Schalit Bill to come one step closer to legislation (JERUSALEM POST) By REBECCA ANNA STOIL 03/28/11)
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Ten months after passing their preliminary readings, and years after
they were first filed, bills designed to put pressure on Hamas to
release captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit will begin to be prepared
Monday for their first reading on the Knesset floor.
The bills, collectively known as the Schalit Bill, will be joined
together in the process, and sponsors hope the final product will be
ready for the first plenum reading during the Knesset’s Summer
The Knesset’s Interior and Environment Committee will hold the first
hearing on the bill, which proposes changing the prison conditions of
Hamas prisoners as long as the terror organization continues to hold
the IDF soldier in captivity.
Despite the bill’s popularity among MKs, its future is far from
certain. “This bill will correct the absurd situation by which terror
organizations kidnap Israeli citizens as bargaining chips, completely
prevent visits, while members of these terror organizations who sit
in Israeli prisons are allowed to receive visitors,” complained MK
Danny Danon in the introduction to the bill that he sponsored.
Danon’s amendment would reduce visits to the minimum required by law,
permitting only visits by an attorney and visits by the International
Red Cross once every three months.
Last May, the bills, sponsored by Danon, Marina Solodkin (Kadima),
Yariv Levin (Likud) and Yoel Hasson (Kadima), sailed through
preliminary readings with support from both opposition and coalition
members, leading to a 56-10 victory.
The bills originated in the previous administration, with the bill
sponsored by Solodkin and cosponsored by then-MK Yuli Edelstein. With
the formation of the Likud government, two separate bills – one filed
by MK Danny Danon (Likud) and the second by MK Yariv Levin (Likud)
and MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) – were also filed, but repeatedly failed
to win the support of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.
In May 2010, a deal was reached by which the government would support
the bills on the condition that they be advanced to further readings
only “in concert and consultation” with the government and the
Internal Security and Justice Ministries.
“This bill reflects democracy working to defend itself,” said
Solodkin. “I had hoped that a bill that I started in the last
government could at least be advanced in this current government,
which is supposed to be a national-right-wing government.”
But Solodkin noted that, instead, the government had dragged its
feet, both on supporting the bill and then on bringing it to
committee for preparation.
Solodkin would not say that she was optimistic, but that she hoped
that the bill could be passed in its first plenum reading during the
summer, which would allow it to continue to be legislated even if the
government were to fall. (© 1995 - 2011 The Jerusalem Post. 03/28/11)
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