Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What Gilad Missed

A few days ago, I posted Gilad Shalit 5 Years in Captivity. I mentioned in the post that I shared the presentation with several friends that led Birthright trips. My friend Elissa B, was the first person to use the presentation on a Birthright trip (we lead trips at the same time, she used it before I did), and gave me very encouraging and appreciated feedback.

Elissa happens to also be one of if not the biggest fan of this blog, and in response to my post from earlier in the week, she sent me to the site and video, which I had not yet seen or would have otherwise included in my post.

The video tries to make people realize the magnitude of five years. While I think that some of the things the video points out that Gilad missed are not such big events (Lady Gaga, Royal Wedding, Nintendo Wii, and Brett Farve's career track - although this one has some humor and perspective - he retired three times in 5 years), the reality of 5 years is brought out through the video and is sure to strike a chord with younger, generally more apathetic population. A demographic that needs to be captivated and familiarized with the injustice and horrific treatment Hamas has dealt Gilad Shalit, the Shalit family and Israel as a whole.

Another interesting point I’d like to share while I have the floor and am on the topic relates to a recent condemnation of Hamas by a group of human rights organizations including Amnesty International, human Rights Watch as well as both Israeli and Palestinian. The released statement  condemned Hamas’ illegal treatment of Gilad, for not allowing him to contact his family or be visited by the Red Cross.

While some view this as a huge statement, especially from Palestinian human rights groups, it was terrible to see that the statement did not call for the release of Gilad Shalit – while the organizations want him treated fairly, they did not call for his release. This is a terrible shortcoming. Interestingly, I read an article (I’m sorry I can’t find it), which discussed how Hamas is furious with Palestinian human rights organizations for saying the treatment of Gilad Shalit is inhumane.

In response to Hamas’ continued refusal to abide by international law of prisoner treatment, the Prime Minister announced last week that he was imposing a series of crackdowns on the liberties given to Palestinian prisoners. These include high speed internet access and access to education to receive higher degrees. Just to once again put things in perspective, while Gilad Shalit has been held in isolated captivity for the past five years, a Palestinian could have completed his PhD and would now be afforded the title of doctor upon his release. The injustice is nearly too much to bear.

Thanks again for the link Elissa.

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