Gilad Shalit is to be released after five long years of captivity following a deal with Hamas. Under the agreement, 1027 Palestinian prisoners will be released. Gilad Shalit is expected to return to Israel in about a week.
Professor Gerald M. Steinberg, president of human rights watchdog NGO Monitor, noted that the prisoner exchange further exposes the moral bankruptcy of international human rights mechanisms.
“Throughout the five years of Shalit’s captivity in Gaza, during which every human rights obligation was blatantly violated, organizations such as the UN Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), Gisha, and the International Red Cross demonstrated very little interest,” Steinberg stated. “Similarly, the report of the UN Fact-Finding Commission on the Gaza War, headed by Judge Richard Goldstone, downplayed Shalit’s captivity in blatant violation of international law. This moral stain will never be erased.”
In addition, NGO Monitor noted that the agreement to release hundreds of terrorists, responsible for heinous crimes, and tried and convicted according to due process of law, highlights the continued erosion of international legal principles. Instead of serving their time for these convictions, the murderers have been freed under extreme duress and compulsion, adding to the incentives for similar actions in the future. Organizations dedicated to human rights have an obligation to condemn such immoral extortion.