For 1,195 days Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit has been held in captivity by Hamas terrorists.
For 1,195 days, his exact whereabouts have remained unknown.
For 1,195 days the only “sign of life” his tortured family has received has been three letters and a very poorly recorded audio tape.
For 1,195 days the family has agonised over his condition, his well-being and his state of mind.
For 1,195 days, Hamas has continued this charade, grossly celebrating his capture in ways a civilised society could not even fathom. The latest is in the form of cartoons and animations showing that kidnapping Israel soldiers is the key to releasing prisoners (see more).
Hamas has set the “price” for the return of Gilad at over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners that are currently in Israeli jails, most of them serving jail terms for their role in terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Despite the heavy price tag and the implications of releasing people with blood on their hands, Israel has been prepared to do it. This says a lot about the value that the Israelis place on one life, but it also says a lot about how much Hamas values the life of Palestinians.
This is not to mention the difference between Gilad Schalit and the Palestinian prisoners serving time in Israeli jails. These prisoners are responsible for crimes such as murder, attempted murder and planning attacks, among other things. They stood a fair trial and are their families know their whereabouts, their condition and have visitation rights. Gilad, on the other hand, was abducted from Israeli soil, committed no crime, and is now being denied even the most basic human rights. For an interesting article on the cost of human life and the price Israel is willing to pay, click here.
The Israeli press is now reporting that Gilad’s family was to receive the most convincing sign of life yet – a video tape of Gilad taken about two months ago. The deal, brokered by German and Egyptian mediators, would see the Schalit family receive the one-minute video tape in exchange for the release of 20 female Palestinian prisoners (see more). Apparently, Hamas will also pass on to Gilad a Book of Psalms (see more). The tape was expected to be sent to Israel and Gilad’s family last night, and then a decision would be made as to whether the film would be made public as early today. According to sources, the tape shows Gilad in good health with no sign of wounds (see more).
John Lyons, the Middle East Correspondent for the Australian, has reported on this in an article entitled ‘Schalit one step closer to home’.
Unsurprisingly, the story did not make The Age, where stories about Gilad’s plight over the last three years have been conspicuously absent.
Here in Australia, we have followed Gilad’s plight along with Israel and have experienced the devastating lows every time we thought a deal might go through for his release, only for it to fall-through. We have and will continue to hope that Gilad will be returned to his family safely and quickly.
… The recent positive steps regarding Gilad have been seen a few days after an outstanding gesture from the NSW Parliament in unanimously expressing its support for Gilad Schalit. As noted in J Wire, Chris Hartcher, the Liberal member for Terrigal in the NSW State Parliament, condemned Hamas for the treatment of Gilad Schalit, an Israeli soldier held captive by Hamas for more than three years. He moved that the house (1) notes with concern that Gilad Schalit has been held in isolated captivity by Hamas since 25 June 2006; (2) condemns Hamas for its inhumane treatment of Gilad Schalit and calls upon it to immediately allow Red Cross access; and (3) calls upon the Australian Government and all men and women of goodwill to work for the release of Gilad Schalit.
Read the J Wire article for more transcript of the motion from NSW Parliament.
This occurred after an evening for Parliamentarians organised by the NSW State Zionist Council that included a viewing of the recent movie “The Case for Israel”. Congratulations.
And for those of you who haven’t seen this excellent movie, here is a link to some clips.