To: Harper, Stephen (Right Hon.)
CC: Kenney, Jason (Hon.) , Kent, Peter (Hon.) , Cannon, Lawrence (Hon.) , MacKay, Peter Gordon (Hon.) , Ignatieff, Michael, Rae, Bob (Hon.) , Cotler, Irwin (Hon.) , Layton, Jack (Hon.), Chow, Olivia, Dewar, Paul
Right Hon. Prime Minister Harper,
I am a proud Canadian citizen that moved to Israel last year. A large factor in the move was the Ontario Government's decision that not all religions are equal when it comes to education. I still keep a close watch on the Canadian political scene. During the last Federal election, I received dozens of phone calls regarding eligibility and how to cast a ballot from over seas.
I am proud of the Canadian Government's record when it was a member of the United Nations Human Right Council. Consistantly Canada would try to focus on Human Rights issues from around the world, instead of the narrow minded focus often taken by the UNHRC. Canada was a leader in trying to focus attention on the crisis in Darfur. When the UNHRC stood up and voted against resolutions that were unfair or biased. Many countries preferred to abstain instead of standing up for what their beliefs. Sometimes this meant standing alone. Even at the very end of the mandate, Canada tried to stop Somalia from receiving immunity from human rights abuse investigations by the UNHRC.
With the lead of the new administration in the United States, the Israeli/Palestinian issue has become a front and centre issue on the world stage. There is one issue that casts a shadow over any efforts to find a long term solution. An issue that is sometimes mentioned in passing but never treated as of critical importance. That issue is the plight of Gilad Shalit.
Shalit is about to spend his 4th birthday in captivity. In that time he has been a victim of gross violations of the Geneva Convention designed to protect his basic human rights. He has been denied access to the Red Cross. He has been denied communication with his parents. To add to the cruelity Hamas frequently releases statements suggesting hemay or not be alive. Before Operation Cast Lead, Hamas held a play performed before thousands of cheering spectators. An actor playing Shalit pleaded to be returned home to his Mommy and Daddy. This summer Hamas had summer camps for children where they reenacted the kidnapping. The entire country feels pain for the suffering of Gilad and his family.
The terms of his release are designed to cause more pain and suffering to Israelis. Since Shalit was kidnapped they have been demanding a 1000 for 1 trade including 450 prisoners serving life sentences. Some of the prisoners they want make the likes of Paul Bernardo look like a petty criminal. They include Ahlam Tamimi. She is serving 16 life sentences for her roll in the Sbarros Restaurant bombing. That attack included 5 members of one family including children aged 14, 4, 2. She has never expressed any remorse for the families she has destroyed. Also on the list is Abdallah Barghouti who is serving 67 life sentences for his role in bomb making in various attacks. Marwan Barghouti is serving 5 life sentences. He is has used his time in jail to position himself as possibly becoming the next leader of the 'moderate' Fatah party.
I urge the Canadian Government to take a more visible and proactive role in bringing Gilad Shalit home. As long as he suffers, the nation of Israel suffers. Please help bring him home safely and unconditionally.
Thank you for your help in dealing with this issue.