Gilad Schalit in video 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
Ahead of the fifth anniversary of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit's kidnapping
at the hands of Hamas terrorists, 12 human rights organizations called
for an immediate end to Hamas's "inhumane and illegal treatment" of the
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Slamming the lack of communication Schalit has with his
family or information about his well-being and conditions, the groups
stressed that Hamas's conduct is "inhumane and a violation of
international humanitarian law," and demanded that the International
Committee of Red Cross be granted access to the captive soldier.
In its own statement, Amnesty International called on Hamas to allow the
Red Cross to visit Schalit. "We hope that Gilad soon returns to his
family," General Secretary of Amnesty Israel Rachel Benziman said.
"Until his release, Hamas is obliged [to fulfill] its obligation of
ensuring that Gilad is granted personal contact and to provide him with
the rights he is entitled to under international law. As such, Hamas
must allow representatives of the Red Cross to visit [him]."
To mark the fifth year of Schalit's captivity, the organization said in a
press release, Amnesty is circulating a petition to its activists
worldwide demanding that Hamas ease the suffering of Gilad and his
family. The petition will be presented to Hamas prime minister in Gaza
Committee of the Red Cross in Israel spokesman Ran Goldstein told
Israel Radio on Friday that his organization has been in dialogue with
Hamas for the past five years about the case and conditions of Gilad
The organization has spoken with Hamas both
in the Gaza Strip as well as various other locations, Goldstein said, in
an attempt to convince the Gaza-based group to allow it access to the
IDF soldier and to allow contact between Schalit and his family. He
noted that the ICRC is more concerned about Schalit today more than
ever, which led it to make public statements ahead of the fifth
anniversary of his captivity.
Among the other groups that signed the joint statement - separate from
the Amnesty petition - were: Human Rights Watch; B'Tselem – The Israeli
Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories; Bimkom:
Planners for Planning Rights; Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of
Movement; International Federation for Human Rights; Palestinian Center
for Human Rights; Gaza Physicians for Human Rights – Israel; The Public
Committee Against Torture in Israel; Rabbis for Human Rights; The
Association for Civil Rights in Israel; and Yesh Din – Volunteers for
Human Rights. Hamas has rejected all calls regarding Schalit and the Red