First circulated: 2010/06/28
Earlier today, I sent the following letter to the editor of Ottawa Citizen.
Letter to the Editor
June 28, 2010
The G8 Muskoka declaration came in 43 paragraphs and two annexes. Paragraph 39 was dedicated to address the issue of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The last sentence of paragraph 39 reads: “We call for the immediate release of the abducted Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.”
For some unknown reason, the G8 “leaders” did not name any of the more than 7,500 Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, including 34 women and 310 children. The G8 “leaders” were not concerned that among those Palestinian detainees, there are 304 prisoners who are detained by Israeli authorities under administrative detentions; i.e. they are detained without being charged with any violation. Those democratically elected G8 “leaders” did not consider it problematic that among Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, there are 17 elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and two past ministers of the Palestinian Authority in addition to many political leaders. The G8 “leaders” did not see it reasonable to call for the release of the 111 Palestinians who have been detained for more than 20 years or even the 13 who have been detained for more than 25 years.
The G8 “leaders” thought it was appropriate for them to call for the release of Gilad Shalit who has been detained since 2006/06/25, but did not think it would be appropriate for them to call for the release of Akram Mansour who has been detained since 1979/05/02; or Fakhri Barghouti who has been detained since 1978/06/23; or the Dean of Palestinian detainees Naa’il Barghouti who has been detained since 1978/04/04.
Naa’il, Fakhri, and Akram – as well as each and every Palestinian man, woman and child detained in Israeli jails – are as precious to their families and nation as Gilad is to his. The G8 “leaders” ought to have valued all human beings equally; and ought to have called for the release of all detainees, including Gilad. But to single out the lone Israeli detainee and neglect to mention the more than 7,500 Palestinian detainees is an offensive, shameful act that is not worthy of the economically leading nations on Earth.
Hope is the stuff from which life is made!