zondag 22 juni 2008

Ouders Shalit stappen naar Hooggerechtshof over staakt-het-vuren

"To the petitioners' dismay," reads part of the petition, "over the last few days, Israeli and international media outlets have reported that an Egyptian-brokered truce has been agreed to by Israel and Hamas, but the deal does not refer to Shalit or to his release."

Aangezien er geen schriftelijke verklaring is, kan die ook nergens naar verwijzen. Terwijl Hamas beweert dat het staakt-het-vuren losstaat van de onderhandelingen over Shalit, beweert Israël dat is overeengekomen om de onderhandelingen over zijn vrijlating te intensiveren. Onderstaand bericht haalt een krant aan die beweert dat er nog een verschil van mening is over 30 Palestijnse gevangenen.

De ouders van Shalit hebben gelijk dat Israël zich harder had kunnen opstellen, maar dat had ook tot gevolg kunnen hebben dat er geen overeenstemming over een staakt-het-vuren was bereikt, en Sderot en omgeving nog steeds dagelijks met tientallen Qassams en mortiergranaten zou zijn bekogeld, met mogelijk fatale slachtoffers. Wellicht was dan uiteindelijk besloten tot een grote militaire operatie, het alternatief voor een staakt-het-vuren om wat aan de raketaanvallen te doen, en dat had mogelijk tot de dood van Shalit geleid. Israël laat zich in haar handelen al eerder teveel, niet te weinig, door het lot van Shalit leiden, en de ouders van Shalit lijken de vrijlating van hun zoon boven de veiligheid van de burgers van Israël te plaatsen.


Last update - 22:03 21/06/2008

Shalit's parents to petition High Court for clarification on truce

By Tomer Zarchin and Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondents, and Associated Press

The parents of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit will petition the High Court of Justice on Saturday to demand that the government explain why the reopening of Gaza's border crossings is not conditioned upon their son's release.

As part of their petition, the Shalits published a handwritten letter, written by their son, which was delivered to the family two weeks ago by representatives of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

The first petitioner listed is Gilad Shalit, who has since been promoted to the rank of staff sergeant. His parents Aviva and Noam say they view the letter received from him as a "moral power of attorney" to petition the court on his behalf.
The petition, filed against the government of Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minsiter Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, by attorneys Ariel Bendor, Eldad Yaniv and Sharon Stein, requests that the High Court instruct the government to explain why the truce between Israel and Hamas was not conditioned upon Gilad's release or his transfer to Egypt.

The petition also asks why Olmert does not raise the issue for review by the committee for national security.

An Egyptian-mediated truce in Gaza took effect Thursday, halting daily Palestinian rocket attacks against southern Israeli towns and communities and Israeli counterraids and airstrikes against Hamas militants in Gaza.

Since Shalit's abduction in June 2006, his parents have met on multiple occasions with political and security authorities, including six times with Olmert and three with Barak. According to the petition, during these meetings the Shalit family was promised that any cease-fire agreement would include Gilad's release.

Shalit's parents have largely remained quiet the past two years so not to interfere with the ongoing negotiations to free their son. But recently they have become increasingly critical of how the government has handled the affair, giving interviews in which they have lashed out at Olmert and other leaders.

In addition, according to the petition, the elements of the truce were raised during a June 11 ministerial committee meeting and were approved because they unequivocally called Shalit's release an integral part of any deal.

"To the petitioners' dismay," reads part of the petition, "over the last few days, Israeli and international media outlets have reported that an Egyptian-brokered truce has been agreed to by Israel and Hamas, but the deal does not refer to Shalit or to his release."

The court petition also reveals that Shalit had his left arm broken and a shoulder lightly wounded during his abduction.

The petition also raises the concern that now that the truce is in effect, the main leverage - the closure of Gaza's borders - that could bring Hamas to free Shalit has been lost.

"All of Israel's efforts to bring about the release of Ron Arad resulted in nothing, in part because of severe mistakes made by generations of Israeli governments that did not take advantage of what leverage they had in their hands," read the petition's closing remarks.

"It is possible to expect the decision-makers in Israel to internalize past lessons and come to the necessary conclusions. It is not too late in the matter of Gilad Shalit."

London-based newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat earlier on Saturday reported that the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit is being delayed by a dispute over whether to free 30 Hamas prisoners.

The agreement between Israel and Hamas stipulates that 450 Palestinian prisoners will be freed in exchange for Shalit.

The exchange is to happen in phases: First, Shalit will be handed over to Egypt and Israel will release 350 prisoners, after which Shalit will return to Israel, and the final 100 Palestinians will be freed.

The list of prisoners Israel has agreed to release is expected to include women, children, elderly and ill individuals, some of whom are serving sentences for serious crimes.

Last week, a senior political source said that negotiations over Shalit's release are due to resume on Tuesday in Egypt. Ofer Dekel, Israel's chief negotiator for securing the release of abducted soldiers, will travel to Cairo to meet with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.

Palestinian sources also confirmed that intensive negotiations will begin next week to finalize the deal for Shalit's release.

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