Following the refusal of the Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan to accede to Red Cross demands to allow the Gaza-based families of Hamas security prisoners to visit them in prison, four of those prisoners have petitioned the High Court of Justice demanding the visits be resumed, Israel Hayom reported Wednesday.
Minister Erdan has decided to bar Gaza families from visiting Hamas prisoners as part of an effort to pressure Hamas to return Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, two IDF soldiers who were killed in the 2014 Gaza war and Hams has been refusing to return their bodies for burial in Israel. Israel also demands the return of two of its citizens, Avra Mengistu from Ashkelon who crossed the border to the Gaza Strip in September 2014, and Hisham a-Sayyed, a resident of the Bedouin town of Hura, who crossed over in April 2015.
About a month ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sent a letter to Minister Erdan demanding that the families of Hamas prisoners from Gaza be allowed to visit their loved ones in Israeli prisons immediately, arguing that keeping them away was a “violation of the Geneva Convention.”
It should be noted that this claim has little to do with the actual content of the Geneva Convention. For one thing, it elevates murderers who serve out their time following criminal prosecution and conviction to the status of Prisoners of War – which they are not, seeing as the Hamas government that commanded them is a terrorist organization by universal agreement. It then elevates their families to the status of medical and religious personnel, whose visits of POWs are sanctioned by the convention.
Does anyone at the Red Cross go over these embarrassing demands before they are sent out?
Hadar’s father, Simcha Goldin, told Yisrael Hayom following the Red Cross’s request that “this is a demonstration of hypocrisy, falsity and inhumanity of the Red Cross.”
The four prisoners’ petition claims violation of their equal rights under the law, arguing that they are being deprived of family visits while their colleagues from Judea and Samaria enjoy uninterrupted visits. It should be interesting to see whether the High Court of Justice believes in the existence equal rights under the law for terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands.