JERUSALEM, June 24 (UPI) -- Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has announced plans to make confinement more difficult for Palestinians held for terrorism offenses in Israel.
Netanyahu's statement Thursday came after Hamas refused to provide proof requested by the International Red Cross that Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who has been a hostage since 2006, is still alive, Haaretz reported. Speaking at the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said Israel in future will follow international law and nothing beyond that.
"We will stop, among other things, the absurd practice in which terrorists who murdered innocent people enroll in academic studies," he said. "There will be no more 'doctors of terror' -- the celebration is over."
Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, responded Friday that Netanyahu's statement was itself a violation of international law. He also blamed Netanyahu for Shalit's continued captivity.
Zuhri said Shalit will only be returned "in exchange for Palestinian prisoners."
The White House issued a statement Friday noting it has been nearly five years since "Hamas terrorists crossed into Israel and abducted Gilad Shalit."
"During this time, Hamas has held him hostage without access by the International Committee of the Red Cross, in violation of the standards of basic decency and international humanitarian demands," the White House statement said. "As the anniversary of his capture approaches, the United States condemns in the strongest possible terms his continued detention, and joins other governments and international organizations around the world in calling on Hamas to release him immediately."