Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

The case of Gilad Shalit

Delivered in Plenary - 11th March 2010

Mr President

Staff Sergeant Gilad Shalit has now been held hostage by the Jihadi fanatics of Hamas for over three years. Hamas claims it is a legal actor observing the Geneva Conventions and therefore he is a prisoner of war, but Israel, in my view rightly, regards him as an abductee from the moment he was seized. Irrespective of his legal status and international law, he has been cruelly kept incommunicado in Gaza, deprived of any contact with the outside world and even denied Red Cross access, which the Geneva Conventions mandate. His family has no information about his well-being beyond one video and sporadic indication from Hamas that he is still alive and well.

If Hamas has any claim to be taken seriously by the international community, it should at least now show unequivocally that the conditions of his incarceration adhere to international humanitarian laws.

But we demand more than that. We demand his immediate and unconditional release. I make no secret of my opposition to dialogue with the terrorists of Hamas, an organisation committed to Israelís annihilation, but, if we are ever to deal with Hamas, it must only be after Gilad Shalit has been liberated from his squalid captivity.