Palestinian security prisoners sit in their cell at Nitzan jail near the town of Ramle.
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan instructed Chief Prison Commissioner Ofra Klinger to prevent Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails from watching the upcoming FIFA World Cup in June.
The strategic meeting was also attended by the legal bodies relevant to the issue, who then collectively decided to look into the possibility of changing existing regulations in order to prevent all prisoners from watching certain television channels.
"I do not intend to allow Hamas terrorists to watch the World Cup while the bodies of our soldiers are held in Gaza together with our kidnapped civilians," Erdan stated.
The bodies of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul are currently held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip
. In addition, Israeli civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed are believed to be captive in the Gaza Strip after having crossed the border from Israel.
"A person who has excluded himself from the family of nations and decided instead to cling to a culture of murder and terror is not supposed to enjoy international sports competitions that bring together different peoples around the world," the minister added.
The minister's directive was made in order to "increase the pressure on Hamas prisoners," and in coordination with Yaron Bloom, Israel's Coordinator of POWs and MIAs.
In response to Erdan's decision, Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern said that "this decision and other means of pressure are the only way to get the bodies of our soldiers back from Gaza."
During the meeting it was also discussed that according to 1997 regulations, detainees must be allowed to watch television. Since there is no clear differentiation in jails between security prisoners, such as the aforementioned Hamas members, and detainees, current regulations make it impossible to effectively prevent said prisoners from watching specific channels. Per the minister's instructions, the legal entities in charge of prisons will be making the necessary amendments to change these regulations.
This most recent decision by Erdan follows a series of moves he has made in recent years to try and pressure Hamas. These include discontinuing visitation rights for families of Hamas prisoners, not returning terrorists' bodies and reducing prisoners' conditions to the minimum required by international law.