The Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit will be released after a long captivity. One can only rejoice for him, his family, his loved ones. And forget, for a moment, that he is a member of an occupying army. And that no-one seems to care about the fact that European-Israeli dual nationals are serving in the Occupied Territories, in violation of international law. When will the EU decide that such acts are punishable by the courts?
According to an AFP report, Nicolas Sarkozy "warmly welcomes the announcement of an agreement that should lead to the release of Gilad Shalit," and has congratulated Netanyahu for "major success". We can be sure that Bernard-Henri Lévy will do the same.
In return, if you will, 1027 Palestinians (including 27 women) will be released. Who are they? How do their families feel ? You know nothing of this, or at least next to nothing, from reading the Western press. They are a faceless mass, a subgroup of the 6,000 Palestinians still held in Israeli jails, of whom 22 are members of Parliament, and 280 are children (34 of them less than 15 years old) – see here how Israel finds guilty all the children it arrests. Some are "administrative prisoners”, that is to say, imprisoned without trial. Others have passed through the Israeli justice system, which - according to all international reports - is far from just, often mistreats detainees, and convicts them on the basis of weak or non-existent evidence. Dozens of them are now on hunger strike. Do they have no family? No relatives? No, they are just a number. They are Arabs, colonized and faceless.
Will Nicolas Sarkozy make as much effort to secure the release of French-Palestinian Salah Hamouri? Or Marwan Barghouti, whose only crime is to be a Palestinian nationalist?
- Gilad Shalit And 1,027 Other People, by Alain Gresh; Nouvelles d'Orient, 12 Oct 2011. (Translation mine).