Monday, June 28, 2010
Marking Four Years Since Hamas Kidnapped Israeli Soldier Gilad Schalit: Sweden Could Not Care Less
In response to the Ship to Gaza incident, Sweden has chosen to take a strong stance against Israel. This can be seen in a variety of ways—right now it’s the “non- political” Swedish Dockworkers Union boycott against Israel. The dockworkers show their support for the Palestinians by supporting Hamas–the same Hamas which flaunts international law by holding Israeli soldier Schalit prisoner and denying him Red Cross visits. (You may also recall that the “humanitarian” Ship to Gaza mission refused to take a small package for Schalit along with the tons of aid for Gaza residents.)
Sweden’s strong support for the “Palestinian cause” in the form of Hamas is often based on what the Swede’s call “humanitarian” arguments. It is common in the Swedish media to find discussions demonizing Israel as a state which (according to them) fails to uphold international human rights. This, even though Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East and the closest one can get to the Swedish ideal rule of law in the region. Palestinian prisoners in Israel have visitors and even the opportunity to earn academic degrees in jail. What is never talked about in the Swedish media is terror group Hamas’ human rights abuses, including the current imprisonment of Schalit.
Gilad Shalit was 19 years old on the day he was kidnapped. In August this year he will turn 23, if he is still alive. Schalit so far has spent 1, 460 days without being able to talk to anyone other than his Hamas captors. If he is still alive, he probably has only the vaguest hopes of ever being delivered from his torturers. If he is still alive, one cannot even imagine the suffering he is going through, essentially in solitary confinement, held captive by an organization which is infamous for violence. If he is still alive….
Nobody knows if he is still alive. One video of Schalit was given to Israel in September of last year, in trade for releasing Palestinian criminals in Israeli prisons, and again, counter to international law. In the video Schalit is holding a newspaper appearing to be up to date, but his condition was definitely not good.
In Israel, the norm is that every 18 year-old young man or woman has to participate in army or national service. As Israelis relate to Schalit as the typical boy next door serving his country, the response to Schalit’s kidnapping has been a public outcry, including demonstrations —just as Hamas intended. Paradoxically, the Israeli human response means that Hamas has accomplished exactly what they wanted; public pressure on the Israeli government, increasing the likelihood of negotiations for Schalit’s release. Negotiation means that Israel would have to release many thousands of Palestinians, many with Israeli children’s blood on their hands.
The psychological warfare conducted by Hamas is war crime. It is obvious that Israel cannot release thousands of prisoners—again, many of whom have Israeli blood on their hands—in order to release one soldier. This only sends the message to Hamas to keep kidnapping soldiers; it’s a productive war strategy for Hamas.
In a situation like this democratic nations which claim to fight for human rights should take a stance against Hamas. In Sweden, which internationally portrays itself as a humanitarian leader this has certainly not happened. Swedish organizations such as the Dockworkers Union instead choose to send money to organizations such as Ship to Gaza which hides behind a humanitarian mask, while allying itself with violent groups such as Hamas and IHH. Keep in mind that Hamas violence is aimed not only against Israelis, but also against many Palestinians—whether they support Fatah, are Christians, or oppose Hamas’ Islamic regime and policies. Most of the blame for humanitarian problems in Gaza can be traced to Hamas’ totalitarian regime, not to Israel.
In Sweden, nobody speaks of kidnapped young Israeli Gilad Schalit or the war crimes committed by Hamas. In the Swedish imagination , extremist Hamas remains the humanitarian victim of Israel—as the Swedish media continues to report a biased and false narrative—but not the true terrorist story.