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In response to kidnappings, Israel to stiffen conditions of Hamas prisoners
By HERB KEINON
06/17/2014
Israel is also engaged in intensive diplomatic efforts to delegitimize Hamas-Fatah unity pact, says official.
 
Israel will stiffen the jail conditions for Hamas prisoners as a result of the kidnapping of three Israeli teens by the organization last week, the security cabinet decided Tuesday.

The decision comes following a marathon meeting held over two days -- Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning -- on the kidnappings and ways to turn up the pressure on Hamas.

The security cabinet heard in-depth briefings on the situation from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, and Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen.

The official said that in addition to the main operational goal, which is to bring the three kidnapped teens back to their families, Israel is also currently engaged in intensive diplomatic efforts to delegitimize the unity pact between Hamas and Fatah.

As part of this campaign, government officials are emphasizing the constant drumbeat of incitement in the Palestinian Authority’s official media and educational system against Israel, including calls for and encouragement of the kidnapping of Israelis.

A senior government official reiterated after the security cabinet meeting that Israel holds the Palestinian Authority and its leadership responsible for attacks that emanate from its territory.

The official also said that Israel sees Hamas as responsible for actually carrying out the kidnappings, and that Jerusalem does not differentiate between the different parts and factions inside the organization. This comment came as a result of some speculation that a splinter group inside Hamas may have carried out the kidnappings.
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