UN concerned about 'forcible transfer' of 'Palestinian' terroristsI don't know how many of you noticed the comments of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and 'Human Rights' Commissioner Navi Pillay on Gilad Shalit's release, but they got some play on Israel Television this evening, because they are quite ludicrous.
The United Nations voiced concern on Tuesday that some of the Palestinian detainees released in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit may have not have been given any choice on where to go, which could constitute an illegal forced transfer.The terrorists could have opted to stay in jail. And in fact, two of the women refused to go to Gaza at the last minute (one of them, unsurprisingly, was Amina M0na) and alternative arrangements were made for them.
The office of Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, welcomed the release but cited reports that some of the Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank may be released to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip or abroad.
Under international humanitarian law, it is illegal to forcibly transfer war detainees or deport them to another country against their will. [The terrorists are not war detainees. They violate every prescription of the Geneva conventions that defines an army. CiJ].
Israeli soldier Shalit returned home to a national outpouring of joy on Tuesday after five years in captivity, and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners exchanged for him were greeted with kisses from Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip.
“It was with a sense of great relief that we have received news of the agreement to exchange prisoners. We do however have concerns regarding reports that hundreds of Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank may be released to the Gaza Strip or abroad,” Pillay’s spokesman Rupert Colville told Reuters in response to a query.
“If in some cases this has been without the free and informed consent of the concerned individuals, this may constitute forced transfer or deportation under international law,” he added. “We are not sure to what extent they consented to this.”
Most of the prisoners were returned to the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas, an Islamist group that is classified as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States. It was not immediately clear whether some of those transferred to Gaza were loyal to Fatah, a rival Palestinian faction ruling the West Bank and led by President Mahmoud Abbas.
Many of the prisoners were convicted of deadly attacks.
Over the past few days, the International Committee of the Red Cross conducted confidential interviews with all 477 Palestinian detainees being released from Israeli detention centers in this first phase of the swap, an ICRC spokesman said. [When are they interviewing Shalit? Oops - they didn't even ask. CiJ]
“ICRC delegates interviewed each detainee in private prior to his or her release to verify that they accepted their release,” ICRC spokesman Marcal Izard told Reuters in Geneva.
But, speaking in what he said were general terms, he added: “Returning people to places other than their habitual places of residence is in contradiction to international humanitarian law. [Their habitual place of residence is an Israeli jail and they were welcome to stay there. CiJ]
“Choosing between staying in detention or being released to a place other than the detainee’s habitual place of residence cannot be considered as a genuine expression of free will.”
Once the detainees were released by Israel, the independent humanitarian agency facilitated their transport on ICRC buses — from the Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip via Egypt, and into Ramallah in the West Bank, he said.
“We did the transportation for humanitarian purposes,” he said. “The ICRC role was limited to facilitating the movement of all the detainees.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that he expected the Israeli-Palestinian prisoner exchange to boost prospects for the wider peace process.
“With this release, it will have a far-reaching positive impact to the stalled Middle East peace process,” Ban told Reuters at the end of a three-day trip to Switzerland.
“I am very encouraged by the prisoner exchange today after many many years of negotiation. 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.” [What a load of horse manure. They live in luxurious conditions compared to Shalit or to any prisoner in the Arab world. CiJ]
Colville said that the UN human rights office had “continuing concerns about the thousands of Palestinians still detained or imprisoned by Israel.”
It encouraged Israel to comply fully with its international legal obligations in relation to all such detainees, “including with respect to their conditions and treatment during detention and the location of their imprisonment.”
These comments were treated with utter contempt even by Israel's Leftist media.
At the end of the article, there is a Red Cross statement about how they are sorry that their 'repeated requests' to meet with Shalit were turned down. Funny, I never heard about any 'repeated requests.' Did you?