Shalit got off lightly.

By Stuart Littlewood

While the whole world, it seemed, was in ecstasy over the freeing of Gilad Shalit, I was amazed to discover that the Israeli tank-gunner had been made an honorary citizen of Rome, Paris, Baltimore, Miami, Pittsburgh and New Orleans.  Knowing what we know, that’s pretty sick stuff.

Rome’s mayor, Gianni Alemanno, said that honouring Shalit in this way was “a gesture of high symbolic value, with which Rome chooses to salute the values of life, of solidarity and of respect for the human rights.” He added, “You cannot win using violence, kidnapping and ransom.”

Has he told that to the Israeli government?

And how on earth does Shalit embody the values of life and respect for human rights?

Has Mayor Alemanno any idea of the death and destruction a 105mm or 120mm tank round can inflict? Tank-gunner Shalit was deployed on the Gaza border to implement Israel’s criminal policy and to terrorise the Gazan population into submission. Those tanks make frequent incursions into Gaza to shell civilian targets. When Shalit was captured in June 2006 the Israelis were already tightening their illegal blockade on Gaza.

Shalit, like his comrades, was implicated in an appalling crime against humanity and he paid the price – not to the proper authority, the International Criminal Court, which should have nailed his superiors long before now, but to the victims of Israel’s military aggression.

Paris City Council and its mayor voted unanimously to honour Shalit. And President Sarkozy wrote to the tank-gunner: “It is time that those responsible for your detention make a decision and end your intolerable and outrageous imprisonment.”

Weren’t any of these civic dignitaries the slightest bit concerned about the thousands Palestinian prisoners rotting in Israeli jails, many without charge and many having been in captivity far longer than Shalit.

Nael Barghouthi, a Palestinian, had been imprisoned by Israel for 33 years and was probably the longest serving political prisoner ever. His incarceration began on April 4, 1978. Wouldn’t the City Council of Paris like to make him an honorary citizen? What about the good councillors of Baltimore, Miami, Pittsburgh and New Orleans? Aren’t they fair-minded enough to honour Barghouti?

I doubt it, for the simple reason Barghouti was (shock-horror!) a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, forerunner of Hamas. And Hamas (shock-horror!) is listed as a terror organisation. Obnoxious as Hamas is, isn’t the terror organisation Shalit belongs to, the Israeli army of illegal occupation, far worse?

Hamas is branded a terrorist group only because it suits the purpose of a gang of Zionist psychopaths in the White House and in Whitehall. The definition of terrorism is set out in Executive Order 13224, Section 3, signed 23 September 2001 by George W Bush. It’s an activity that —

(i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and (ii) appears to be intended

(a) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(b) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(c) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.

You have to laugh. The dummies are describing exactly what they themselves do.

And who do you suppose introduced terrorism to the Middle East? This list explains . Alternatively, see (‘Who were the first terrorists in the Middle East?’)

  • Bombs in Cafés: first used by Zionists in Palestine on March 17, 1937 in Jaffa. (actually grenades).

  • Bombs on Buses: first used by Zionists in Palestine Aug. 20-Sept. 26, 1937

  • Drive-by shootings with automatic weapons: IZL and LHI in 1937-38 and 1947-48 (Morris, Righteous Victims, p681.)

  • Bombs in Market Places: first used by Zionists on July 6, 1938 in Haifa. (Delayed-action, electrically detonated)

  • Bombing of a passenger Ship: first used by the Zionists in Haifa on 25 November 1940, killing over 200 of their own fellows.

  • Bombing of Hotels: first used by Zionists on July 22, 1946 against the British administration in the St David Hotel, Jerusalem (Menachem Begin went on to become Prime Minister of Israel).

  • Suitcase bombing: first used by Zionists on October 1, 1946 against the British Embassy in Rome.

  • Mining of Ambulances: First used by Zionists on October 31, 1946 in Petah Tikvah

  • Car-bomb: first used by Zionists against the British near Jaffa, 5 December 1946.

  • Letter Bombs: first used by Zionists in June 1947 against members of the British government, 20 of them.

  • Parcel Bomb: first used by Zionists against the British in London, 3 September 1947.

  • Reprisal murder of hostages: first used by Zionists against the British in Netanya area on 29 July 1947.

  • Truck-bombs: first used by Zionists 4 Jan 1948 in the centre of Jaffa, killing 26.

  • Aircraft hijacking: world-first by Israeli jets Dec 1954 on a Syrian civilian airliner (random seizure of hostages to recover 5 spies). 14 years before any Palestinian.

You reap what you sow.

The only form of violent terrorism not introduced into Palestine by the Zionists was suicide bombing, the desperate last resort of people fighting illegal occupation of their homeland.

Those who confuse freedom-fighters with terrorists are given valuable advice in this extract from Mhara Costello’s wonderfully powerful poem…

Show me the man who will not fight, to save his child, his home, his right!

You can call him what you like, you’re not in his sorry plight

Cowards stay and Martyrs go, I know not where, but this I know

Speak your truth and stand your ground, fight your corner

When all around point the finger, purse the lips, pin the label, ‘Terrorist’!

For the whole thing see .

So here’s a question for the great and the good in Rome, Paris, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and so forth… Don’t you think the lad in the photo standing his ground and throwing stones at the advancing invader shows a lot more grit than the Israeli tank-gunner sitting behind his armour plate picking out soft targets among the women and children packed into the Gaza Strip?

Wouldn’t they like to honour that youngster instead?

I said in an earlier article that 8,000 Palestinians were still in Israeli jails. But the figure differs in every report I see. The Voice of Palestine now says its 5,300 including 22 lawmakers and 9 women. 22 have spent more than 25 years behind bars, which puts Shalit’s piddling 5 years into sharper context.

Want to hear something even more disgusting? According to figures released by the Israeli Prison Service and Defence of Children International-Palestine, at the end of September 2011 there were 164 Palestinian children (12 to 17 years) detained by Israel, including 35 between the ages of 12 and 15 years.

Probably for throwing stones at their tanks.

By all accounts Shalit was returned in good condition. He can thank his lucky stars he wasn’t treated like the Israelis treated 15 years-old Benan Oudeh, whose testicles had to be amputated after he’d been badly tortured on suspicion of throwing stones at Israeli troops occupying his West Bank home town of Qalqilya in 1989.

There are countless reports of how Israelis enjoy inflicting physical abuse such as sleep deprivation and suspending prisoners – even children – for long periods in agonising positions; and countless complaints from victims who say they were severely beaten and deprived of food, water and medical treatment or access to bathrooms.

If the sentence for throwing stones at invading troops is imprisonment and mashed testicles, what should be the punishment for firing tank shells at innocent civilians?

Stuart Littlewood

23 October 2011

Stuart Littlewood´s book “Radio Free Palestine” can now be read on the internet at:


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