Sunday, September 09, 2007

We Won't Let Red Cross Visit Shalit

Al-Mazini said. "We refuse to allow any visit to Shalit, in order to preserve his life and in order to guarantee the success of an exchange of captives AOsama Al-Mazini, the Hamas spokesman for the Gilad Shalit case, says the reports of an upcoming visit by the International Red Cross to the captive soldier are untrue. Al-Mazini explained that the Shalit case is "different than others," and that a Red Cross visit could endanger his life.

"This is a complex security issue," Al-Mazini said. "We refuse to allow any visit to Shalit, in order to preserve his life and in order to guarantee the success of an exchange of captives to bring about the release of the Palestinian prisoners from jail."

How would a Red Cross visit endanger Shalit's life? Al-Mazini explained that if, as a result of the visit, Israel manages to locate the place where Shalit is being held, "Israel is liable to bomb it in order to liquidate Shalit and thus extricate itself from the whole business, just as it did with Nachshon Wachsman."

Wachsman Background
Nachshon Wachsman was a 20-year-old IDF soldier who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists in Oct. 1994, and was murdered a week later by his kidnappers during a military attempt to rescue him. It appeared that the entire country was mobilized on behalf of the abducted soldier; the Wachsman family received 30,000 letters in a matter of days, and 100,000 people attended a prayer service on his behalf at the Western Wall. The man thought to have masterminded the attack, Muhammad Deif, survived several Israeli attempts to kill him - but just barely. In July 2006, he was attending a high-level Hamas meeting in Gaza when Israeli aircraft attacked, leaving Deif with serious spine injuries and costing him his arms and legs, according to some PA sources. A year ago, an Egyptian newspaper reported his arrest by Egypt as he tried to enter the country for health care.

Gilad Shalit has been held, apparently in Gaza, ever since his abduction by a Hamas cell in June 2006. No word was heard from him until two months ago, when the terrorists released a recording of his voice. The terrorists have released no other signs that he is well or even alive.

Israel, On the Other Hand...
In August 2001, a five-judge Israeli Supreme Court panel decided unanimously to allow Red Cross representatives to visit Lebanese terrorists Mustafa Dirani and Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid in Israeli prison. This, despite the government claim that withholding such privileges was an important bargaining chip in the continuing efforts on behalf of several Israelis being held hostage at the time by Hizbullah. The judges ruled, "The State of Israel is a democracy that respects civil rights... Compassion and humanism are rooted in our national character... Human dignity even of our enemy is precious to us."

Talks Mired
Al-Mazini further said that talks for Shalit's release have gone nowhere. Egypt has abandoned its mediation efforts, and Israel is apparently seeking another country to take its place. It is generally believe that Israel has agreed in principle to release at least 1,000 PA prisoners from prison, in three stages, in return for Shalit.

Two other IDF captives, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, have been held by Hizbullah in Lebanon for 14 months. There is no talk of a Red Cross visit to them, and in fact a Lebanese daily reported this summer, quoting German sources, that one of the two is apparently dead. Hizbullah chieftain Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has said that he plans to divulge no hint at all as to the wellbeing or whereabouts of the two captives, unless Israel releases Lebanese terrorists from Israeli prison.

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