There are many things international human rights officials might choose to say about the Gilad Shalit-for-terrorist swap hours after it took place.
The last thing you might think you’d hear them voice first is concern about the violation of human rights of Palestinian prisoners being freed before serving out their sentences.
Reuters reports from Geneva:
The United Nations voiced concern on Tuesday that some of the Palestinian detainees released in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit may have not have been given a choice on where to go and said this could constitute an illegal forced transfer.
The office of Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, welcomed Tuesday's release but cited reports that some of the Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank may be freed only to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip or abroad.
Under international humanitarian law, it is illegal to forcibly transfer war detainees or deport them to another country against their will.
Shalit, who spent one fifth of his life in the hands of Gaza kidnappers, was exchanged for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, including those responsible for some of the most brutal attacks against Israeli men, women and children. As part of the terms that Hamas and Israel agreed to, those responsible for the worst crimes (about 200) will be exiled to Gaza, Egypt, Turkey, Qatar or Syria, instead of back to their West Bank homes, the Israeli consideration being create as much distance between them and the Jewish state. The UN Human Rights Commissioner’s spokesman, Rupert Colville added:
"If in some cases this has been without the free and informed consent of the concerned individuals, this may constitute forced transfer or deportation under international law," he added. "We are not sure to what extent they consented to this."
Not to be outdone, the International Committee of the Red Cross also piped in its moral support for convicted terrorists. After the ICRC interviewed the first 477 prisoners released Tuesday, its spokesman Marcal Izard told Reuters:
"Returning people to places other than their habitual places of residence is in contradiction to international humanitarian law. Choosing between staying in detention or being released to a place other than the detainee's habitual place of residence cannot be considered as a genuine expression of free will."
Some of those deported were serving multiple life sentences, raising the question what their “habitual place of residence” could be defined as considering they were sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also seems sympathetic to their so-called plight, telling Reuters:
"The United Nations has been calling for (an end to) the unacceptable detention of Gilad Shalit and also the release of all Palestinians whose human rights have been abused all the time."
Concerns diplomats Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon and the Red Cross spokesman chose not to raise:
- That Gilad Shalit was snatched from sovereign Israeli territory and smuggled to Gaza.
- Shalit’s father Noam said Tuesday his son was still suffering from untreated shrapnel wounds sustained when he was abducted five years ago.
- Doctors said he was suffering from lack of exposure to the sun after being held in what his father called a pit or a cellar. He was left literally and figuratively in the dark. Why didn’t his kidnappers give him the glasses sent via mediators by his parents? See him moments after his release without glasses:
Once in Israel, with new glasses prepared for him before he arrived:
Why weren’t the international officials concerned about a masked terrorist hovering behind Shalit during the insensitive interview with Egyptian TV sprung on him moments after his transfer from Gaza before he even phoned his family?
Israel reserved the exile option for those with the most “blood on their hands.” Why no concern about the victims of the terror the freed prisoners perpetrated? Those benefitting from the UN and ICRC’s expression of concern include deportees:
- Nasser Iteima who was behind the 2002 bombing of a Passover seder at a Netanya hotel that killed 30 people and wounded 140.
- Walid Anjes who orchestrated a bombing at the Moment Cafe in Jerusalem that killed 11 people and maimed dozens also in 2002.
- Ahlam Tamimi, a woman who in 2001 drove a suicide bomber to the Sbarro pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem where he killed himself along with 15 men, women and children, including 15-year-old Malki Roth.
Asked if she felt remorse, Tamimi said, "No, absolutely not. Why? For what?” Here’s the clip from a documentary that interviewed her and other convicted terrorists. Tamimi’s interview begins at 5:30. (Note: not all in the film are being released in the Shalit deal):
Another deportee is Abd al-Aziz Salaha, who with his bare hands and the help of others murdered two IDF soldiers who mistakenly drove into Ramallah in 2001. Salaha was caught on camera holding out his blood-soaked hands to a cheering Palestinian crowd.
Those being exiled are not only some of the most vicious terrorists, their depravity is enhanced by the mere fact they wouldn’t blow themselves up but built the bombs and drove the suicide bombers to their targets.
The House Foreign Relations Committee last week approved a bill threatening to cut off some UN funding due to policies that don’t promote American values. For the UN - whose Human Rights Council has included Cuba, Libya, and Saudi Arabia - and sponsors the Israel-bashing Durban conferences, it appears campaigning against so-called injustices perpetrated against brutal killers of civilians is just another day’s work.