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JERUSALEM - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he intended to make conditions tougher for

Israel again resorts to collective punishment

Netanyahu to punish Palestinians in Israeli jails with new 'measures' on fifth anniversary of capture of Shalit.

 

 

 Palestinian prisoners as Israel marks the fifth anniversary of the capture of a soldier by Gaza militants.

"We will change the conditions for terrorists detained in our prisons. I'm not going to detail the measures, but I can tell you the party's over," Netanyahu said in a speech at an international conference in Jerusalem.

"It is impossible that these terrorists continue to enjoy privileges in our prisons while Hamas continues to kill innocent civilians," he said.

"I'll give you an example of the absurdity (of the privileges): I have ordered that inmates no longer be allowed to enroll at universities. There will be no more terrorist doctors," he said.

Netanyahu was speaking as Israel prepares to commemorate on Saturday the fifth anniversary of the capture of sergeant Gilad Shalit, now 24 years old.

Shalit was 19 when he was captured on June 25, 2006, by three armed groups, including Hamas, along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. He has been held ever since at a secret location in the Palestinian territory.

He has not been allowed visits by the Red Cross, and the last sign he was alive was in October 2009 when Hamas -- in exchange for the release of 20 Palestinian prisoners -- released a video of Shalit calling on Netanyahu to do everything to free him.

Palestinians threw eggs at the international Red Cross office in Gaza on Thursday to protest against a call for Hamas to show signs a captured Israeli soldier was still alive.

The protest, organised by a Palestinian prisoners organisation, said the Red Cross should focus on the plight of the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails.

"The world and its Red Cross cry for one Israeli prisoner and try to forget thousands of Palestinian prisoners," one banner said.

Hamas, while not directly rejecting the Red Cross call, said Shalit would be freed only once Israel released Palestinian prisoners.

"We will only consider resolving the Shalit issue if the issue of Palestinian prisoners in the occupation's prisons is resolved," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

Indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas for a deal that would see 1,000 Palestinians released in exchange for Shalit have been stalled for over a year

 

 

 

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