Recently surfaced photos and video tapes of both Ron Arad and the three soldiers captured in October 2000 (Adi Avitan, Benny Avraham, and Omar Suwad), indicate only one very painful reality. That unfortunate reality is how Israeli POW’s, or captured soldiers are treated by their enemies especially those such as the Hezbollah.
Not that this is anything new, as even ‘formal’ enemies such as Syria and even Egypt were not so kind to captured Israeli soldiers who were their ‘guests’.
The clips showing the captured Israelis in 2000 were especially sad, as it was obvious that at least two of them were not only alive but able to walk, as they were “escorted” to the waiting jeep that was to take them to what was probably a very frightening and painful death.
The graphic reality of this matter is that despite more formal treaties such as The Geneva Convention, the terms and conditions regarding captured Israeli POW’s do not apply here. Not that Israel’s enemies are alone in this respect. Abuses to prisoners all over the world have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, and even in Europe, particularly in the Balkans. These new reminders, including the interview of Ron Arad, alleged to have occurred about two years following his capture in 1986, have a sad and heartbreaking effect on the families of captured soldiers, which has continued for years.
In stark contrast, both Palestinian and other prisoners in Israeli custody have been granted most, if not all of the amenities of the Geneva Convention, including visits by legal counsels, Red Cross/Crescent representatives, and in many cases, even family members. They are cared for when they are sick, and many are allowed to receive letters and parcels from relatives on the ‘outside’. And very important, their spiritual needs are allowed to be taken care of as well, with religious books and other material made available to them.
What makes matters worse are groups like Hezbollah playing on the emotions of all Israelis; not just family members. To bring all of this ‘new material’ to the forefront, especially when a new prisoner exchange may be in the works is only adding to the anger and frustrations of family members, as well as Israeli government officials.
As which was said during a recent meeting of the families of the three captured soldiers, Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser, and Eldad Regev, which sparked this recent conflict: “We want to have them back with us alive; and not receive a video tape 20 years later.”
For their sake, and for the sake of all who live in the State of Israel, I sincerely hope the first part of this statement becomes reality; and not the latter.
(Photograph courtesy of The Jewish Journal)
September 7, 2006 at 8:48 pm
This story has a very important message. I only hope
the right people pick up on it!