Gov't to crackdown on Hamas prisoners' cellphone use

Public security minister looks to act on Netenyahu's vow to toughen prisoners' conditions; MK Danon says move is "not enough."

Palestinian prisoners in Israel's Ketziot prison 311 (R) (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
Palestinian prisoners in Israel's Ketziot prison 311 (R)
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Wednesday said that the government is considering the use of electronic devices to stop the operation of smuggled cell phones by Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails.
The announcement came after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed last week to toughen the conditions of Hamas prisoners following the Gaza leadership's refusal of a Red Cross request to receive proof that captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit is alive.
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Hamas prisoners are forbidden from using cellular phones but the Prison Service has been only partially successful in preventing the phenomenon, Aharonovitch said. Prisoners use the devices to communicate with Hamas leadership as well as prisoners in other jails.
In response to a query by Likud MK Danny Danon on the Hamas prisoners' conditions, Aharonovitch said that "at the moment we are considering implementing an advanced system that would prevent completely the possibility of prisoners using cellular telephones."
Aharonovitch added that the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) also intended on performing more thorough searches of those visiting the prisoners to prevent further smuggling.
Danon said that the moves were not harsh enough. "We must stop the celebrations inside of our jails," he stated.