Palestinians say Israel using Schalit as a distraction

Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Ministry says that Israel attempted to distract international community from prisoners' hunger strike.

October 4, 2011 16:13
2 minute read.
Gilad Schalit

Gilad Schalit 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Ministry said that a “surprising” visit by a German mediator to Cairo for talks over the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit was meant to distract the international community from the hunger strike being staged by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Ministry spokesperson Riad al-Ashkar said that there have been no developments in the prisoner-swap deal for Schalit, and that the current visit by a German mediator only undermines the process.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

'Israel willing to 'pay the price' for freeing Schalit'
Hamas optimistic over exchange deal for Schalit

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails have joined a hunger strike to protest against deteriorating prison conditions. The strike was called after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu toughened restrictions on Palestinian prisoners as part of an effort to force Hamas to free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

Prisoners Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqea told Reuters that some 500 prisoners in Israeli jails were refusing to eat, rapidly swelling the ranks of the protest that began last week.

Sivan Weizman, a spokeswoman for the Prisons Service, said only 160 prisoners were on a hunger strike and that some of them stopped eating six days ago.

“They are all under medical supervision and none is in danger,” she said, adding that they were all drinking water.


Around 6,000 Palestinians are detained in Israeli prisons, according to Qaraqea, who said that most of those not on the open-ended strike were nonetheless shunning food for three days every week in solidarity with the others.

Thousands of Palestinians staged rallies in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank on Monday to voice their support for the protest.

“Freedom can only be complete when the homeland is liberated and prisoners are released,” chanted protesters in Ramallah.

Rights groups said the clampdown included preventing access to books, educational programs and new clothes, expanding solitary confinement, cutting back on family visits and forcing detainees to meet their lawyers with their hands cuffed.

A senior Hamas official warned on Monday that rather than bow to Israeli pressure, militants would abduct more Israeli soldiers to push their demand for a mass release of Palestinian inmates.

“More of Schalit’s kind are coming,” Hamas lawmaker Ismail Al-Ashqar said in Gaza, adding that the “effort to kidnap soldiers will continue until prisoners are freed.”

“The policy of kidnapping soldiers and settlers will continue until the release of our brave prisoners,” Ashqar said during a solidarity rally for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails at the International Red Cross headquarters in the Gaza Strip.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN