Arab Prisoner of Arabs Says No Human Rights in Arab World
"I am very encouraged by the prisoner exchange today after many many years of negotiation," Secretary-General Ban told Reuters today. "The United Nations has been calling for (an end to) the unacceptable detention of Gilad Shalit and also the release of all Palestinians whose human rights have been abused all the time."[UN Watch]Omri Ceren summarizes the Amnesty statement [here]. More pro-Hamas propaganda. That is, more propaganda that equates the mass murderers of Hamas with the civilized state of Israel:
Amnesty's statement is, again, clever propaganda.
But Amnesty’s statement on the Shalit trade, titled “Israel-Hamas prisoner swap casts harsh light on detention practices of all sides,” is a barrel-scraping embarrassment even by the organization’s notoriously low standards. The vast majority of the press release is handed over to criticizing Israeli detention policies, while a grand total of two paragraphs are spent condemning Shalit’s ordeal.
Shalit’s name does not even appear below the fifth paragraph of the 20-paragraph statement, while alleged Israeli human rights violations- relevant to the swap or not – are repeatedly noted. Israel is explicitly and twice accused of Geneva violations.
NGO Monitor explains that neither Amnesty nor the ineptly named Human Rights Watch raised its voice in over five years of Shalit's incarceration under conditions illegal by int'l law. That is, he was not allowed any visits by the Red Cross [ICRC] nor was he allowed into the sunshine nor, it seems, outdoor exercise. Apparently, he was kept underground. We know about the lack of sunshine since it has been reported that he has a Vitamin D deficiency, a result of not getting sunshine [Ayala Hasson on Israel TV Channel 1 tonight]. Other so-called "human rights groups" too failed to demand that Shalit be treated according to the international law of war regarding prisoners.
On the other hand, let's hear the testimony of an Arab --a Palestinian Arab in fact-- who was the prisoner of an Arab regime. Ashraf al-Hajouj was a physician held prisoner in Libya for 8 1/2 years by the Qaddafi regime, along with 5 Bulgarian nurses. They were all charged with deliberately inoculating 438 Libyan children with AIDS virus in the Benghazi pediatric hospital. Dr Hajouj and the nurses were released in July 2007 by the intervention of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. Hajouj said after his release:
In the Arab world, there are no human rights. . .He spoke of
En el mundo arabe no hay derechos humanos. . .
[El Pais, 26 July 2007; tambien Pagina/12]
the corruption that rots away at Libya and many other [Arab] countries.Since he had been brought to Libya when he was two years old and raised there, he was bitter over how the Libyans treated him:
I always considered Libya my country. . . If [Libya and the family members of the children who got AIDS] seek the truth about the AIDS contagion, they will have to look away from us [himself and the Bulgarian nurses] because we are all innocent. [El Pais, 26 July 2007]Al-Hajouj was apparently abandoned by the PLO/PA who did not defend him or the nurses against the silly charges of deliberately infecting the children. Nor did the Arab League defend him. So he was granted Bulgarian citizenship and went to Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, after his release. Only al-Hajouj and two of the nurses --out of five-- were well enough to talk to the press. "We have returned from hell to paradise," one of the nurses said. "Only God knows that I will show the whole world that we were always innocent," Dr al-Hajouj added. One nurse tried to commit suicide because she could not tolerate the torture she underwent, including electrical shocks. Another nurse said that their first year was the worst when the women were kept in a tiny room in a police station with one single mattress as their only furniture. In that year they were allowed four visits with diplomats from the Bulgarian embassy -- but they were not allowed to talk to the diplomats. The husband of one of the women was also living in Benghazi. He too was incarcerated but only for five years up to 2004. After that, since he was not allowed to leave the country, he stayed in the Bulgarian embassy until leaving Libya at the same time as his wife.
The five nurses and the physician were taken into the elite military hospital in Sofia for a physical and psychological check up. The director of the hospital, General Stoyan Tonev, stated that they were suffering "submarine sailors syndrome," which affects people who have lived "enclosed for a long time in small spaces under bad conditions."
So it seems that these six prisoners in Libya were held under conditions closer to those of Shalit than to those of the terrorist prisoners in Israel. But Amnesty, Ban Ki Moon and HRW want to draw a false moral equivalence between how Israel treats prisoners and how Hamas treats prisoners. Recall that Shalit was never allowed a visit by the Red Cross, as required by the international law of war.
During part of the time of the nurses' and the Arab physician's imprisonment in Libya, Libya held the chairmanship of the UN Human Rights Commission. One does not suppose that the Commission ever criticized Libya on account of how the nurses and the physician were being treated.