Roni Sofer
March 24, 2009 - 12:00am,7340,L-3691212,00.html

The government decided Sunday not to limit the entry of food product to the Gaza Strip, following criticism voiced by the United States and Europe over Israel's crossings policy.

According to the new decision, "The Israeli government is instructing the elements engaged in the matter to allow the free transfer of food products to Gaza's residents from all relevant sources, after ensuring that they are indeed food products – as part of the humanitarian efforts.

"The government's instruction is to guarantee that the aforesaid is implemented."

The decision was made alongside another government decision related to its policy regarding Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners jailed in Israel, following the failure to reach an agreement on kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit's release.

In this second decision, the government instructed all the relevant bodies not to grant the prisoners any privilege which is not required by law and according to the treaties the State of Israel is committed to.

This decision was made after Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann briefed the ministers on the recommendations of a ministerial committee appointed to discuss the imprisonment conditions of Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel.

The government also approved the appointment of a professional team headed by the prisons commissioner and comprised of representatives of the attorney general, the Israel Prison Service, the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security services, which will act to restrict the privileges given to security prisoners affiliated with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.

The team will issue instructions to the relevant bodies within two weeks.


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