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Monday, June 28, 2010

Hamas: "Four years on, we still have Gilad"

Hamas "celebrates" the caputre of Gilad Shalit with a new animation:



A commenter below this video correctly says:
"goody....supporting a war crime".
He received the following reply by the one who published the animation:
"As a non-state actor, Hamas is not obligated under international law to allow representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, a senior ICRC official was quoted as saying on Friday." "Pierre Dorbes, the deputy head of the ICRC's mission in Israel and the occupied territories made this remark in the course of a lengthy interview with Haaretz reporter Amira Hass.""
I do not know where he got this quote from, but I found the original article in Haaretz:

Pierre Dorbes:
"We remind Hamas of its humanitarian obligation to dignified conditions. In order to evaluate this, we suggested a number of times that we visit Shalit. We also suggested that he be allowed to communicate with his family via letters. They refused. Hamas is a non-state party to the conflict. As such, it is not obligated to allow family visits or visits by the Red Cross, but it is obligated to make family ties possible."
If Pierre Dorbes is right, then neither Israel has to treat non-Israeli Arab prisoners as POWs. But is Pierre Dorbes correct when stating that Shalit cannot be entitled to the status of POW?

BtSelem states:
"Regardless of the question of the legality of the seizure or status of the person who is seized, international humanitarian law states that every person is entitled to be treated humanely and in a dignified manner by the opposing side, whatever the circumstances. Prisoners of war are entitled to a variety of other rights, among them to right to receive visits by the ICRC. Given that Shalit is entitled to the status of POW, denial of his right to these visits also constitutes a flagrant breach of international law. Moreover, the refusal to allow visits and cutting Shalit off totally from the outside world raise the grave suspicion that he is being treated improperly, in particular regarding the medical treatment he has, or has not, received for his injury.

For these reasons, the Hamas leadership, as the persons holding actual control of the security apparatuses in the Gaza Strip, has the duty to act order to bring about Shalit's unconditional release immediately. Until his release, the persons holding him must treat him humanely and enable representatives of the ICRC to visit him."
Although it is still unclear to me on which grounds Gilad Shalit is entitled to a POW-status (as Hamas is a non-state party), for sure the way he is being treated now is a war crime:
"seizing a person (civilian or combatant) and holding him forcibly with the objective of pressuring the other side to meet certain demands is absolutely prohibited, and is considered hostage taking. This act is much more grievous when it is accompanied by a threat to kill or injure the hostage if the hostage-takers' demands are not met. Furthermore, breach of the prohibition is deemed a war crime, for which everyone involved in the act bears criminal responsibility. The circumstances in which Shalit was abducted and has been held clearly indicate that he was taken hostage."