In answer to the question, "How can pressure be exerted on Hamas and Hezbollah to release information on kidnapped Israeli soldiers in their possession?", the Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Jacob Edery (Kadima), suggested to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that family visits to all 10,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli prison camps should be forbidden, and the Red Cross should be prevented from treating prisoners seized in the invasion of Lebanon.
"There is no doubt that one of our most significant tools to achieve this [the release of the one soldier held prisoner by Palestinian resistance groups, and two soldiers held prisoner by Hezbollah in Lebanon] are the Palestinian and Hezbollah prisoners. As a former deputy to the minister of internal security, I know the meaning of preventing family visits to Palestinian prisoners or Red Cross visits to Hezbollah prisoners."
As the eighty-seven Palestinian bureaucrats and ministers seized by Israeli forces in late June languish in Israeli prison camps without charges, they join over 1500 Palestinians being held by Israeli forces in what is called "administrative detention", which means they are held without charges. Israeli officials claim that such detentions are necessary for ‘security reasons’. Holding the citizenry of an occupied populace hostage is illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory. And holding any person in prison without trial is illegal under international law.
Desite this fact, the ‘collective punishment’ of all of the Palestinian captives held by Israel is seriously being considered as a pressure tactic to force resistance groups in Palestine to release a single prisoner-of-war who was captured June 25th in Gaza.
One of the Palestinian governmental officials being held by Israeli authorities is the Legislative Speaker, Aziz Dweik, who is in extremely poor health and has faced a deterioration in his condition since he was seized by Israeli forces several weeks ago.
Today, the Palestinian Ministry of Information issued a statement placing the responsibility for Dr. Dweik’s condition in the hands of the Israeli authorities, accusing them of mistreating Dr. Dweik. According to the statement, Israeli doctors in the Shaare Zedek Medical Center gave Dweik a treatment causing him to lose consciousness and balance. The Palestinian government had previously accused Israeli soldiers of beating the aging doctor during his arrest, exacerbating his health condition and leading to his hospitalization.