After 5 years, Gazans visit kin in Israeli prisons

Families of 25 prisoners allowed to visit as part of deal that ended prisoners' hunger strike; IPS says visit went smoothly.

Palestinian woman leaving Gaza to visit relative 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian woman leaving Gaza to visit relative 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Prison Service renewed family visitations for Palestinian security prisoners on Monday, allowing 40 relatives from Gaza to meet with 25 convicted terrorists at the Ramon prison in southern Israel.
“This is a pilot attempt to renew the visitations,” Prisons Service spokeswoman Sivan Weitzman told The Jerusalem Post. “The visit is now over. It went smoothly.”
A few more experimental visits are expected in the coming weeks, Weitzman said, adding that “if things continue to go well, we’ll continue the visits.”
The visit came as part of a deal between Israel and the security prisoners, which ended a month-long hunger strike by some 1,600 prisoners in May.
Israel banned family visits to prisoners from Gaza in 2007, a few months after Gazan terrorists kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, holding him captive until they exchanged him for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in an Egyptian-mediated deal in 2011.
Abdallah Qandil, spokesman of a prisoner association in Gaza, accused Israel of violating the May agreement, saying the first visits had not been arranged soon enough, had not included enough families and were still subject to serious restrictions.
Reuters contributed to this report.