Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gilad, On his Way Home at Last!

October 15, 2011
I have a lot to say about the recent Hamas-Israeli agreement bringing the exchange of over 1000 Palestinian prisoners for one Israeli, Gilad Shalit.  However, I will wait until after Shalit arrives home, which will hopefully happen this Tuesday.  Over the last five years the seemingly quiet and soft spoken soldier, was subjected to the one of the worse types of psychological (and perhaps physical) torture. During the years he was held captive, a whole country held their breath and dreamed for the day when he would be released.  Like many Israeli Jews and Druze, Shalit was swept away to the army at 18, only to fall hostage a year later to the Palestinian Islamist Organization, Hamas, who infiltrated the border and kidnapped him. The pain for the family and friends would have been enough merely had he been held as a prisoner of war; however, the psychological torment of never allowing them or even the proper international organizations to visit him, managed to capture not only the Israeli population, but also many international leaders.  The only signs of life his family has seen was one letter and then over two years ago a tape was released with a message from Gilad.   
Marking his fifth year in captivity, Amnesty International and other human rights groups issued the following statement early this year concerning Gilad:
Hamas must immediately end inhumane and illegal treatment of Gilad Shalit
Staff Sergeant Gilad Shalit has been in captivity for five years. Those holding him have refused to allow him to communicate with his family, nor have they provided information on his well-being and the conditions in which he is being held. The organizations stress that this conduct is inhumane and a violation of international humanitarian law. Hamas authorities in Gaza must immediately end the cruel and inhuman treatment of Gilad Shalit. Until he is released, they must enable him to communicate with his family and should grant him access to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
As I mentioned above, once Shalit has returned home I will write on the topic. Over the last three years I have had my blog I worked to keep his name on the agenda and can honestly say that his release will truly be a great day for many of us who never stopped hoping.  What a relief that the next time I will write about Gilad, he will be free, and I will then have the chance to comment on what this means in the greater scheme of things in the Middle East; and, I have much to say.  However, for now, I will hold my breath for a little longer and wait for the twenty-five year old to return home. His parents, Noam and Aviva also proved living examples of the true meaning of parenthood. They never gave into the pressures, camped out almost two years next to the Prime Minister’s house, literally campaigning for their son’s release everyday he was gone for over five whole years. My heart goes to them. 
Gilad, we are waiting for you and wish you only the best! This will certainly be a festive day (yom hag)!

1 comment:

  1. I think it's great that Gilad is coming home. I just don't understand why so much of what you had to say was directed at Hamas mistreating Mr. Shalit. There isn't anyone out there who knows of whether or not Gilad was mistreated. Hamas had to prevent people from entering to see him, it would be naive to think that Israel wouldn't have obtained information on his whereabouts had Amnesty International or any other NGO visited him. And it will be clear soon whether or not he was treated well. which I believe he was, or Hamas would not be releasing video to prove that point. It was also no secret that Israel preferred a military rescue operation, which they desperately wanted after the second Lebanon War debacle. It's also important to mention that Gilad was captured during a military operation which was launched by Hamas after an air assault by Israel which violated a truce that was in effect. It was Israel's wrecklessness that led to this whole situation. And in the end it was a complete failure for them. It's amazing sometimes how things come full circle. I just feel bad for the life that Gilad faces when he arrives. He will be looked down upon by all those who opposed his release and will have to deal withc the division in Israeli society this situation has caused. All with no fault of his own. If Israel really cared about its people they would end the conflict. As it has always been the ball remains in their court to end the crisis. I am happy, however, that Palestinian prisoners are returning home to their families. While I object to some of the crimes, nothing compares to the miserable life Palestinians live under the occupation and nothing will ever make up for all the suffering we have endured for far too long.