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Issues of the Day Injustices of the Week: The Final Indignities Foisted on Gilad Shalit; Qadaffi and Jungle Justice

Both the liberation of Gilad Shalit after more than five years of bondage, and that of the Libyan people from four decades of dictatorship, were welcomed events. However, the gratuitous indignities to which the hostage was subjected after being removed from his imprisonment and before he reached Israel, were cruel. As for the way that the Libyan dictator was disposed of today, served the law of the jungle rather than justice.

The manner in which the Israeli prisoner was manhandled, roughly tugged through a throng of heavily armed militants by a Hamas functionary just before he was freed, was yet another indication of what Hamas is about. It was consistent with Hamas' denial of access to Shalit, including the prevention of visits by the International Red Cross throughout the years of his imprisonment.  It was Hamas's final show of bravado in the affair, a spiteful display of its contempt for basic human rights and dignity.

Shortly afterwards, an Egyptian news reporter was able to secure an interview with the prisoner, who had hardly seen the light of day in years when he was quickly thrust into the gaze of bright lights and television cameras. Shalit, visibly shaken, pale and without enough orientation to know if the questions he faced would, if answered wrongly, lead to further punishment, was pointedly asked a very leading, and potentially damning question: "Would he speak out on behalf of the release of Palestinian prisoners still held by Israel."

The reporter's haste to skewer a scoop at a time when the prisoner had not yet been freed showed at best poor taste. At worst, it was a cheap attempt at career advancement in service to propaganda.

As for the report and footage of the Libyan dictator being exorcised from his lair in Sirte, then dispatched on the hood of a car, was abhorrent, an exercise in mob justice. It would have been far better to bring him to a court of law where he could have been made to account for his decades-long abuses of Libya's citizens.  That, rather than summary execution, would have paid homage to the Libyan people's courageous uprising against Qadaffi's tyranny. One can only hope it was an isolated act of battle-weary forces and not a sign of coming times.  

© Yosef Gotlieb, . All rights reserved