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Hamas releases video of Gilad Shalit in captivity, and at the barbecue

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A video has been released by the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, and the group responsible for the famed capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on 25 June 2006.

The eleven-minute long footage in Arabic reveals a top-secret unit called the Shadow Unit. According to Hamas’ spokesperson, the unit was established ten years ago solely to ensure the release of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel through prisoner exchanges. Shalit was released on 18 October 2011 in exchange of 1,027 Palestinians; many of them were rearrested by Israel.

The capture of Shalit remains a dizzying chapter in Israeli and Palestinian affairs, not least because it eclipsed all efforts to find him throughout 5 years, during which Shalit’s fate was only surrounded by rumors and inaccurate reports.

Five members of the Unit, who have been killed in unrelated operations between 2008 and 2015, are named in the video: Sammy Mohammed Alhamaydeh (killed in 2008), Abdallah Ali Lubud (killed in 2011), Khalid Mohammed Abubakr (killed in 2013), Mohammed Rashid Daoud (killed in 2013), Abdulrahman Salih Almubasher (killed in 2015). The video reveals that at least two of these members were involved in Shalit’s stay — they are seen eating together.

The video shows episodes of Shalit’s arrest, including footage of the time he received messages from his family. Some Twitter users were surprised to see Shalit enjoying leisure time and barbecuing alongside his captors (at 8 minutes in), causing a barrage of satirical tweets. Hamas’ spokesperson stresses that Shalit’s treatment was in line with Islamic law governing prisoners of war, and contingent on how Israel treated Palestinian prisoners. The satirical reaction by many Palestinians is not to say that Hamas should have mistreated Shalit. Rather it illuminates how Hamas treats local dissenters in a way contrary to their proclaimed commitment to Islamic law. Last night, satirical pundit Ayman Al-aloul, was arrested by Hamas’ interior security for his scathing satire about the video and life in Gaza. Social media users quickly pointed: “Hamas invited Ayman for a BBQ.” Others wondered whether Ayman will be allowed to eat at all.

In the haze of satire, one may find it easy to quickly dismiss the video as propaganda footage to boost Hamas’ image, particularly in increasingly desperate Gaza amidst failed reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of the 2014 Israeli onslaught. While that is true, it is also partial.

Just as Hamas ensured that Shalit’s release comes at an appropriate price, the video sends a signal to Israeli authorities, and indeed Israel’s public, regarding two Israeli soldiers whose dead bodies are believed to have been captured by Hamas in the war of 2014: Oron Shaul, and Hadar Goldin. Hamas is rumored to hold two more living Israelis: Avera Mengistu, an Ethiopian Israeli, and another from the Negev whose name is unknown.

The families of Shaul and Goldin have been quietly campaigning to retrieve their bodies. Though the Israeli government has little to show for its commitment to striking any deals that may advance a prisoner’s exchange. And, needless to say, the Israeli re-arrest of many Palestinians who were released in the 2011 exchange does not exactly lend confidence in future exchanges. Moreover, the current climate in Israel deters any hint of weakness, let alone a deal with Hamas; particularly at a time that most Israelis, according to recent polls, feel their personal security is declining while the government is failing to protect its citizens as Palestinians continue to confront the occupation.

About Dorgham Abusalim

Dorgham Abusalim recently graduated with a Master in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland. You can follow him on Twitter @dabusalim.

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24 Responses

  1. amigo
    January 4, 2016, 6:55 pm

    Clearly Pallywood was contracted to airbrush that smile on Shalit,s face ,see top image .Or perhaps that was the moment they offered to release him early and he smiled and said , no thanks , I feel safer here. Say Khaled , would you like some Cherry Tomatoes with your burger.Zionists claim they invented them but we all know how those f—-s lie.

  2. DaBakr
    January 4, 2016, 9:52 pm

    What kind of a twit writes an article about an Israeli pow who is obviously as emaciated and starving as enjoying “leisure time” at a stove with his captors as if he had a choice.

    Maybe it should be compared to the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who enjoy cable, college, plenty of food, excercize and family visits. Oh those horrific Zionist. The only emaciated Palestinian prisoners are the few that have chosen to have food witheld . A right they demanded they have, unlike the ‘leisurely’ Shalit. Even when the hypocrisy is thick enough to spread with a knife it is missed by the writers,editors and most commenters.

    • Kay24
      January 5, 2016, 4:36 am

      You must mean the compassionate treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli jails:

      “The ill-treatment of Palestinian minors held within the Israeli military detention system is “widespread, systematic and institutionalised,” a report Wednesday by the UN children’s fund found.

      UNICEF in the 22-page report that examined the Israeli military court system for holding Palestinian children found evidence of practices it said were “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.”

      “Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalised,” it concluded, outlining 38 recommendations to improve the protection of children in custody.

      Over the past decade, Israeli forces have arrested, interrogated and prosecuted around 7,000 Palestinian children aged between between 12 and 17, most of them boys, the report said, noting the rate was equivalent to “an average of two children each day.”

      “In no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights,” it said.

      Yeah, a fine example of how Israel treats it’s prisoners, especially little kids.

    • talknic
      January 5, 2016, 7:46 am

      @ DaBakr “Maybe it should be compared to the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails”

      In Israeli jails? Are they POWs? Children under 15 included?

      Art. 76. Protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein.

      • Don
        January 5, 2016, 11:34 am

        Just a long overdue complement…your background knowledge of this conflict is truly extraordinary. You probably aren’t…but you probably should be teaching at a major university somewhere on the planet.

      • talknic
        January 5, 2016, 2:50 pm

        @ Don,

        thx. It’s simply been a slow plod thru a field of blooming lies. Hostage is the most knowledgeable of anyone

      • Annie Robbins
        January 5, 2016, 2:59 pm

        hats up from me too talknic, i really appreciate all your extensive efforts here.

      • eljay
        January 5, 2016, 3:03 pm

        I’ll add my voice of talknic appreciation to the chorus. :-)

      • amigo
        January 5, 2016, 3:50 pm

        In the Irish vernacular , ” Good on ya Talknic , your,e a sound man”.

      • talknic
        January 5, 2016, 5:33 pm

        Oh gawks

        I dips me lid to all of ye here at MW, ‘specially DaBakr, hophmi, MaxNarr et al for demonstrating just how they seem to despise the most basic of Judaism’s common sense tenets and how empty & deceitful their narrative

      • Froggy
        January 8, 2016, 11:10 pm

        You’re the best, talknic!

    • CigarGod
      January 5, 2016, 10:39 am

      So, you expect that a naturally slight young man, held for 5 years in a country who’s entire civilization has been put “on a diet”, will somehow emerge from captivity looking like a bakers son?

      • Susan A
        January 5, 2016, 10:39 pm

        @CigarGod: my thoughts exactly.

        @talknic I too belong to the talknic appreciation society; I’ve emailed a lot of your links to myself so that should it be necessary, I’ll have the info at my fingertips, so to speak. The maps are superb too….

      • bintbiba
        January 6, 2016, 5:29 pm

        I belatedly add my voice to the cheering crowd above in reverence to the learned ‘talknic’ !!

    • Froggy
      January 8, 2016, 10:39 pm

      Nonsense. They just ‘put him on a diet.’

      You lot can hand it out but when turnabout time comes you can’t take it.

      Maybe it should be compared to the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who enjoy cable, college, plenty of food, excercize and family visits


      “Prisoners in Ofer, especially young boys, are kept in harsh conditions with the intention of pressuring them to give information about other Palestinians. Many are denied food and water for extended periods of time and exposed to extreme cold or heat.”

      The Prisoners’ Diaries: Palestinian Voices from the Israeli Gulag, edited by Norma Hashim, in close collaboration with the Centre for Political & Development Studies, Gaza, 2013

      There are many moving passages that can be found in these excerpts from prison diaries and recollections of 22 Palestinians. What is most compelling is how much the material expresses the shared concerns of these prisoners despite great variations in writing style and background. A few keywords dominate the texts: pain, God or Allah, love, dream, homeland, steadfastness, tears, freedom, dream, prayer. My reading of these diaries exposed me to the distinct personal struggles of each prisoner to survive with as much dignity as possible in a dank and poorly lit circumstances of isolation, humiliation, acute hostility on the part of the prison staff, including abusive neglect by the medical personnel.

      And from Mondoweiss :
      Tortured Palestinian prisoner found in Israeli jail with 28 cigarette burns on hands, chest and back
      Kate on December 8, 2015

      So where is the “cable, college, plenty of food, excercize and family visits” that you claim are typical of Israeli prisons?

      DaBakr, you and your fellow hasbrats make it so easy. You touch a keyboard, and lies come out and get posted for everyone to see. Keep it up. This way people can see you for what you are.

  3. Kris
    January 4, 2016, 11:03 pm


    ” What kind of a twit writes an article about an Israeli pow who is obviously as emaciated and starving as enjoying “leisure time” at a stove with his captors as if he had a choice. Maybe it should be compared to the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who enjoy cable, college, plenty of food, excercize and family visits.”

    Uh, huh.

    A better question would be “What kind of a twit posts comments which are not only untruthful and designed to mislead, but are so easily shown to be false?”

    It’s not as if you don’t know that Shalit himself, after he was released, said that he had been treated well by Hamas:

    “In a forthcoming Israeli TV documentary, former Sgt. Gilad Shalit said his Hamas captors treated him well for the most part, but he feared he would never be released. ”

    And it’s not as if you aren’t aware of the extreme mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Torture , systematic abuse including sexual abuse, even of children , inadequate living conditions as well as torture and routine maltreatment , threats against the detainees’ families , etc. Look it up. The truth is so easy to find.

    On the other hand, many children in Gaza suffer from stunted growth from malnutrition, thanks to the Israeli blockade . Jewish Israelis and their apologists call this “Putting the Palestinians on a diet.”

    Another good question would be, “What kind of people joke about, and find pleasure in, the suffering they inflict on other people?”

  4. Herchel
    January 5, 2016, 1:29 am

    They made him eat on the floor like an animal.

  5. Kate
    January 5, 2016, 6:28 pm

    I expected Hamas to treat Shalit well. Islam requires this.
    In his farewell address the Prophet reminded all who were present, “O men, you still have in your possession some prisoners of war. I advise you, therefore, to feed them and to clothe them in the same way and style as you feed and clothe yourselves … To give them pain or trouble can never be tolerated.” Muslims were expected to free the prisoners, if they could not meet these standards.

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