Media Ignore Government Advice, Hype Old Shalit Letter
Israeli media Tuesday evening again ignored government advice and hyped the plight of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit and possibly endangered chances to free him. Websites published a letter that he wrote three years ago but whose basic content had been partially disclosed more than two years ago.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently echoed sentiments of officials working for the soldier’s release by stating that the media have harmed Shalit by allowing Hamas to use rumors, official statements and other methods to manipulate emotions among Israelis.
They explained that commotion over the soldier, who was kidnapped in June 2006, plays into the hands of terrorists who hold out for the release of hundreds of fellow terrorists by Israel.
Despite recent editorials in major newspapers that have agreed with the government, the same media published for the first time Tuesday night a letter that Shalit wrote to his parents in September 2006 and which previously has been deciphered as being written under duress.
The complete letter, printed below, adds no information to what was formerly known by previously published excerpts. Parts of the letter disclosed more than two years ago included appeals to the government to work for his release and that he was suffering from poor health and emotional duress.
The full letter stated, "To Mom, Dad, my brother and friends. Greetings. My health is deteriorating from day to day. It is especially difficult for me emotionally, and this causes me frequent depression. I am waiting for this insufferable and inhumane ordeal in which I am found to end and that I will be freed from this closed and isolated prison, especially since my 20th birthday has passed, which I had hoped we would celebrate together.
"I am appealing to the government and especially to [former] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and [former] Defense Minister Amir Peretz to do everything possible to free me as quickly as possible because every that passes is worse for me, and to answer the demands of the el-Mujahadeen who arrested me from my tank near Kerem Abu-Salem [Kerem Shalom crossing].
“I hope you will do everything so that I can celebrate Rosh HaShanah and Sukkot at home."
Israeli media competed for taking credit for publishing the letter, with Yediot Acharonot's Ynet website claiming it was exclusive, Haaretz stating it was published with permission and the Jerusalem Post reporting that the letter made a “sudden appearance” on several websites.
I feel for the poor soldier and his family. That being said, my opinion differs a lot form most Israelis. If only Israel would employ the death penalty for terrorists, this issue wouldn't exist.