Israel’s top court has given its approval to a punitive ban on family visits for Hamas prisoners from the Gaza Strip, a decision slammed by human rights activists as “court-sanctioned vengeance”.
In July 2017, Israel banned family visits to Hamas prisoners from Gaza, in an apparent bid to pressure the organization over its ongoing detention of two Israelis and the remains of two soldiers.
The court has consistently provided a legal stamp of approval for the violation of Palestinians’ rights, including home demolitions, detention without trial, expulsion of communities, torture and violations of the rights of suspects and due process rights. https://t.co/HAs6zEfyTp
— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) July 15, 2019
Following the ban, four Hamas-affiliated prisoners brought a petition to the Supreme Court, which was finally rejected last month.
Some 300 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are in Israeli jails, roughly a third of whom are Hamas-affiliated. Even for non-Hamas prisoners, Israel imposes draconian restrictions on family visits.
Posted by Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign on Sunday, July 14, 2019
In its ruling, the court acknowledged that family visits are being denied as a way of pressuring Hamas rather than based on “concrete concern over abuse of the visits by any of the prisoners”.
Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike today to protest Israeli authorities installing cellphone jamming technology. They will refuse water if their demand for the jamming system to be shut down are not met within 7 days.https://t.co/v5693ZsTGS
— This Ongoing War (@ThisOngoingWar) April 7, 2019
However, this was seen as a denial of a privilege rather than a punishment, and a measure justified in the name of “national security”.
B’Tselem noted that Israeli minister Gilad Erdan has justified the ban on the basis that it ends “the absurd asymmetry between the conditions in which Israelis are held captive without trial by Hamas and the conditions terrorists receive here in Israel”.
— Palestinians abroad (@PalesAbroadE) July 14, 2019
According to the human rights group,“this is the entire story in a nutshell: not ‘general security conditions’, not ‘proportionality tests’, not a balance between ‘privileges’ and weighty considerations”, but rather “sheer vengeance”.
B’Tselem also criticized the court for once again providing “a legal stamp of approval for the violation of Palestinians’ rights”.
(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)