Sadly, Aug. 28 will most likely be the sixth consecutive birthday Gilad Shalit spends in captivity. As such, it is an appropriate time to remember Shalit, the Israeli citizen who has been held captive for over five years by the terrorist organization Hamas.
On June 25, 2006, members of Hamas infiltrated an army base inside Israel and abducted the then 19-year-old Shalit. Since then, Hamas has defied international law by preventing the Red Cross from visiting Shalit, and the international organization, Human Rights Watch, has stated that Hamas’ treatment of Shalit has been “cruel and inhumane.”
Shalit has not been given the rights of a prisoner of war because he is not a prisoner of war. He is simply a hostage. Not only does Hamas have the audacity to boast of illegally capturing Shalit but it is also demanding that Israel release hundreds of convicted Palestinian criminals in exchange for Shalit’s release. If an analogous situation were to occur in America, surely there would be outrage.
President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy all have called for Hamas to release Shalit. Action needs to be taken quickly. The fact that Shalit has been held for over 1,800 days as a hostage sets a terrible precedent not only for Israel, but for all modern countries.