freegilad.gifGilad Shalit’s treatment by Hamas since his capture on June 25 2006 as a non-declared prisoner of war without rights of visitation–a hostage–is appalling, and should be condemned and the man set free. It’s a bit like Hamas’ version of Gitmo without any visits and assurances of his well-being. Thus his treatment has been condemned internationally and even the Goldstone Report (yes, the Goldstone report which is otherwise anthematized) said so as well. His cause has become a rallying cry among Jewish communities around the world. He should of course, be unconditionally released, as should many innocent Palestinians for whom incarceration becomes a school for hatred for Israel.
But the non-resolution of Shalit’s case is not just due to Hamas’ demands for a prisoner release of their people. All along he has been the victim of bumbling Israeli governments which have increasingly found that neither invasions or blockades in Gaza, or attempts to wring concessions from Abbas in Ramallah, have done a single thing. Israels spy establishment which surveils Gaza incessantly hasn’t found a trace of him.
The issue around Shalit of course, is that he captures (not a great word) all the personalized hopes and anxieties of many Israelis and Diaspora Jews–he is not Corporal Shalit, but dear Gilad, someone’s innocent son, someone’s mate, brother, boyfriend. The same could happen to your nearest and dearest.His parents have been engaged in a massive publicity campaign that emotionally hits Israelis, a campaign that diverts from the prime cause of this problem: the losing strategy and tactics in the campaign against Hamas and Palestinians by Israel. And the more screaming their is about Shalit, the more emotional capital Hamas has to play with.
However, to non-Israelis and non-Jews, it must seem quite bizarre that the fate of one soldier seems to have Israel in hysteria, and the solidarity campaign is being whipped up abroad even in Australia. They must find it extraordinarily hypocritical that Israel is so concerned about the fate of one of its own–a serving soldier–when about 20% of the Palestinian population has been arrested at one time or other for alleged or proven acts of terror or political offenses, and prisoner abuse, including torture has been widespread over the years though it is supposedly now more under control. Like many other aspects of the conflict, the widespread detention of Palestinians remains part of the dirty non-democratic underside of Israeli life, and is justified as part of need for national security, without asking if in fact, Israel’s politics and actions make like less secure.
Thus, it’s very hard to speak of Shalit as ‘just’ a prisoner, when he has become a figurehead for a manipulable national anxiety that masks the political incompetence of the Netanyahu government, including entering into real negotiations with Hamas or the release of prisoners like Marwan Bargouti (condemned to jail for supporting terror attacks), who is recognized as a significant leader by Palestinians. Of course, Bargouti’s name is on that list of people whom Hamas wants released, though many others are women and children (and the detention of children is as well a matter of international interest). If Netanyahu wants Gilad, he gets a new opponent in Bargouti.
More information:
http://www.avnery-news.co.il/english/index.html
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/steinitz-shalit-s-fate-cannot-be-decided-by-demonstrators-1.298371
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marwan_Barghouti
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilad_Shalit

freegilad.gifGilad Shalit’s treatment by Hamas since his capture on June 25 2006 as a non-declared prisoner of war without rights of visitation–a hostage–is appalling, and should be condemned and the man set free. It’s a bit like Hamas’ version of Gitmo without any visits and assurances of his well-being. Thus his treatment has been condemned internationally and even the Goldstone Report (yes, the Goldstone report which is otherwise anthematized) said so as well. His cause has become a rallying cry among Jewish communities around the world. He should of course, be unconditionally released, as should many innocent Palestinians for whom incarceration becomes a school for hatred for Israel.
But the non-resolution of Shalit’s case is not just due to Hamas’ demands for a prisoner release of their people. All along he has been the victim of bumbling Israeli governments which have increasingly found that neither invasions or blockades in Gaza, or attempts to wring concessions from Abbas in Ramallah, have done a single thing. Israels spy establishment which surveils Gaza incessantly hasn’t found a trace of him.
The issue around Shalit of course, is that he captures (not a great word) all the personalized hopes and anxieties of many Israelis and Diaspora Jews–he is not Corporal Shalit, but dear Gilad, someone’s innocent son, someone’s mate, brother, boyfriend. The same could happen to your nearest and dearest.His parents have been engaged in a massive publicity campaign that emotionally hits Israelis, a campaign that diverts from the prime cause of this problem: the losing strategy and tactics in the campaign against Hamas and Palestinians by Israel. And the more screaming their is about Shalit, the more emotional capital Hamas has to play with.
However, to non-Israelis and non-Jews, it must seem quite bizarre that the fate of one soldier seems to have Israel in hysteria, and the solidarity campaign is being whipped up abroad even in Australia. They must find it extraordinarily hypocritical that Israel is so concerned about the fate of one of its own–a serving soldier–when about 20% of the Palestinian population has been arrested at one time or other for alleged or proven acts of terror or political offenses, and prisoner abuse, including torture has been widespread over the years though it is supposedly now more under control. Like many other aspects of the conflict, the widespread detention of Palestinians remains part of the dirty non-democratic underside of Israeli life, and is justified as part of need for national security, without asking if in fact, Israel’s politics and actions make like less secure.
Thus, it’s very hard to speak of Shalit as ‘just’ a prisoner, when he has become a figurehead for a manipulable national anxiety that masks the political incompetence of the Netanyahu government, including entering into real negotiations with Hamas or the release of prisoners like Marwan Bargouti (condemned to jail for supporting terror attacks), who is recognized as a significant leader by Palestinians. Of course, Bargouti’s name is on that list of people whom Hamas wants released, though many others are women and children (and the detention of children is as well a matter of international interest). If Netanyahu wants Gilad, he gets a new opponent in Bargouti.
More information:
http://www.avnery-news.co.il/english/index.html
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/steinitz-shalit-s-fate-cannot-be-decided-by-demonstrators-1.298371
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marwan_Barghouti
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilad_Shalit