Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding

Opinion Editorials, June 27, 2011


Al-Jazeerah History


Mission & Name  

Conflict Terminology  


Gaza Holocaust  

Gulf War  




News Photos  

Opinion Editorials

US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)




The Case Against Those Demanding Shalit's Release

By Khalid Amayreh

PIC, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, June 27, 2011

It would be dishonest not to acknowledge the strenuous efforts that Israeli and pro-Israeli  circles have made on behalf of  imprisoned  soldier Gilad Shalit.
Outstanding among these efforts has been the ongoing Shalit family campaign to set their son free. The Shalits have left no stone unturned in a desperate effort to get the Israeli government to release their son by hook  or by crook.  Their  perseverance and  enduring vigor are really admirable in more than one  sense.
However, it is also true that all these efforts have not achieved the desired goal, thanks  to the resilience, patience and determination of  the Hamas movement.
In recent days and weeks, a number of international figures made appeals on Shalit's behalf.  
For example,  French President Nicolas  Sarkozy issued an impassioned appeal,  calling on Hamas  to release Shalit who holds dual Israeli and French citizenship.
"It is time that those responsible for your detention make a decision and end your intolerable and outrageous imprisonment," Sarkozy wrote
Sarkozy called Shalit's detainment a violation of international law.
"I cannot accept that you are forbidden from simple communication with your relatives and from receiving messages from them in return, as if a simple exchange of messages would be a sign of weakness on the part of those who hold you," Sarkozy wrote.
"I urge those who are imprisoning you to immediately permit the Red Cross to meet you and more than that to return you to freedom."
Sarkozy's remarks  would have deserved some respect had the French president burdened himself with uttering  a word  or  two about the fate of more than 6000 Palestinian resistance and political prisoners languishing in  Israeli dungeons, bastilles and concentration camps.
The fact that he ignored them utterly completely suggests that Sarkozy is dishonest, hypocritical, or that he thinks that those people, who include democratically elected  lawmakers, university professors and medical doctors, are either sub-humans or children of a lesser God.
Hence, Sarkozy's  total embrace of the Israeli side makes us Palestinians, as well as many honest men and  women around the world, treat his remarks  with the contempt they deserve.
Besides, Shalit  was not abducted as the Israeli lie machine keeps repeating. Shalit  was actually  taken  prisoner  in the middle  of a battle. He is a prisoner of war. Calling him any other name is  a cheap lie and  a cheap propaganda.
More to the point, Israel  keeps calling Palestinian freedom fighters imprisoned in  Israel "terrorists and murderers."
However, the truth of the matter is that these people are freedom fighters and  political activists who rose up to fight a Nazi-like  occupation that stole their country, destroyed their homes and villages, and expelled their people to the four corners of the world.
This means that Israel is totally disqualified to lecture the Palestinians on how they should resist their tormentors and occupiers of their land.
The French, perhaps 10% of the French people, were involved in the resistance against the Nazis. They too  were called terrorists and saboteurs by the Nazi occupation authorities. However, in retrospect, most people in the world, especially in France, salute the memories of those  who would have scarified their lives for the freedom of their country.
Similarly,  those Palestinians who have chosen  to fight the Israeli occupiers should be  compared  to the  10 % of  French citizens who overcame their fears and decided to fight the Nazis, often  risking torture and violent death.
True, some of the  Palestinian detainees languishing  for decades in Israeli jails may have been involved in  killing some  Israelis.  However, this fact must be viewed in the context of the overall conflict in which the occupying  power  murdered thousands of  innocent  Palestinians. In the final analysis, those Israelis  killed were not killed because they were Jews, they were killed because they were invaders, occupiers and  child-killers.
Indeed, it  is hard to find an adult Israeli who has no  blood  on his hands. Zionism, after all, has transformed the Israeli Jewish  society into a community of land thieves, child-killers and habitual liars.
In fact, Shalit, too,  may have been involved in killing  Palestinian children in Gaza or the West Bank . So, we are not talking exactly about a little angel as the Israeli hasbara would caricature the imprisoned  soldier.
Moreover, there is no doubt  that  under normal circumstances Shalit has the right to be visited by representatives of the  Red Cross.
However, there is also no doubt that Israel is likely to take advantage of any Red Cross visit to Shalit to  locate his whereabouts in order to launch a "rescue operation" in which Shalit himself and many other  Palestinians would likely  be killed.
The Palestinians have learned the hard way that Israel is the ultimate venomous snake that can't  be trusted. This, and this alone, explains  Hamas' reluctance to allow the Red Cross to visit Shalit.
Finally, it is imperative to  clarify some of the flagrant and  callous Israeli practices against Palestinians which are bound to generate tough  stances on the Palestinian side.
Israel has increasingly resorted to  dumping thousands of innocent Palestinians activists, including intellectuals, behind bars. In 99% of the cases, the only guilt these   people are accused of committing  is making  a public  statement or giving a public lecture lambasting the enduring occupation of their country.
Israel calls this illegal and immoral open-ended incarceration "administrative detention." The detainees themselves are not informed of the reasons for their detainment  which may linger for years.
Moreover, there are hundreds of Palestinians who are kept in jail six month per  year, just because their names appear on the  Israeli  occupation's computer screen.
In short, the wanton  abuse meted out by Israel to Palestinians leaves them with very few choices, especially in the absence of a credible Israeli  justice system that would  address  real grievances and  guarantee even a semblance of justice. (end)




Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & &