Noam Shalit is wrong

07/08/08

By Khalid Amayreh

In a brief article published on the front-page of the East
Jerusalem-based Arabic daily, al Quds, 5 August, Noam
Shalit claimed that Israel’s criminal blockade of the Gaza
Strip was primarily imputed to the capture by Palestinian
resistance fighters of his son, Israeli occupation army
soldier Gilaad Shalit, more than two years ago.

Shalit also claimed that his son’s “captivity” is one of
the main reasons why Israel can’t release thousands of
Palestinian political and resistance prisoners languishing
in Israeli detention camps.

Well, I think that Shalit, a French citizen who had
immigrated to occupied Palestine to arrogate land and
property that belong to another people, is insulting
people’s intelligence.

He should realize that indulging in prevarication, lies and
half truths can’t be an authentic substitute for an honest
approach to his son’s “plight” which is really very
negligible when compared to the enduring nightmare of more
than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners imprisoned in Israel.

In fact, Shalit’s condescending approach to Palestinian
prisoners epitomizes the overall Zionist perception of
non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular, namely
that they are lesser people, with lesser rights, including
the right to life.

In truth, there is a weak linkage between the criminal
blockade of Gaza and the Shalit affair.

After all, Israel has been murdering, tormenting, starving
and blockading Palestinians for ages. There are tens of
thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank who are barred
from traveling or seeking work.

This has nothing to do with the Shalit affair, but has
everything to do with Israel’s strategic goal of
annihilating the Palestinians as a people and seizing what
has remained of their homeland.

Indeed, claiming that the capture by Palestinian fighters
of an Israeli occupation soldier, who may well have a lot
of innocent blood on his hands, is the reason for Israel’s
Nazi-like policies in the West Bank and Gaza, is a flagrant
expression of ignorance or malicious mendacity.

Are we to believe that the cold-blooded murder of Ahmad
Mousa in Nilin a few days ago was motivated by the
imprisonment of Gila’ad Shalit? Are we to believe that the
systematic demolition of Arab homes in East Jerusalem is
attributed to the Shalit affair? Is the Gestapo-like reign
of terror by Jewish settlers against innocent Palestinian
shepherds and peasants in various parts of the West Bank
connected with the same issue?

More to the point, it is also absolutely untrue that Israel
would have been more willing to release Palestinian
prisoners had it not been for the Shalit affair. In fact,
only fools and ignoramuses would give Israel the benefit of
the doubt in this regard. Israel was holding many thousands
of Palestinians, many without charge or trial, long before
the “abduction” of Shalit.

The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat did everything he
could, often obsequiously, to gain the release of
Palestinian prisoners from Israeli dungeons, but to no
avail.

He revoked the Palestinian National Charter, he imprisoned
and tortured opponents of the Oslo Accords to please and
appease Israel, he built a casino in Jericho to accommodate
Israeli gamblers, he even traveled to Tel Aviv to kiss the
head of Lea Rabin, the woman whose husband ordered the
Israeli army to break the bones of Palestinian children
during the first Intifada, the man who didn’t hesitate to
reveal his wish to see Gaza, with its 1.5 million people,
drown in the Mediterranean.

The same thing occurred with regard to Jordanian prisoners
who are still languishing in Israeli jails despite the
signing of the peace treaty and the exemplary relations
between Israel and the Hashemite kingdom.

And how about Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen’s
supplications for the release of Fatah and other prisoners,
some of whom, like Said al Ataba and Abu Ali Yatta, have
been in Israeli jails for more than three decades?

Have all his begging and pleading succeeded in getting
Israel to release those prisoners?

Yes, Israel does occasionally release some prisoners to
help prop up Abu Mazen’s public standing. However, we all
know that most of the prisoners released in the context of
these “gestures of good will” are people whose jail terms
have already expired or about to expire.

Besides, it is well known that in return for each
Palestinian released, the Israeli Shin Beth (the chief
domestic security agency) rounds at least five
Palestinians.

This consistently arrogant Israeli behavior toward
Palestinian prisoners, which is contrasted by a
scandalously liberal approach toward Israeli terrorists and
criminals, has convinced millions of Palestinians, Arabs
and Muslims that the only way of getting their sons,
daughters and beloved ones released from the Israeli hell
is Hezbullah’s and Hamas’s way. Israel has only itself to
blame.

In his article, Shalit also claims that the often
open-ended imprisonment of Palestinian activists in Israeli
jails is an inevitable outcome of previous
Israeli-Palestinian wars! What wars is he talking about?
The Palestinian people have been on the receiving end of
Israeli barbarianism, savagery and ethnic cleansing for
ages. The Palestinians never waged war on Israel? The
Palestinians are victims of Israeli Nazism. How can a
people who are surviving by dying on a daily basis at the
hands of Zionism’s indifferent hands wage war on a country
that possesses hundreds of nuclear weapons and is in tight
control of American politics and policies? How can the
victims of barbaric aggression and ethnic cleansing be
initiators of war?

Finally, Shalit claims that the closure by Israel of the
Rafah border crossing is related to his son’s affair.

This is not true. We all know that Israel kept the Rafah
crossing and other border crossings closed, nearly
completely, long before the capture of his son.

Interestingly, Shalit argued that it was his son’s
captivity that was holding thousands of Palestinian
civilians hostage, people who he said were “uninvolved” and
suffering from abject poverty and acute shortage of basic
consumer goods.

Well, thank you Mr. Shalit for recognizing the innocence of
your state’s victims. Thank you for admitting, though
indirectly and probably inadvertently, that Israel is a
terrorist state that murders, starves and torments innocent
civilians for political reasons.

But if they are innocent people, and they indeed are, then
why don’t you tell your leaders that blockading, harming
and starving innocent people is wrong and incompatible with
moral and religious ethics? Do Jewish ethics condone
tormenting innocent people who committed no wrong?

One may really sympathize with Noam Shalit especially at
the personal level. However, Mr. Shalit should also try,
even for a brief moment, to put himself in the shoes of the
fathers, mothers and relatives of 10,000 Palestinian
prisoners who, unlike him, don’t enjoy the benefit of a
potent world-wide media machine that has effectively made
his son the most famous prisoner in the entire world.

Isn’t that fair enough?

(end)

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