy, cigarettes, and television. The conditions led one Prison Services officials to say that jails have become "one big summer camp."
Minister of Internal Security Yitzchak Aharonovich has agreed to MKs' requests to strip terrorist prisoners of benefits such as a free university education, and to crack down on the use of smuggled portable phones in prison.
Aharonovich said Sunday that the planned hunger strike would not affect Prison Services policy. “If they want to hold a hunger strike, they can strike as much as they want,” he said. “Nothing will deter me or the Prison Services, which has my full support.”
A similar strike was announced last week, but failed to materialize.