On June 25th 2006 Gilad Shalit was kidnapped when his unit was ambushed by Hamas terrorists: two other Israeli soldiers were killed. 4 years later Gilad Shalit is still in captivity and the pressure has been mounting on the Israeli government to exchange thousands of terrorists for his release.
Hamas is the â€˜Islamic Resistance Movement in Palestineâ€™ and associated with the terror group, Muslim Brotherhood founded in Egypt. The Hamas charter states that all Jews should be killed as part of the Islamic redemption
They are responsible for countless terror attacks during the first and second intifada that left scores of Israeliâ€™s dead. Not long after gaining control of Gaza in 2006, Hamas went to war with Fatah and squashed any political dissent with more than 500 Palestinians killed during this infighting.
There are two routes to freedom for Gilad Shalit. The first is that Israel gives into Hamasâ€™ demands. The second is that the world unites in an effort to persuade Hamas to release Gilad Shalit unconditionally. Letâ€™s take a closer look at the efficacy and ramifications of each.
If Israel gives into their demands it will empower Hamas to kidnap again and the price that Israel pays for one soldier may well set the price tag for future ransoms. In addition, such a deal would only further empower Hamas both at home and abroad. They would be seen as heroes in the Palestinian territories and likely be heavily favored in the next Palestinian elections.
That being said, there is every chance that as any deal approaches that Hamas will increase their demands.
The second scenario is for the world to make a concerted effort to pressure Hamas to release Gilad Shalit. This would require a worldwide consensus to completely isolate Hamas. Only then would the terror group start to feel the need to release Gilad Shalit without preconditions. There are already a few impediments for this scenario. Countries like Russia, Norway and Turkey fully recognize Hamas as a legitimate political party and many other countries in Europe have sent legislators to meet with Hamas. This diplomacy emboldens Hamas and does nothing to towards a solution.
In Israel the pressure has focused on the Israeli government to give in to Hamasâ€™ demands i.e. go for scenario one. The Free Gilad Shalit movement organizes many rallies around the world. While some call for his unconditional release, the majority of rallies are centered on pressuring the Israeli government.Â So far this has been an unsuccessful strategy. After 4 years of captivity Gilad Shalit has yet to be visited by the International Red Cross, a direct violation of the 4th Geneva Convention.
If you believe in human rights, freedom and dignity you have a responsibility to do something for Gilad Shalit.
So what can you do to help?
Ask your local legislator to call for Giladâ€™s release prior to any softening of stance towards Hamas.
Join FreeMiddleEast.com to see our Gilad Shalit movie and moreâ€¦.
Join us on facebook and subscribe to the FreeMiddleEast YouTube Channel
Pass our 30 second movies marking the 4th anniversary of Gilad Shalitâ€™s capture
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So much media attention is spent on Israel.Â Is it deserved?
Military conflicts around the world are surely newsworthy.Â By taking media coverage as an indicator, it would seem that most of the world’s military conflict occur in and around Israel…but how large is the conflict in Israel, compared to others?
Pyjamas Media (also viaÂ Augean Stables)Â present a further analysis of the problem in an article describing the media footprint of conflicts. Â They compare the media coverage of an incident from last year’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza to one in the Congo. Â In Gaza, an errant shell accidentally killed 40 Gazan civilians when it wasÂ aimed at an artillery position a scant 30 meters away. Â In the Congo, more than 100 civilians who took refuge in a catholic church were hacked to pieces by the LRA militia. Â Pyjamas Media’s analysis (using Google News) found that the Gaza story was reported 242 times more than the Congo one.
Critics of Israel often cite the supposed disproportionality ofÂ responseÂ by the IDF. Â Perhaps it’s time to look at the disproportionality of coverage by the media.
The UN and the media’s Obsessesive Compulsive Israel Disorder (OCID), is apparently affecting what everybody is interested in.
Using the Google Trends service, it’s easy to compare the popularity of different search terms over time. For example, you can compare the relative popularity of Coke vs Pepsi or Mac vs. Windows. What do you think would happen if we compared “israel” to “darfur”, “iran”, “iraq” and “aids”?
Screenshot taken December 9th, 2009
This graph shows the relative popularity of the search terms over the last twelve months of world-wide googling. Iran received 60% of the attention that Israel did, Iraq 40%, and AIDS little more than half.
Over the last few years 300,000 people have been killed in Sudan, yet over the last 12 months Darfur was googled a mere 4% as much as Israel!
Chapter One, Article One, Paragraph One of the UN Charter states the chief purpose of the United Nations:
To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
The word â€œpeaceâ€ is mentioned no less than five times in the opening paragraph alone! It should come as a surprise that only a few clicks away on the official website of the Palestinian Observer to the UN, hosted at www.un.int, the official site for member states, you can find the full text of the PLO Phased Plan. It is a document which advocates “armed struggle” and a “combatant national authority”, diametrically opposed to the UN charter.
The Palestine Liberation Organization will employ all means, and first and foremost armed struggle, to liberate Palestinian territory and to establish the independent combatant national authority for the people over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated.
In the 1960â€™s, the USA faced similar challenges with oil as the world does today. Prices and demand were continually rising, forcing the USA to import oil from countries like Venezuela and the Persian Gulf states. President Eisenhower was cognizant of the geopolitical problems of importing oil in the cold war era and thus moved to place tariffs on foreign oil imports in the hope of moving toward North American produced oil.
In response, Venezuela and several Gulf states met in Baghdad and created an oil cartel to regulate higher prices on the world market. Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were the forefathers of the cartel and from 1960-1975 OPEC expanded to include Qatar, Libya, UAE, Algeria and Nigeria. Today these countries now control 2/3 of the worldâ€™s oil reserves and 1/3 of world production.
Out of the 12 current members of OPEC, 10 of the countries either do not recognize Israelâ€™s right to exist or have no official ties with the state. As such, their agenda to stabilize the price of oil has at times been secondary to their greater aspiration to destabilize Israel and its allies. The famous example was the 1973 oil embargo in response to the Yom Kippur War. Even though Israel was the victim of a surprise attack from Egypt and Syria, OPEC used the opportunity to launch an all out oil embargo on the US and many countries of Western Europe leading to a 4 fold spike in oil.
In modern times, with oil rich countries in the driving seat, we have seen an unprecedented alliance between the US and Saudi Arabia. This has seen some of the most sophisticated military arms shipped to the Saudi Kingdom in an effort to support the oil trading relationship. The U.S and other Western countries have been willing to turn a blind eye to horrendous human rights abuses and support of many terror factions in the middle east to support the habit for foreign oil.
In late 2009, the UK famously formed an oil driven alliance of its own. The Scottish government released Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber from prison. Al Megrahi was sentenced to 270 counts of murder for bombing Pan Am Flight 103. The British government claimed that he was released on compassionate grounds since he was terminally ill with prostrate cancer. The day after his release Libya signed a deal with oil giant British Petroleum (BP) worth upwards of 800 billion dollars. The British government later admitted that the release was part of a prisoner swap for oil agreement.
OPEC along with the other 54 Arab and Muslim majority countries also forms a formidable bloc in the UN. Their customers in Africa, Asia and Europe are also only too willing to go along with their agenda which is often anti-American and in particular anti-Israel. Perhaps more than any other factor, the power of oil has seen the UN become the forum of despots rather than a force for genuine good. Whilst Darfur burns, Zimbabwe and the like fall into the clutches of oppression, the UN obsesses with Israel.
The oil politics of today has steadily grown since the 1960â€™s. The only light at the end of the oil tunnel lies with a commitment to pursuing alternative forms of energy, drastically reducing oil dependency, marking a new era of energy sustainability.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder that causes repeated unwanted and intrusive thoughts.Â An OCD sufferer will engage in repetitive behaviors (compulsions) aimed at reducing anxiety caused by these thoughts (obsessions). Â OCD is a chronic or long-term illness that can take over a personâ€™s life, hurt relationships, and limit the ability to work or go to school.
Scientists have proven that OCD is caused by one part of the brain being unable to receive information from the other.
In the past 20 years the 24/7 cable news, internet and social networking sites have revolutionized the way we receive information.Â In the shadow of this information revolution lays a disease that has surprisingly not yet received an official diagnosis.Â The cause is also a restriction of information.Â The disease is called Obsessive Compulsive Israel Disorder or OCID.
For a country that is thousands of miles away, has a population of just 7 million and speaks a completely different language, the world is obsessively and compulsively focused on Israel.
In January 2009, when Israel launched operation Cast Lead, to root out rocket fire from the Gaza strip, the media covered every minute.Â There was no shortage of information that often presented Israel as the aggressor and perpetrator of all the violence in the region.Â Just like OCD stops the flow of information from one part of the brain to the other, OCID, stopped the flow of the rest of the important events going in the world.
While a tiny country was trying to secure its borders from rocket attack the world was going through major challenges.
The Ethiopian military withdrew its troops from the Somalia civil war.Â This ongoing conflict has killed 300-400 thousand people since 1991.
Indian Army continued to battle Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed militants in the disputed Kashmir region.Â This ongoing conflict has seen countless civilian massacres and terror attacks.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a Sri Lanka terrorist group, launched major offensives around the northern part of the country including the bombing the state department of defense. 80 thousand people have been killed in the countryâ€™s civil war, including 8000 this year alone.
In order to try to understand this disease we have isolated 3 factors that could influence the amount of coverage a country could receive:
Its geography; and
Its state of conflict.
As stated earlier Israelâ€™s population is about 7 million.Â It is roughly the same size as Tajikistan, Papa New Guinea and Honduras, none of which have been able to grab the attention of the world, let alone can most people locate these countries on a map.
What about geography?Â It is true that Israelâ€™s is in the Middle East but so are countries like Bahrain, Qatar and Oman yet these countries also seldom crack the newsreel, let alone can be located on a map.
That leaves the last category, maybe itâ€™s because of the â€œdisputedâ€ territory in the land.Â Â If this is the case, ask yourselves how many stories have there been about Tibet, Cyprus, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the Western Sahara, all U.N recognized cases of disputed territory.Â There is no logic in understanding this disease
While the media was predominantly reporting only on the conflict in the Gaza Strip as a prime example, the world was going through universal struggle.Â Their continual criticism and singling out of Israel is baseless in its logic vis a vis its abnormal media coverage.Â The larger worldly causes of global warming, hunger, aids and genocide have to take a back seat to feed a news aristocracy that clearly suffers from the sociological disease, Obsessive-Compulsive Israel Disorder.
 Web MD, Anxiety and Panic Health Center,www.webmd.com
Following on from humiliating defeats in 1948 and 1967, in Oct 1973 Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack against Israel on what was the holiest of the day of the year for Jews -Yom Kippur.Â They came close to marching their troupes into the streets of Tel Aviv and defeating Israel.Â However, in the end, Israeli forces were triumphantâ€¦but victory came at heavy price.Â By the time the UN Security Council enacted the October 26th cease-fire, over 2700 Israeliâ€™s were dead.
Although Arab war efforts to destroy Israel in 1973 uplifted morale, it was clear that a future military victory over Israel was unlikely. Â Consequently, a new strategy for eliminating Israel was hatched – The Phased Plan (also known as The Plan of Phases) During 12th meeting of the Palestinian National Council in Cairo in 1974, the foundations were laid out as follows:
Phase 1: Through the “armed struggle”, establish an “independent combatant national authority” over any territory that is “liberated” from Israeli rule. (Article 2)
Phase 2: To continue the struggle against Israel, using the territory of the national authority as a base of operations (Article 4).
Phase 3: To “liberate all Palestinian territory” by provoking Israel into an all-out war in which its Arab neighbors destroy it entirely (Article 8). See full text below
In accordance with Phase 1 of the Phased Plan, there were countless acts of terror committed against the Israeli civilian population.Â Such attacks include the Maâ€™alost Massacre of 1974, where 22 Israeli high school students, were murdered on their way to school.Â Palestinian terrorists attacked the Tel Aviv Savoy hotel in 1975 murdering 8 hostages.Â Throughout the following years they continued their killing spree as they hijacked Air France Flight 139 and in 1978 attacked a bus killing 35 civilians, many of them were burned alive.Â Such gruesome terror attacks continued through the 80â€™s and 90â€™s until finally as a â€œrewardâ€, the PLO was granted autonomy with the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.Â Phase 1 was complete.
In the year 2000, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, under tremendous pressure from the uncontrollable violence, famously offered an unprecedented peace deal to the Palestinians. Â The deal included all of Gaza, 97% of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.Â However, the plan was contrary to the PLO Plan of Phases and rejected.Â Yes, the Palestinians would have a state but there would still be an Israel.Â In addition, defined borders, with physical boundaries would of course lessen chances to attack Israel in any meaningful way.Â Instead the PLO launched the second popular uprising – the al-Aqsa intifada.
From 2000-2005, over 1000 Israelis were murdered in suicide attacks including the attack on the Hebrew University cafeteria, nightclubs, Passover Seder, restaurants and public busses.Â This period marked the first time that both women and minors were being used as suicide bombers.Â In 2005, even though terror attacks had not ceased, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip, granting the Palestinians full autonomy over the land.Â Subsequently this territory was used to launch more than 8000 rockets at Israel.
With Israelâ€™s morale and resolve in the face of pressure weakened, Phase 2 seems to have run its course for the time being.Â Evidence that the third and final phase is in progress is becoming increasingly clear.Â In 2006, Hamas provoked Israel into war by kidnapping Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.Â Days later Hezbollah provoked Israel into war with Lebanon hoping that other countries would join in as they opened up a second front.
Today many of Israelâ€™s neighbors including Syria have continually shown signs of rearming for an attack.Â Hamas has been launching rockets and smuggling arms, Hezbollah has restocked and doubled their supply of arms from Iran and the Iranian regime is getting closer to nuclear proliferation.
While the media has inadequately reported the larger aspirations of the PLOâ€™sÂ â€˜Plan of Phasesâ€™, the Palestinians have been able to slowly and systematically come closer to their end goal of â€œliberating Israel from the river to the sea.â€
*Adopted at the 12th Session of the Palestinian National Council Cairo, June 9, 1974
Text of the Phased Plan resolution:
The Palestinian National Council:Â On the basis of the Palestinian National Charter and the Political Programme drawn up at the eleventh session, held from January 6-12, 1973; and from its belief that it is impossible for a permanent and just peace to be established in the area unless our Palestinian people recover all their national rights and, first and foremost, their rights to return and to self-determination on the whole of the soil of their homeland; and in the light of a study of the new political circumstances that have come into existence in the period between the Council’s last and present sessions, resolves the following:
To reaffirm the Palestine Liberation Organization’s previous attitude to Resolution 242, which obliterates the national right of our people and deals with the cause of our people as a problem of refugees. The Council therefore refuses to have anything to do with this resolution at any level, Arab or international, including the Geneva Conference.
The Liberation Organization will employ all means, and first and foremost armed struggle, to liberate Palestinian territory and to establish the independent combatant national authority for the people over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated. This will require further changes being effected in the balance of power in favour of our people and their struggle.
The Liberation Organization will struggle against any proposal for a Palestinian entity the price of which is recognition, peace, secure frontiers, renunciation of national rights and the deprival of our people of their right to return and their right to self-determination on the soil of their homeland.
Any step taken towards liberation is a step towards the realization of the Liberation Organization’s strategy of establishing the democratic Palestinian state specified in the resolutions of previous Palestinian National Councils.
Struggle along with the Jordanian national forces to establish a Jordanian-Palestinian national front whose aim will be to set up in Jordan a democratic national authority in close contact with the Palestinian entity that is established through the struggle.
The Liberation Organization will struggle to establish unity in struggle between the two peoples and between all the forces of the Arab liberation movement that are in agreement on this programme.
In the light of this programme, the Liberation Organization will struggle to strengthen national unity and to raise it to the level where it will be able to perform its national duties and tasks.
Once it is estabished, the Palestinian national authority will strive to achieve a union of the confrontation countries, with the aim of completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory, and as a step along the road to comprehensive Arab unity.
The Liberation Organization will strive to strengthen its solidarity with the socialist countries, and with forces of liberation and progress throughout the world, with the aim of frustration all the schemes of Zionism, reaction and imperialism.
In light of this programme, the leadership of the revolution will determine the tactics which will serve and make possible the realization of these objectives.
The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization will make every effort to implement this programme, and should a situation arise affecting the destiny and the future of the Palestinian people, the National Assembly will be convened in extraordinary session.