Hamas celebrated its 23rd anniversary Saturday by parading a terrorist dressed as kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, bespectacled, in an IDF uniform and handcuffed.
The Al Qassam Brigades of Hamas staged the march in a Gaza village in another attempt to play on Israeli’s emotions to pressure the government to free more than 1,000 Arab prisoners and terrorists.
“If one kidnapped soldier is not enough to empty Israeli prisons, we will do so with a second and a third,” threatened Hamas’s Lebanese delegate, Osama Hamdan. A placard above the mock-up of Shalit declared, “Shalit: You will not see daylight” until Israel frees all of our prisoners.
Hamas officials accused Israel of trying to divide Hamas prisoners and terrorists by spreading rumors that the terrorist organization has presented a new list of those it demands to be freed in return for Shalit. Hamas said there has been no change and that it insists that all terrorists be freed.
Last week, Israel National News reported that Robert Serry, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process stated he was worried by an Israeli court order to expel Hamas leader Mohammed Abu Tir from Jerusalem, where he has no permit to reside.
Abu Tir was stripped of his residence permit for his activity in the Islamist Hamas terrorist movement – precisely the same type of activity for which Hamas has been outlawed in the U.S., Canada, European Union, Japan, and elsewhere around the world.
He was arrested and jailed several months ago for entering Jerusalem, and has now been freed.
Israel is in the midst of taking similar measures against three other leading Hamas officials, all of whom have found refuge in the eastern Jerusalem offices of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The fact that the Red Cross provides shelter to leaders of the same group that denies entry to the agency's international representatives to visit captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit has sparked protests in Israel.
A Red Cross spokesman commented in response that the Hamas leaders are receiving humanitarian protection from the agency.
Rally for Shalit
One day before the Hamas rally, the World Jewish Congress, in cooperation with the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, held a rally in front of the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to urge increased efforts to achieve Shalit's release. The soldier has been held incommunicado since he was abducted during a cross-border raid by Hamas-linked terrorists in June 2006.
World Jewish Congress chairwoman Evelyn Sommer said, "It is the responsibility of the international human rights community to urgently intervene on behalf of Gilad Shalit whose condition and whereabouts are not known and who continues to suffer at the hands of a terrorist organization. We urge the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations, and all the human rights organizations on this International Human Rights Day to do their utmost to multiply their efforts and to secure the release of Gilad Shalit now."
WJC and other Jewish leaders met with Pierre Dorbes, United Nations representative to the ICRC, to deliver a letter to ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger, reiterating a call to the Red Cross which it called “the premier moral voice in the pantheon of human rights organizations” to secure Shalit’s freedom.