The ‘Schalit law’ making Hamas prisoners’ conditions more strict is intended to force the Islamist group to release kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit "for free," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on Sunday.
"The occupation will not succeed in obtaining its goals – just the opposite,” he said, adding that the government decision would cause Hamas to raise its demands for a possible exchange deal, not back down from any of its current demands.
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Zuhri proclaimed the decision to deny Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails all visits except by legal counsel and representatives of the International Red Cross, “reflective of the occupation's inhumane conduct towards Palestinian prisoners.”
Zuhri added that Israel had retreated from previous agreements and thus caused the negotiations over the kidnapped soldier to fail.
Also Sunday, MK Taleb A-Sanaa attacked the decision aimed at putting pressure on Hamas leadership, saying it further removed the possibility of Schalit’s release and would bring about a third Intifada,”
MK Ahmed Tibi agreed, saying, “such a demagogical sanction won’t benefit Gilad Schalit’s case and is likely to harm it.”
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the bill earlier Sunday.
The government’s top negotiator for Schalit’s release, Haggi Hadas, was said to have supported the initiative.
The ministers said they would support the bill on the condition that they be consulted before it goes to a second reading at the Knesset, in conjunction with the Justice and Internal Security ministries.
The bill was proposed by MKs Yariv Levin and Danny Danon (Likud), Moshe Matalon (Israel Beiteinu) and Yoel Hasson (Kadima), supported by others.
Danon said that the legislation would deliver a clear message to Hamas leadership that their "VIP treatment" in Israeli prisons was coming to an end.
The proposal will come up for an initial vote on Wednesday.