Ref: 61/2011

 

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
denounces the media assault by some local media, which claim that PCHR demanded
the release of the Israeli soldier who is held by Palestinian resistance groups
in Gaza.

 

On Monday morning, 27 June 2011, a number of local
websites published a news item entitled “The Palestinian Center for Human
Rights Demands Releasing Shalit.” In the article they claimed that a
Palestinian human rights organization joined Zionist human rights organizations
in their demand to release the Zionist solider, Gilad Shait, with total
disregard both for the suffering of Palestinian prisoners and war crimes
committed by the
]Israeli[ occupation
against them.”

 

This assault followed PCHR’s signature on a
joint statement by international and Israeli human rights organizations on 24
June 2011. The statement demanded that the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shait, who
has been held by Palestinian resistance groups for five years, be treated as a
prisoner of war according to international law. 

 

PCHR strongly denounces this media campaign,
and emphasizes the following:

 

1. What
has been published in the media is an explicit and intentional fallacy, whose
purpose is to defame PCHR and its status.

2. The
above statement does not demand the release of Shalit, but it stresses
that Shalit has the right to be visited by the International Committee of the
Red Cross, and to be treated humanely according to international
standards. 

3. These
minimum rights of any prisoner are also owed to at least eight thousand
Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails.
 CHR has struggled in their defense, fought for their release, and
advocated for their cause and their families’ fundamental rights. 

4. PCHR
has shown its credibility and courage in showing that our positions are based
on international law and based on the principle that human rights are
indivisible. PCHR will hold, in and from the Gaza Strip, the identical position
to those it holds at the international level.

5. PCHR
has always emphasized that Shalit was captured on his tank inside the Gaza
Strip during an armed clash with Palestinian resistance activists, who
practiced their legitimate right to resist the occupation. However, this does not deny the necessity to
treat him, and all Palestinian resistance activists, humanely. 

6. PCHR
stresses that the cause of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails has been a
strategic issue in PCHR’s work for more than 20 years, and that PCHR is the
sole organization that has filed an international claim against Avi Dichter,
former head of the Israeli Internal Security Service, for torture crimes
against Palestinian prisoners. 

7. PCHR
asserts that if it has joined such statement with Israeli human rights
organizations, with which PCHR has worked for several years, and which have
fully supported Palestinian human rights against the occupation and against
Israeli practices against Palestinian prisoners, including cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment, and have supported the establishment of a Palestinian state, PCHR
does not see any problem in signing with these organizations a statement
related to the sole Israeli prisoner or war. 

8. PCHR’s
history emphasizes that its fundamental positions are firm and deep, and PCHR
has never compromised the standards it believes in and works for. 

9. There
are at least 8,000 Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails, whose cause
has been and will always be a strategic issue in PCHR’s work.

10. The suffering of the captured soldier’s mother is the same of
thousands of Palestinian mothers who wish freedom for their sons.