After reading the Jerusalem Post article on the recorded message from the kidnapped IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldier Gilad Schalit, I wondered what former President Jimmy Carter had to say about this violation of international law. Given Mr. Carter’s professed interest in human rights and his book on the Middle East, he must have said something. Mr. Carter recently chastised the Bush Administration for failing to recognize the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas whose military wing al-Kassam crossed into sovereign Israeli territory to abduct the young man.
Not only did this terrorist group cross an internationally recognized boundary, but they have also held this man in an undisclosed location without allowing any international humanitarian groups (i.e., the Red Cross) to visit him as mandated by international law. And there’s more:
International humanitarian law absolutely prohibits taking and holding a person by force in order to compel the enemy to meet certain demands, while threatening to harm or kill the person if the demands are not met. . . . Furthermore, hostage-taking is considered a war crime.
Just look at the stink raised about Guantanamo where the Red Cross has “unfettered access to any detainee they want to see, whenever they want to see them.” Despite this access, Mr. Carter recently “told reporters that U.S-run detention camps, such as Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and U.S. anti-terrorism laws, were unacceptable even in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.” Emphasis added.
Surely a man who criticized the way his own government ran a camp for terrorists captured on the field of battle, a man who has written a book on the Mideast conflict, would take an interest in this prisoner, held incommunicaco and in violation of international law.
So, I did a google news search, several actually with alternative spellings of Schalit’s name, each came up with the same response: “Your search – Jimmy Carter Gilad Schalit – did not match any documents.” So, I decided to check the web-site of the Carter Center which, at least according to its web-page, “is committed to advancing human rights and alleviating unnecessary human suffering.” The same result: “ Your search – Schalit – did not match any documents./No pages were found containing ‘Schalit‘” Nor did I find anything on the web-site of the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum, but there was a nice picture of Carter shaking hands with the late Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli President Menachem Begin.
Perhaps I missed something.
But, given Mr. Carter’s zeal to speak out on human rights, his silence on this Schalit’s kidnapping is striking. This bitter old man is ever eager to criticize his own nation — and its allies — for their human rights’ record, remains silent when other nations or entities commit worse violations. Another sign that his comments on human rights have more to do with his political grudges than a real concern for human suffering.
UPDATE: Perhaps Jimmy Carter has been silent on the kidnapping of Schalit because he has become “the roving ambassador for the terrorist group Hamas.”