Red Cross: Hamas' Behavior Totally Unacceptable
The International Commitee of the Red Cross, whose demand Hamas provide proof of life for abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit was shot down Thursday, told reporters Hamas' conduct in the matter is "totally unacceptable."
Schalit was kidnapped from the Israeli side of the Gaza security fence in June 2006 by Hamas terrorists after they tunneled into an IDF post. Two Israeli soldiers were killed during the abduction. Schalit has since been held incommunicado by Hamas in Gaza.
The last proof of life for Schalit came in October 2009 when Hamas released a tape of Schalit in exchange for terror-prisoners being held in Israeli jails. Israel's government has since refused to release more prisoners.
"The total absence of information concerning Mr. Schalit is completely unacceptable," said the ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord.
"The Shalit family have the right under international humanitarian law to be in contact with their son," he added.
The ICRC says its repeated requests for Hamas to "permit Schalit to exchange family news with his loved ones,” and its numerous requests for access to him, have been denied by Hamas.
"Hamas has an obligation under international humanitarian law to protect Mr. Shalit's life, to treat him humanely and to let him have contact with his family," Daccord insisted.
ICRC requests for access to prisoners are usually made in private due to the sensitive, precarious position prisoners like Schalit are often in. Thursday's public request was an uncharacteristic departure from the organizations normal practices.
ICRC Tel Aviv spokesman Ran Goldstein said the Red Cross decided to mount a public campaign due to growing concern over Schalit's health and well-being.
On Thursday Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he would remove privileges for terror-prisoners exceeding strict legal obligations in response to Hamas' decision.
"The party is over," Netanyahu said.