Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Shalit Was Coerced into Potemkin 'Interview'

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Shalit Was Coerced into Potemkin 'Interview'

Article excerpt

"Hamas treated me well," Gilad Shalit told the interviewer this morning, a line well suited to Hamas apologists. Max Blumenthal is game to use it, and chastises the U.S. media for focusing on Shalit himself for the human-interest element of the storyclearly a political decision, since as we know human-interest stories aren't what sell papersand not mentioning the broader context of the occupation, nor the stories of some of the Palestinian prisoners who were freed or some of those who weren't so lucky. (And speaking of context, Blumenthal chooses not to include the context of why Hamas was in a position to be treating Shalit well in the first place: namely that it had kidnapped him in 2006. Maybe he expects his readers to know that already. I expect most readers to know about the occupation already.)

Here's what Blumenthal doesn't mention: that the "interview" this morning on an Egyptian television network was the final sadistic nail in the coffin of the five-plus years' captivity of a teenage Israeli soldier. To be very clear, the interview was not agreed to by Israelthe original plan was for Shalit to be in Egypt for less than 15 minutes, merely an intermediate point between Gaza and Israeland the Israeli government is shocked and appalled by the propagandistic spectacle (the English-language interviewer asked Shalit leading questions about Egypt's indispensable role in brokering the deal and whether more Palestinian prisoners should be free). If you watch the video and see this poor kid barely able to keep his eyes open and wanting only to see the family he's been kept away from for a fifth of his life, you will be shocked and appalled, too. …

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