Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Filling in gaps

"A humanitarian gesture".

So quotes Reuters' Nidal al-Mughrabi of an Egyptian source involved in the agreement announced today for Hamas to provide a recent video tape of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in exchange for the release of 20 female Palestinian prisoners.

Al-Mughrabi writes:

"Israeli officials said none of the women had been directly involved in killings and none was serving a sentence of longer than two years."

What al-Mughrabi fails to tell us is that two or three of the women have apparently been indirectly involved in the murder of Israelis.

UPDATE: Haaretz is now reporting that the list of prisoners to be released does not include any "with blood on their hands" but the rap sheet is nonetheless, appalling.  

In the second to last paragraph of his story, al-Mughrabi adds:

"Shalit has not been visited by the International Committee of the Red Cross and only a few letters and an audio cassette from him have been sent to his family, which has waged a vocal campaign to get him freed."

Reuters' readers may be left wondering if this was due perhaps, to some dereliction demonstrated by the Red Cross; however, the ICRC explains that Hamas has refused all efforts by the humanitarian group to visit Shalit, to deliver letters from his family and friends, even to ascertain his condition.

The ICRC writes:

In the case of Gilad Shalit, we deplore the fact that political considerations have outweighed humanitarian concerns, and respect for basic humanitarian principles, making it virtually impossible to help him or his family.

A little (otherwise) missing information goes a long way toward facilitating public understanding of the respective values and morality of the parties to this conflict.

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