June 25 marks four years since Hamas terrorists captured Israeli then-corporal Gilad Shalit in an unprovoked cross border raid. He has been held captive ever since. Two other soldiers were killed in the 2006 attack. Though Shalit (promoted to staff sergeant during his captivity) was wounded, Hamas has denied him medical care and visits from humanitarian groups, an unacceptable violation of the Geneva Convention.
B’nai B’rith International is astonished that an incident such as the Gaza flotilla last month has garnered such international condemnation against Israel, while Shalit’s mistreatment at the hands of terrorists receives scant attention. Shalit’s family approached the Gaza flotilla leaders with a letter and small package to deliver to him. The flotilla, on a supposed humanitarian mission, refused. Delivering such items to the kidnapped soldier would have been in keeping with what was supposedly a humanitarian mission.
“The treatment of Gilad Shalit is an unacceptable affront to international laws and moral convention,” B’nai B’rith President Dennis W. Glick said. “Kidnapped at 19, Shalit is being used by Hamas as a symbol and a pawn. His treatment is an affront to basic human rights.”
It is beyond unfortunate, and a prime example of bias against Israel, that the international community has remained largely silent on the Shalit kidnapping.
The limited proof Hamas has provided about Shalit’s condition includes a video of him released in October 2009—the first time he has been seen since he was captured.
“Four years of captivity with no humanitarian visits—that’s beneath contempt,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Such treatment should cast a harsh light on Hamas terrorists. To kidnap and hold an Israeli soldier all these years, not even allowing any international medical personnel to check on his health, is contemptible.”
B’nai B’rith commends public efforts over the years to call attention to Shalit’s situation. The cities of Miami, New Orleans, Paris, and Rome have each made Shalit an honorary citizen.