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Monday, June 27, 2011

PCHR attacked by Arab media for "supporting Shalit"

Palestine Times and other media has been slamming the Palestinian Center for Human Rights for supposedly demanding that Gilad Shalit be released from prison.

The Minister of Prisoners in the Gaza Strip called on Gazans to protest outside PCHR's headquarters for their position.

PCHR, which never published the letter they did sign on their website, responded to the accusations on their website:
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) denounces the media assault by some local media, which claim that PCHR demanded the release of the Israeli soldier who is held by Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza.

On Monday morning, 27 June 2011, a number of local websites published a news item entitled “The Palestinian Center for Human Rights Demands Releasing Shalit.” In the article they claimed that a Palestinian human rights organization joined Zionist human rights organizations in their demand to release the Zionist solider, Gilad Shait, with total disregard both for the suffering of Palestinian prisoners and war crimes committed by the ]Israeli[ occupation against them.”

This assault followed PCHR’s signature on a joint statement by international and Israeli human rights organizations on 24 June 2011. The statement demanded that the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shait, who has been held by Palestinian resistance groups for five years, be treated as a prisoner of war according to international law.

PCHR strongly denounces this media campaign, and emphasizes the following:

1. What has been published in the media is an explicit and intentional fallacy, whose purpose is to defame PCHR and its status.
2. The above statement does not demand the release of Shalit, but it stresses that Shalit has the right to be visited by the International Committee of the Red Cross, and to be treated humanely according to international standards.
3. These minimum rights of any prisoner are also owed to at least eight thousand Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails. PCHR has struggled in their defense, fought for their release, and advocated for their cause and their families’ fundamental rights.
4. PCHR has shown its credibility and courage in showing that our positions are based on international law and based on the principle that human rights are indivisible. PCHR will hold, in and from the Gaza Strip, the identical position to those it holds at the international level.
5. PCHR has always emphasized that Shalit was captured on his tank inside the Gaza Strip during an armed clash with Palestinian resistance activists, who practiced their legitimate right to resist the occupation. However, this does not deny the necessity to treat him, and all Palestinian resistance activists, humanely.
6. PCHR stresses that the cause of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails has been a strategic issue in PCHR’s work for more than 20 years, and that PCHR is the sole organization that has filed an international claim against Avi Dichter, former head of the Israeli Internal Security Service, for torture crimes against Palestinian prisoners.
7. PCHR asserts that if it has joined such statement with Israeli human rights organizations, with which PCHR has worked for several years, and which have fully supported Palestinian human rights against the occupation and against Israeli practices against Palestinian prisoners, including cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and have supported the establishment of a Palestinian state, PCHR does not see any problem in signing with these organizations a statement related to the sole Israeli prisoner or war.
8. PCHR’s history emphasizes that its fundamental positions are firm and deep, and PCHR has never compromised the standards it believes in and works for.
9. There are at least 8,000 Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails, whose cause has been and will always be a strategic issue in PCHR’s work.
10. The suffering of the captured soldier’s mother is the same of thousands of Palestinian mothers who wish freedom for their sons.
There are a number of lies and misdirections in the PCHR response.

First of all, it wasn't the media that started this campaign against them, but a Hamas minister. Apparently their courage does not extend to mentioning that.

Secondly, their lack of mentioning the letter until this happened shows that they were not interested in publicizing their "principled" position on Shalit (whose name they misspell twice.)

Thirdly, there are about 5300 prisoners in Israeli jails, not "over 8000."

Finally, the biggest lie is that Shalit should be treated as a prisoner of war. He was not abducted in Gaza but in Israel, and the terrorists had built a tunnel into Israel just for this purpose. PCHR's purposeful lie about the circumstances of Shalit's abduction is proof positive that it is not really interested in the truth or human rights, but instead is pretending to have a consistent attitude towards human rights - by lying.

The only principled position to take is for Hamas to immediately release Shalit, without preconditions, because he was kidnapped and taken hostage, a clear violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions.

PCHR will never take that position because its interests in "human rights" is a sham, and always has been.