Posts Tagged ‘Geneva conventions’
I have meant to write more on this topic, but couldn’t.
“There were noticeable differences between The Guardian, The Independent and the BBC News website on the reported resumption of talks between Israel and Hamas over the release of Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit.
The biggest issue relates to the fact that Shalit has been denied visits during the period of his capture – a clear violation of the Geneva Convention and International Human Rights Law. The BBC article on the renewed talks did not even mention that he has been denied all visits.
The Associated Press and Independent articles, on the other hand, did both mention that Shalit has not been allowed visits; however, they failed to cite this as a violation of international law. The Independent noted that:
‘Sgt Shalit’s family has repeatedly complained that Hamas has not allowed visits to him by the International Red Cross.’
The Independent stated that:
‘Since his capture four years ago, Shalit has received no outside visitors.’
The failure to cite international law contrasts with coverage of Israeli actions, such as construction in the West Bank, where the issue of legality is frequently raised. “
What a contrast to how the British journalist Alan Johnston’s captivity was covered in the media.
“Imagine if the UN announced tomorrow that it was suspending all UNWRA activities and funding in the Gaza Strip until Gilad Shalit was released. Imagine if the EU refused to allow imports of strawberries and flowers from Gaza until the Red Cross was granted regular access to Gilad in accordance with his rights under international law. Imagine if Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or B’Tselem did more than release the occasional tepid statement. Imagine if the BBC and the Guardian actually reported this story with the same zeal and intensity as they invested in the kidnapping of Alan Johnston.”
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.
Here’s some of my previous posts on this topic:
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.” “