Hamas prisoners will not watch World Cup, public security minister decides

“I do not intend to allow Hamas terrorists to watch the World Cup while the bodies of our soldiers are held in Gaza together with our kidnapped civilians,” Erdan stated.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails will not get to watch the FIFA World Cup in June along with the other convicts sharing their detention facilities, Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan announced Sunday.

“I do not intend to allow Hamas terrorists to watch the World Cup while the bodies of our soldiers are held in Gaza together with our kidnapped civilians,” Erdan stated.

He was referring to Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were killed in action during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and whose bodies were dragged into Gaza, and Avera Mangistu and Hisham al-Sayed, two men with mental health issues who wandered separately over the border into the Strip in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

The Hamas government refuses to divulge any information about any of them, nor will it allow the the Red Cross to visit the two live detainees to check on their condition.

Erdan held a meeting with Chief Prison Commissioner Ofra Klinger and other relevant legal officials, where it was decided to change the current regulation stating that all prisoners must automatically be permitted to watch TV without differentiating between terrorists and other inmates.

Last Thursday it was reported that the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) would allow imprisoned terrorists from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah to enjoy watching the most popular sporting event in the world.

According to Channel 20 News, 74 bereaved families sent a furious letter to the head of the IPS, demanding that the permission be rescinded.

“Is it OK to lose all our values just to have some quiet from these base terrorists?” they asked. “We won’t rest until this theater of the absurd ends.”

Erdan said that his decision to deny terrorists the right to enjoy the FIFA games is part and parcel of the Israeli government’s initiative “to exert pressure on the prisoners of the Hamas terrorist organization and also worsen the prison conditions of security prisoners from other organizations.”

A more serious downgrade in conditions for Hamas terrorists that was decided upon in reaction to the kidnapping of the three teens that led to Operation Protective Edge in 2014 is that they get family visits only four times a year. This has not led to a softening of Hamas’ stance vis-à-vis the Israelis they are holding hostage.