''Schalit bill' complicates return deal'

Palestinian, UN officials deliver harsh words for the new legislation.

gilad schalit 248 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
gilad schalit 248 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoner Affairs warned on Monday that the passage of the 'Gilad Schalit bill' will hurt the chances of reaching a deal for Schalit's freedom.
A senior source at the UN Human Rights council commented, "we are hearing worrisome news coming from Jerusalem," according to Army Radio.
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The source continued, "Israel can expect questions about the bill when it appears before a committee hearing in July."
After more than a year of delays and deal-making, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation paved the way on Sunday for a bill that its sponsors hope will speed up the release of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. The legislation, which would worsen the conditions of Hamas security prisoners as long as Schalit remains in captivity, passed the committee after a deal was worked out with the Prime Minister’s Office and relevant ministries.
The ministers said they would support the bill on the condition that they be consulted before it advances to its second reading in the Knesset, and that consultations continue with the Justice and Public Security ministries. In addition to concerns regarding High Court challenges, ministers skeptical of the bill suggested that sanctions against prisoners could lead to disorder in the prison system.
Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report.