Netanyahu: Israel to Toughen Conditions of Palestinian Prisoners

Prime minister announces that Israel will stop giving benefits to terrorists such as enrollment in academic studies, says 'the celebration is over'; Noam Shalit responds to Netanyahu, expresses doubt Israel will manage to pressure Hamas to release Gilad.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday that he plans on toughening the conditions of Palestinian security prisoners in Israel's prisons.

"I have decided to change Israel's treatment of terrorists sitting in prison," Netanyahu said during the closing statements at the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem. "We will give them all that they deserve according to international law but nothing beyond that."

Tomer Appelbaum

Netanyahu said that he is required to respect Israeli law, international law, and international trust but nothing beyond that, so Israel is taking a series of steps to change prisoners' conditions.

"We will stop, among other things, the absurd practice in which terrorists who murdered innocent people enroll in academic studies. There will be no more 'doctors of terror' – the celebration is over."

Netanyahu's comments come after Hamas refused Thursday to answer the International Red Cross' request that the Gaza rulers provide proof that abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit is still alive.

Noam Shalit responded to Netanyahu's comments on Thursday, saying that he is doubtful that Israel will succeed in exerting pressure on Hamas after five years that it had failed to do so.

"We want to ask why Israeli governments had waited five years in which Gilad rotted in a Hamas prison?," Shalit demanded, and said he was pessimistic regarding Netanyahu's announcement.