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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The EU's shameful silence on Khader Adnan

What does the European Union have to say about the plight of Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan? Not one word.

I have just entered Adnan’s name into the search facility on the website for the EU’s diplomatic service. The result: zero hits. A moment later, I searched under the words “Gilad Shalit” and received 230 hits.

Catherine Ashton, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, publicly sympathised with the family of Shalit at every conceivable opportunity, never acknowledging that the Israeli soldier belonged to an army of occupation and was taking part in acts of aggression against the Palestinian people when he was captured. Does she regard his life as more important than that of Adnan, a man in detention without being charged or convicted of an offence?

Is she more worried about the oppressor, than the oppressed? It would appear so.

Almost 12 hours ago, I contacted Ashton’s office, requesting an urgent explanation for her silence on Adnan’s hunger strike. I have still not received a response.

Too busy?

Perhaps her advisors too busy with matters they consider more pressing than the imminent death of a prisoner. Yet on Monday, her team was able to drop whatever other work it was doing and hastily respond to the attacks on Israeli embassies in India and Georgia.
That same day, she (or her aides) found time to express concern about how Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi have now been under house arrest for an entire year. Her statement noted (properly) that these men – and Moussavi’s wife Zahra Rahnavard – have been detained “without any legal process.”

Khader Adnan is in jail without any legal process. Why has Ashton not protested at his treatment?

Dignity and freedom

Marking Human Rights Day in December 2011, Ashton recalled that “human rights are universal and that people everywhere aspire to live in dignity and freedom.”

Khader Adnan is undertaking a courageous and awe-inspiring protest to defend the rights of Palestinians to live in dignity and freedom.

And what does Catherine Ashton have to say? Not one miserable word.

●First published by The Electronic Intifada, 15 February 2012.

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