ModernityBlog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Kidnapping

Vittorio Arrigoni And The Need For The Geneva Accords.

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No one should sneer or joke about the death of Vittorio Arrigoni, rather our humanity should make us think of why it happened and what the alternatives are.

The continued violence in the Middle East only brutalises people, it desensitises them and makes any settlement harder to achieve.

The on-going conflict in the Middle East is a political problem and requires political solutions, not military gung-honess, attacks on buses or the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni.

Such a political solution is the Geneva Accords.

These accords try to balance the wants and desires of all parties, and endeavour to find reasonable compromises to these seemingly intractable problems.

For peace in the Middle East a degree of realism is needed on all sides, no one is going to vanish or go away, so a modus vivendi must be found.

The Geneva Accords offer an outline of a settlement and should be given greater prominence in light of Vittorio Arrigoni’s death, lest nihilism and the status quo linger on, leading to further killings and the brutalisation of so many more.

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16/04/2011 at 01:30

Kidnapping In Gaza.

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In a bizarre twist, an ISM activist has been kidnapped by a group even more extreme than Hamas, AFP reports:

“GAZA CITY — A Salafist group of radical Islamists kidnapped an Italian activist in Gaza on Thursday and threatened to kill him, the group and aid workers said.

Foreign aid workers in the enclave named the man as Vittorio Arrigoni and said he was an activist with a pro-Palestinian group called the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), who was also working as a journalist and writer.
In a video posted on YouTube, the Salafist group said it had taken him hostage in order to secure the release of an unspecified number of their members who had been arrested by the security forces in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

It said it would execute him if their demands were not met by 5:00 pm (1400 GMT) on Friday.

“We kidnapped the Italian prisoner Vittorio and we call on the Haniya government … to release all our prisoners,” it said, referring to Hamas premier Ismail Haniya and naming an imprisoned jihadi leader called Sheikh Hisham al-Suedani.

“If you don’t respond quickly to our demands, within 30 hours from 11:00 am (0800 GMT) on April 14, we will execute this prisoner,” it said.
The interior ministry of the Islamist Hamas movement which controls Gaza said it was checking the reports of the kidnapping.

The West Bank-based Palestinian leadership called for the “immediate and unconditional release of this foreign activist who is working in support of the Palestinian cause and people.”

“This action does not help the just cause of the Palestinian people. On the contrary, it harms it,” a statement said.

The kidnappers identified themselves in the video as belonging to a previously unknown group called The Brigade of the Gallant Companion of the Prophet Mohammed bin Muslima.

The group described Arrigoni as a “journalist who came to our country for nothing but to corrupt people — from Italy, the state of infidelity, whose armies are still in the Muslim countries.” “

I hope they release Vittorio Arrigoni unharmed, and at the same time, that Hamas make an effort to free their own captive, the kidnapped Israeli, Gilad Shalit.

Gilad Shalit has been held without any external contact or competent, independent, medical supervision (which contravenes the Geneva Convention) for 4 years, 9 months and 20 days.

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15/04/2011 at 01:16

Gilad Shalit In The Media.

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I have meant to write more on this topic, but couldn’t.

Still, Just Journalism has a good piece on the hypocrisy that is so evident in the British media:

“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.

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18/10/2010 at 22:29

Imagine If….

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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 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.”

Gilad Shalit.

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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.” “

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25/06/2010 at 01:05

Politics, police and military in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Not quite that grandiose title, but I was pondering those two countries and with the news that is filtering out a couple of things seem clear to me.

In Pakistan there is the question of dual power, not between the people and the military, rather than military and the Islamists. The Islamists chose to attack military installations not civilian ones, as that is where power ultimately resides in Pakistan, with the military.

The audacious nature of the attacks was meant to cower the Pakistani military and leave the road open for the Islamists to take full power. Their attacks were meant to show their strength and instil fear into the Pakistani military, which they hoped would eventually capitulate and allow the takeover of the Pakistani state by the Islamists. I feel that they have underestimated the desire for self-preservation in the Pakistani military as they move into the South Waziristan heartlands. Whatever happens it will be a bloody and murderous campaign.

Listening to the news coming out of America I couldn’t understand why the Obama regime was seemingly dithering over Afghanistan and McChrystal’s request for 40,000 troops, but it’s apparent the politics of the Presidential election is part of the reason. Hamid Karzai doesn’t want to hold a run-off and the Americans are using the issue of reinforcements as pressure on him, after considerable election fraud. Whatever happens any government in Kabul it must have a degree of legitimacy and the extent of fraud perpetrated in the recent presidential election makes it hard for the Americans and others to garner support for a continued presence in Afghanistan. Karzai for his part is reluctant to 1) admit that there was election fraud 2) fight it off in a two way contest, lest he loses.

Not sure which way it will go, but there is more going on than we hear.

On a related topic, a kidnapped American journalist, David Rohde, tells of his time in the hands of the Taliban.

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19/10/2009 at 15:21

Ingrid Betancourt and Gilad Shalit.

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One of my readers kindly reminded me, I had forgotten that Gilad Shalit had French citizenship, with that in mind the situation of Ingrid Betancourt is pertinent.

She was kidnapped by FARC whilst out campaigning in 2002. This BBC News article marked her 1000th day in captivity yet you would search high and low to find a similar one on Gilad Shalit.

Ingrid Betancourt has dual Colombian and French citizenship.

Gilad Shalit has dual Israeli and French citizenship.

There the similarity ends. There is precious little coverage in the Western media of Gilad Shalit’s plight.

More recently France has made a few token noises and even granted Paris citizenship to Gilad’s father, but there is nothing about Hamas’s treatment of Gilad Shalit and their contravention of his status as a POW (access to the Red Cross, etc).

What is noticeable is the inability of the Western media and policy makers to make even elementary criticisms of Hamas when the fate of an Israeli is at stake.

I suspect such an attitude doesn’t go unnoticed in Israel.

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11/10/2009 at 15:44