Herzog: Freedom Flotilla will reach Gaza if there are pledges to release Shalit

Herzog: Freedom Flotilla will reach Gaza if there are pledges to release Shalit

Israeli minister of social welfare Yizhak Herzog said that the Freedom Flotilla aid convoy will not be allowed to reach the besieged Gaza Strip, before its organizers pledge to get soldier Gilad Shalit released.

“The convoy of ships must not be allowed to reach the Gaza Strip, unless its organizers pledged to get Gilad Shalit out of there,” the Hebrew radio quoted Herzog as saying on Sunday.

The minister added that the dispatch of multinational ships to Gaza is a provocative act intended purely for confusing Israel, claiming that Gaza does not suffer a humanitarian crisis or food shortages.

Regarding the issue of Shalit, Palestinian minister of prisoners’ affairs Mohamed Al-Ghoul warned of the repercussions of Israel’s intention to sanction a law, called the “Shalit law” in order to tighten the incarceration conditions of Hamas-affiliated prisoners in its jails.

In a press release on Sunday, Ghoul said that the situation in Israeli jails could explode any moment if Israel carried out its threats to take punitive measures against Hamas prisoners.

The minister pointed out that Israel’s claim that this law is only aimed at punishing Hamas detainees in order to pressure their Movement to soften its position regarding the release of Shalit is a lie, affirming that it is paving the way before generalizing its punitive measures to all prisoners.

In this regard, the Israeli ministerial committee for legislation on Sunday ratified what is called the Shalit  law which enables Israel to take severe punitive measures against Hamas prisoners.

Maariv newspaper said that under this law, Hamas prisoners will be deprived of all the rights they enjoy in Israel jails as long as Shalit is still in captivity.

For its part, Al-Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies called for necessarily forming a lobby of international human rights organizations to address the serious decision, called the Shalit law, which was taken by Israel in order to worsen the incarceration conditions of Hamas prisoners in its jails.

Director of the center Fouad Al-Khafsh said he sent letters to more than one hundred international organizations in order to put them in the picture of the new Israeli law that violates the essence of international law in general and the fourth Geneva convention in particular.

The Israeli government’s endorsement of the Shalit law raised the ire of families of prisoners and different human rights organizations, where three sit-ins took place on Sunday outside Israeli jails in protest of the law.

The government committee for prisoners’ affairs said that these sit-ins will continue until Israel backtracks on its decision to escalate punitive measures against Hamas prisoners.