Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that the Palestinian prisoners conditions would not stay the same. The Israeli decision includes preventing more than 7000 Palestinian prisoners from applying to learn for an Academic title in universities and comes as an added punishment to the Palestinian prisoners that are involved in a political conflict.
Formerly there were many recommendations that were made by former Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann that asked to decrease the allowed visits for the families of the prisoners, prevent any physical connection between them, prevent them from watching television and listening to radio and to change the Israeli law so there would be no interviews between the prisoners and their lawyers.
Netanyahu talked about Israel’s commitment to International and Israeli law regarding the kind of treatment the Palestinian prisoners receive, but his decision contradicts these laws. The Israeli decision comes as a playing card to try to put pressure on Hamas, that is imprisoning Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, who was kidnapped while he was in the army service on Gaza’s borders. The Israeli decision would create a reaction within the Palestinian prisoners camp who fought since the seventies to earn the rights that they are given today in Israeli prisons.
In the same speech, Prime Minister Netanyahu demanded again from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to recognize Israel as a Jewish state since this would be a reason that helps in reaching a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Netanyahu insisted that Israel must be recognized as a Jewish state and he accepts the “idea” of establishing a Palestinian state in which Jews would move to live in Israel and the Palestinians would move to live in the future Palestinian state.
Netanyahu mentioned the Arab minority which lives in Israel nowadays by stating that Israel will be Jewish and will hold its flag and Jewish properties since it enjoys a majority of Jews while the Arabs will be given their rights while living under the Jewish state. Netanyahu also stated that the current Arabs who are living in Israel are the only ones who enjoy real complete rights in the region.
It is worth mentioning that there are about two million Arabs living inside Israel and they hold Israeli nationality BUT they used to live on their lands before the establishment of Israel that included seizure of most of their properties.
The Palestinian leadership refuses any recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and has stated several times that the Israelis can call themselves whatever they want but the Palestinians will not be obliged to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. To my mind, asking from the Palestinians to recognize Israel, as a Jewish state before reaching an agreement about all the final cases that should be negotiated is a waste of time. Such a recognition holds an important meaning and price that the Palestinians will not compromise while the current Israeli government continues to build settlements, denies the Palestinians rights in East Jerusalem, and states that there is nothing called the 1967 borders. The sense of quietness in the diplomatic communication and the lack of any development in the peace process that seems to be dead, threaten the sudden development that would happen in September. Israel seems to be determined to continue in its plans of directing the conflict and policy of giving nothing, while the Palestinians are working silently and preparing for what would be a real challenge for them in a possible declaration of the Palestinian state in September.