Thursday, July 17, 2008

Calling the bluff

Calling the bluff

By David Frankfurter


The tragic close to the abduction of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser brings to our whole nation a deep sense of grief, loss and frustration. It also brings a sense of dismay and foreboding.  How will we now deal with the realities of negotiating with Hamas for the return of Gilad Shalit?   Have we increased the risk and price of further abductions by taking what many perceived as the only possible and moral course of action?


But grief, dismay and foreboding will not bring Gilad home, nor prevent further abductions.    Is there a solution?


Palestinian treatment of our prisoners and their attacks on civilians launched from civilian neighbourhoods constitute severe breaches of the Geneva Conventions and are clear war crimes. And yet our enemies constantly distort the language and terms of human rights and international law to demonize Israel.    It is time to call the Palestinian bluff. 


Israel should declare that - after years of this demonization and years of our enemies playing with our emotions over Ron Arad, Eldad Regev, Ehud Goldwasser, Gilad Shalit, Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz, Tvi Feldman and Guy Hever – it is acting against the Palestinian breaches of international law.


With no further notice, all Palestinian security prisoners should be denied all access by third parties – International Committee of the Red Cross, journalists, families – anyone.  Once a prisoner is taken, his whereabouts, condition, status or even the fact of his confinement will not be confirmed or denied.  Access to judicial process will be granted, but only to the point that arrest and confinement is proven legal, and to the extent that legal counsel accepts these new rules, and agrees not to leak any information except as necessary to conduct a proper defence. All other contact with the outside world, stipends from foreign governments or the Palestinian Authority, cash, gifts, letters from any source will be forbidden.  All opportunities for study, or any other form of advancement or entertainment will be prevented.  These people will be held prisoner under the same conditions as our boys.  As soon as the fate of our missing soldiers is satisfactorily resolved; as soon as those still alive are treated according to international conventions;  as soon as the Palestinians cease their war crimes, we will return to the natural compliance with those rules that we believe in and have complied with for the last 60 years.


Illegal?  No doubt there will be immediate appeals to the High Court.  No doubt there will be international pressure. The Government must not falter.  It must immediately prepare the necessary emergency legislation to allow this track.  It must filibuster and delay until it can be achieved. 


We must let the world know that we are no longer prepared to be victims of its double standards.





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