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Remembering the Captive On Tisha B’Av

A Jewish man and an African-American woman are both imprisoned, thousands of miles apart, under very disparate conditions. On this national day of mourning, Tisha B’Av, both deserve our attention.
Gilad_Shalit
Noam Shalit, the father of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for more than 1,131 days, is asking that the U.S.’ scheduled aid package of $300 million to Gaza be delivered only after the release of his son. Gilad Shalit was abducted by Hamas in June, 2006. Noam Shalit recently testified before the Goldstone Committee, which is investigating illegal conduct by combatants during Operation Cast Lead on behalf of the United Nations, that Gilad’s abduction was a war crime according to the definitions of the Geneva Convention. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that the elder Shalit also testified the abduction of his son preceded all the other events in the Gaza Strip: “the IDF siege on the territory, the launching of rockets by Palestinian groups, and finally the Israeli offensive – and argued that that action had resulted in the subsequent actions.”

For the more than three years Gilad has been held in captivity, he has not been visited by the Red Cross. No one even knows what has happened to him. And at no point has Hamas been required to release this information as a condition of foreign aid.

Please take a moment to sign this petition, which urges the U.S. to make its upcoming $300 million gift to Gaza dependent upon the release of Gilad Shalit. This petition will be delivered to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Please also share this message with your representatives in Congress. Just cut and paste this note into an email. The entire process takes only a minute or two. (more)

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4 Comments

  1. Charlie H. Ettinson

    7/31/2009 at 12:56 am

    I agree that not only the capture but the circumstances surrounding the captivity of Gilad are war crimes and merit harsh legal sanctions against Hamas. Being as compassionate as I can though, I have to ask if it’s really fair to prevent all aid from reaching Gaza until Gilad is free. What I mean is, if the aid offered by the US covers basic necessities of life then it cannot be fair to prevent many of the ordinary people in Gaza–who may even wish to see Hamas gone–from receiving these staples. If, on the other hand, the aid consists of materials which are greater than basic necessities, then yes, I would agree: release Gilad and face international justice or you do not merit anything other than the barest necessities.
    I cannot imagine the pain Gilad’s friends and family feel. Their pain, however, should not result in more pain amongst ordinary Gazans. If the US aid will really be helping these ordinary people stuck under a Hamas government, then it should go through.
    I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has more information than I do about what this aid is destined for.

  2. LB

    7/31/2009 at 9:10 am

    “I have to ask if it’s really fair to prevent all aid from reaching Gaza until Gilad is free”

    Two things: 1. That has never happened. Aid was never completely kept out. 2. Aid is not just food – and “aid” that is being let in includes fuel and building materials – i.e. the building blocks of Qassams…

    Israel needs to truly disengage – now. Gaza is an enemy territory, and is to be treated as such. Regardless of Schalit – you don’t aid your enemy.

  3. Charlie H. Ettinson

    7/31/2009 at 10:59 pm

    LB, I know aid was never cut off, and I agree, if the things being let into Gaza are bomb making materials, then yes, it needs to be given another hard look.
    In this case, however, it’s the US that is offering aid, not Israel, and Gilad’s father is asking the US not to deliver the aid. From an Israeli perspective, yes, I agree, there’s no obligation to feed your enemy. The US, however, has different interests in the region, and if they want to give food to Gaza, they’ll do it. It’s just when, as you say, the aid can be turned into weapons that a real problem arises.

  4. Trent

    7/31/2009 at 11:06 pm

    Check out this prophecy about the fast: http://bit.ly/TishaBAv

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