“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Gilad Shalit.

with 15 comments

Despite a lot of arm waving concerning human rights in bits of the Middle East there isn’t much real concern in the West for the fate of Gilad Shalit.

Gilad Shalit was, you will remember, kidnapped four years ago.

Gilad Shalit is now held by Hamas.

Gilad Shalit is not allowed access to any visitors or even the Red Cross, contrary to all accepted norms of human rights and the Geneva conventions.

Gilad Shalit is locked up in some hole by Hamas and has been for years, not that you will hear much of that in the Western media.

Gilad Shalit banner

Here’s some of my previous posts on this topic:

Ingrid Betancourt and Gilad Shalit

1,195 Days – Compare and Contrast

Gilad Shalit – One Forgotten Israeli

That’s Alright, Keep Your Guns

Update 1: HRW apparently has commented on Gilad Shalit, but will the issues surrounding he is kidnapped, imprisonment and being held incommunicado be dealt with in the Western media? I somehow doubt it, but HRW’s contribution is welcome:

“JERUSALEM — Human Rights Watch on Friday demanded that Hamas end its “cruel and inhuman treatment” of Gilad Shalit as Israel marked the fourth anniversary of the soldier’s captivity at the hands of the Islamist movement.

“Hamas authorities are violating the laws of war by refusing to allow Shalit to correspond with his family,” the New York-based group HRW said, adding that the young soldier’s prolonged incommunicado detention “may amount to torture.”

Thousands of yellow balloons were to be released across Israel for the anniversary, a candle-lighting ceremony was planned in Tel Aviv and a major newspaper distributed yellow ribbons to its readers.

Amid growing public backing in Israel for a prisoner exchange deal with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, demonstrations of support for Shalit also have been held in several capitals this week, including Rome and Paris.

On Sunday, the Shalit family accompanied by thousands of supporters will set off on a march from their home in northern Israel to Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence, a distance of about 200 kilometres (120 miles.)

Shalit, then a 19-year-old corporal, was captured by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in a deadly cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip on June 25, 2006.

He is believed to be held in Hamas-ruled Gaza, where he has had no contact with his family or the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“Regardless of Hamas?s grievances against Israel, there are no grounds to cut Shalit off completely from his family,” HRW said.

“Hamas authorities in Gaza should immediately end the cruel and inhuman treatment of Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit,” it said.

The Islamist movement has said allowing outside access to Shalit could reveal his location to Israel.

HRW pointed out that Israel has prevented detainees from the Gaza Strip from having family visits since Hamas seized power in the Palestinian territory in 2007.

They are however allowed periodic Red Cross visits.

Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip four years ago a bid to force Hamas to release Shalit, but eased the sanctions this week amid international pressure fuelled by a deadly commando raid on an Gaza-bound activist aid flotilla.

Negotiations for a prisoner swap, mediated by Egypt and Turkey, have hit a brick wall.

Hamas wants Israel to release hundreds of prisoners, including several top militants responsible for killing scores of Israelis, in exchange for Shalit — a price the Jewish state has been reluctant to pay.

A majority of Israelis are in favour of such a swap, according to a poll published by the Yediot Aharonot daily on Friday.

Seventy-two percent said yes when asked if they would support “a prisoner exchange deal in which hundreds of terrorists, including murderers, are released in exchange for Gilad Shalit.” “

Written by modernityblog

25/06/2010 at 01:05

15 Responses

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  1. …not that you will hear much of that in the Western media.

    Not sure I agree with you there, Mod.


    25/06/2010 at 09:28

  2. yes but, Hamas’ll say, you have to remember that half a million innocent Palestinians are locked up in terrible conditions and are tortured everyday; at least half of them are children under 10 blahblahblah…..


    25/06/2010 at 09:48

  3. thanks Ben,

    So where do they mention

    1) that he was kidnapped?
    2) that he has been effectively kept incommunicado for 4 years?
    3) that the Red Cross should have visited him
    4) that Hamas have contravened all basic norms on the holding of prisoners
    5) his imprisonment contravenes the Geneva Convention?

    Where precisely does the Western media argue those points?



    25/06/2010 at 10:57

  4. Well, from the first link alone…

    1) “Sgt Gilad Shalit, then aged 19, was seized by Palestinian militants…
    2) “Israel is marking three years since Sgt Gilad Shalit…
    3) “[Human Rights Watch] said his captivity was “cruel and inhumane” and called on Hamas to allow him to communicate with his family and receive visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
    4, 5) “The Israeli rights group B’tselem said Sgt Shalit was legally a hostage, and hostage taking was a violation of international humanitarian law.”

    And, presumably, elsewhere. For a comparison, try to find similar reportage on Ibrahim Jassam, who was also held without access to the Red Cross but by the U.S. military.


    25/06/2010 at 11:40

  5. KIDNAPPED, not seized.

    Plus the fact that the BBC is merely reporting what other people say not arguing itself.

    If we were to look in the Guardian, at PAST articles, would we see indignation at Hamas’s treatment of Gilad Shalit? I doubt it.

    etc etc

    I didn’t know about the situation of Ibrahim Jassam, but if that’s the case then the US military are wrong, very wrong.


    25/06/2010 at 12:00

  6. The BBC isn’t supposed to argue! It has, however, reported on the case: frequently and in some detail. As for the Guardian…

    Hamas in talks on freeing kidnapped Israeli soldier


    25/06/2010 at 12:08

  7. Supposed to ?

    Are we naive enough to believe that the choice of words doesn’t reflect some subconscious thought of the author?

    The BBC deliberately downplayed the issue using the rather neutral word “seized”.

    As we’ve seen recently they are more than capable of using pointed words when it comes to the Middle East, but not in the case Gilad Shalit.

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough about my previous point but I’m not saying that there is no coverage, but that the TONE is almost entirely different.

    Btw, the headline mentions kidnapping but not the article, that I could see.

    again, it’s not about individual words it is about the whole tone of stories dealing with Gilad Shalit.

    Ben, you might do well to see my previous post, compare and contrast.

    please tell me where there has been criticism in the mainstream media of Hamas not allowing the Red Cross to visit? There hasn’t been as far as I can see.


    25/06/2010 at 12:50

  8. He wasn’t kidnapped. Israel is at war with Gaza and has been since Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza as a collective punishmenbt for voting for Hamas rather than corrupt Fatah quislings.

    Yes Hamas should let in the Red Cross and not doing so is technically a violation of the laws of war. Not that Israel would ever do such a thing. No definitely not! White phosphorous anyone?

    Israel could secure Shalit’s release any time they wished by agreeing to a prisoner exchange. There are thousands of Palestinians who’ve been “kidnapped” by the Israelis.


    25/06/2010 at 23:34

  9. BenSix, you make excellent points. However, while this is quite plain to rational people like us, ModernityBlog finds it hard to ackowledge that he is, even partly, wrong. So instead of saying, ‘I put my hands up, I got this one wrong,’ he starts banging on about nebulous concepts such as ‘tone,’ and splitting hairs over whether the word ‘kidnap’ and ‘seize’ is more appropriate.

    So I wish you good luck, but I don’t think you’ll find a retraction is forthcoming.


    26/06/2010 at 12:45

  10. He was kidnapped.

    That’s the proper word to use in English.

    Irrespective of what you may or may not think of what the Israelis have done, that does not negate Hamas’s obligations, they are two separate things.


    28/06/2010 at 22:00

  11. Well, if comment pieces are what you’re after try here, here, here and here for starters.


    29/06/2010 at 01:30

  12. Yeah, plenty of coverage, that is not my point.

    The problem with the Guardian pieces, are that they tend to cover every particular point of view, so If you argue about the ***predominant*** thinking on an issue, someone can drag a smaller piece out and say “yah boo sucks”.

    Where there many editorials criticising Hamas (PS: I don’t include in the Daily Mail this is a rag, and only fit for the bottom of birdcages) ?

    I can’t remember them, in the PAST???? were there many?


    29/06/2010 at 01:41

  13. Heaven forbid that the Guardian try to cover every point of view! Soon we might even have to accuse them of being balanced.


    01/07/2010 at 13:13

  14. But it doesn’t, rather it uses these occasional articles as intellectual FIG LEAVES.


    01/07/2010 at 13:16

  15. […] a comment » This piece, unintentionally, highlights the dual standards which exist in the West, when it comes to the welfare of Israelis: “Imagine if the UN announced tomorrow […]

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