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Monday, October 24, 2011


Egyptian television broadcaster Shahira Amin, who did that awful interview with Gilad Shalit last week, writes an open letter to the Israeli public.
I met him after he had been released and he had had a medical checkup by the Red Cross and he had already communicated with his family to let them know of his release and that he would be home shortly.

Only then did I enter the room. I spoke with him for a few moments asking him if he would like to tell the world of his ordeal. Had he refused, I would NOT have pressed him.

If there was any coercion behind the scenes, I am not aware of it. All I know is that an Egyptian security official said that the interview was simply an Egyptian request, not a condition for his release.

He had already been released and the Hamas troops had left the area.

The only remaining one was the Hamas soldier (a member of the Ezzeldine el Qassam Brigade) filming our interview.

I asked everyone including him to leave the room before starting as I said their presence were making us both nervous.
The idea that an Israeli who had been held in captivity by Hamas for more than five years would not feel threatened being in Egypt without an Israeli present and could freely consent to an interview is absurd. What if it was all a bluff? What if they weren't going to release him or they weren't going to release him unless he played along? How was he to know otherwise?

Moreover, note what Amin does not say: She says that she asked the 'Hamas soldier' to leave. She doesn't say that he left. Did he? The picture above indicates otherwise.
I truly regret that my motives were misunderstood. I also am angered by some of the comments in the Israeli press about the questions I asked: I asked how he was, if he had anticipated his release, how he’d received the news of his release after all these years in captivity and what he had missed most while in captivity. I also asked how he had been treated and about his future plans.
Did she really expect him to say that he had been tortured (as we now know he was for the first 6-12 months) with a Hamas 'soldier' standing there?
But I also had to ask why he thought previous mediation efforts had failed and why he thought this one had succeeded.

That is not a propaganda question at all. I just felt that Egyptian authorities had managed to secure a deal and deserved to be acknowledged for their effort while Mubarak had only made promises and never delivered.
That's exactly what propaganda is: Inducing someone to say something that they would not otherwise say.
Finally I had to ask about Palestinians still in Israeli jails.. NOT all of them have Israeli blood on their hands... those who do should remain imprisoned.
Even assuming that there are 'Palestinians' in Israeli jails without blood on their hands (a doubtful proposition at best, but I don't have the list or the statistics), why not? Don't criminals stay in jail until their sentences are served?

Sorry, but I think she's being disingenuous. Egypt burned a lot of goodwill here with that interview. Read the whole thing.

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At 6:00 PM, Blogger Leah Goodman said...

Watching the interview was painful. It was absolute cruelty.
I was completely outraged when I saw it.


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