The parents of fallen IDF soldier Oron Shaul blocked the entrance to Nafha Prison in southern Israel to prevent relatives of Hamas prisoners from seeing their family members on Monday, after their attempts to revoke other privileges from the inmates failed this week, Ynet news reported.
In addition to the protest, the Shaul family filed a petition with the High Court of Justice Monday to rescind the visitation rights for Hamas prisoners.
Shaul was killed in an attack on an armored personnel carrier during the 2014 Gaza war. His body was reportedly stolen by Hamas terrorists, who spirited his remains back to the Gaza Strip where they have remained ever since.
“Just like were were stripped of our humanitarian right to know what is going on with our son who is being held by Hamas, we should also not allow the families of terrorists to enjoy privileges and conditions beyond what is required from the Geneva Convention,” the family said in a statement on Sunday.
Under Israeli Prison Service regulations, the families of security prisoners in Israel are allowed to visit their incarcerated relatives every other week.
Outside the prison, Shaul’s father Herzl blasted the government for failing to act, Ynet reported.
“The government got two years of quiet, and we got promises — but nothing was done,” Herzl Shaul said, referring to the relative quiet on the Gaza border following the 2014 war.
Since the 50-day operation, the Shaul family has been vocal in its criticism of Netanyahu’s government for failing to secure the return of their son’s body from Gaza. This has increased in recent weeks, with the signing of a normalization agreement between Israel and Turkey, which did not include demands for the return of the four Israelis being held in Gaza.
In addition to Shaul, the remains of another IDF soldier, Lt. Hadar Goldin, were seized by Hamas during the conflict, and two Israeli civilians — Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed — who entered the Gaza Strip after the 2014 war are also believed to have been captured by the terrorist group.
The families of Shaul, Goldin and Mengistu, who according to his family, suffers from mental illness, have rallied against the detente deal between Israel and Turkey inked two weeks ago.
In the wake of the agreement between Jerusalem and Ankara, the Shaul family staged a protest to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching the Gaza Strip and, most recently, attempted to get the High Court of Justice to prevent Hamas prisoners from watching the Euro 2016 soccer championship final between France and Portugal on Sunday night.
The court rejected the claim, saying there was “no legal impediment to security prisoners watching the European Championships final on Channel 2, which is a public channel, and the petitioners did not present us with any legal or factual basis to prevent a group of prisoners or anyone else from watching the game.”
In addition to the soccer match, the petition called for an end to the reported improvement of conditions in prison for security prisoners, which included an increase from three to seven television channels, hard-boiled eggs at meals, and an additional NIS 200 ($51) for the canteen, according to a report by the Walla news site.
“What is the logic behind this miserable, bizarre decision?” wrote Herzl and Zehava Shaul in their petition. “Hamas continues to laugh at Israel throughout, from the hiding place of the two soldiers. The state must send Hamas a clear, unambiguous message — an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”
However, the father of Hisham al-Sayed has called on the other families to cease their campaigns to pressure the government.
Sha’ban al-Sayed, whose mentally ill son wandered into the Gaza Strip in April 2015 and has not been heard from since, told Army Radio last week that pressuring the Israeli government “will only hurt the interests of our boys.”