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A Story of Betrayal

By       Message Uri Avnery     Permalink
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TODAY IS the 1196th day in captivity for the soldier Gilad Shalit.

A prisoner of war must not be left in captivity. A wounded soldier must not be left in the field. The state signs an unwritten contract with every person who joins the army, and most definitely with everyone who serves in a combat unit.

The behavior of the Israeli governments in these 1196 days, of the politicians and the generals who are responsible for this outrage, is a violation of this contract, a betrayal of trust. In short: an infamy. It enrages and infuriates every decent person, and not only combat soldiers.

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THE BETRAYAL is already in the terminology used. In the words of the Book of Proverbs (18:21): "Death and life are in the power of the tongue."

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A soldier captured by the enemy in a military action is a prisoner of war -- in every language, in every country.

Gilad Shalit was captured in a military action. He was an armed soldier in uniform. In this context, it does not matter whether the action itself was legal or illegal, and whether the captors were regular soldiers or guerrillas.

Gilad Shalit is a prisoner of war.

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THE DENIAL started at the first moment. The Israeli government refused to call the capture by its proper name and insisted that it was an "abduction" or even "kidnapping."

The disciplined Israeli media, marching behind the generals in lockstep like the Prussian guard, joined the chorus. Not a single newspaper, not a single radio or TV announcer ever spoke about the "prisoner of war". All of them, almost without exception, from the first day on, spoke about the "abducted" or "kidnapped" soldier.

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Uri Avnery is a longtime Israeli peace activist. Since 1948 has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yassir Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He served three terms in the (more...)
 

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