Humanitarian Aid Urgently Required in Gaza

On June 25th, 2006, four years ago today, a gang of Palestinian terrorists (mostly Hamas) from Gaza, crossed the border into Israel and ambushed an Israeli patrol on Israeli soil, near the border crossing of Kerem Shalom, killing two IDF soldiers and wounding three more. In addition, they kidnapped a sixth soldier, 19-year-old Gilad Shalit, who was apparently wounded himself in the attack. Since that day, four years ago, Gilad has been held for ransom by Hamas, who are demanding, as the price for his return, the release of all female and juvenile terrorist prisoners plus a further 1000 convicted terrorists, including 450 "hard-core" prisoners (i.e. "with blood on their hands", in Israeli jargon). Meanwhile, Gilad has been held incommunicado, denied Red Cross visits, denied any communication with his family, including letters – in short, his treatment by the Hamas terrorist government of Gaza is in total violation of international law and may be defined as a war crime. Even Richard Goldstone, author of the infamous anti- Israel Goldstone Report, called for Gilad’s release. Governments and citizens all around the world have added their support to the campaign for the redemption of a young man, who is, to put it bluntly, being held hostage by a gang of cut-throat murderers. Just for the sake of comparison, the prisoners whose release Hamas is demanding have all been convicted of terrorist acts, after a fair trial, during which they had the benefit of legal counsel. They enjoy Red Cross visits, family visits, regular meetings with legal counsel, they also enjoy all the privileges enjoyed by ordinary criminals in Israeli gaols, such as satellite television, books, conjugal visits and the right to study for external degrees at Israeli universities – all this, I might add,  at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer!
Meanwhile, Gilad is being used by the Hamas terrorists as a pawn in a particularly cruel game of psychological warfare – such as when they released a cartoon video portraying him crying like a baby and begging for his freedom.
Such is the nature of Hamas, the "democratically elected government" of Gaza. Israel is accused of using collective punishment to force the Palestinians of Gaza to throw out the government of their choice. But a government – certainly one that is "democratically elected" – represents the people. Nobody thought it wrong to bomb Germany in World War Two, or necessary to separate the actions of her "democratically elected government" from the wishes (real or supposed) of the German people. And what about the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, during the Kosovo crisis? Did we hear any protests based on the claim that the Serbian people were being collectively punished for electing a government unpopular with the West? The people of Gaza made a choice and they chose Hamas. That says something about the moral values of the people of Gaza. These are the people who danced and sang in the streets following the mass murder of 9/11. And, by the way, there is something to be learned here about the Axis of Evil and the Arab way of waging war. In the wake of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Syria also refused to allow Red Cross visits to captured Israeli pilots, refused even to release the names of the captives. And Syria is hand in glove, now, with Hamas’s patron, Iran. The Geneva Conventions and the commonly accepted rules of war exist, in the minds of these people, only insofar as they can be used against Israel. Yet Israel, as we have seen, gives convicted terrorists even more rights than they would have under the Geneva Conventions, whereas Hamas tramples underfoot the most basic precepts of common decency.

Humanitarian aid is, indeed, urgently required in Gaza.
It is required by one young man, not yet 24 years old, who has been illegally held, in solitary confinement, for four years.
His name is Gilad Shalit.


About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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