July 1, 2010
the foreign affairs council of the european union on 14th june 2010 issued a policy statement including gilad shalit whose significance is not generally recognised
at page 11, the council deals with gaza:
GAZA Council conclusions
3. The Council deplores the continuing acts of rocket fire. All those responsible must take immediate and concrete steps to cease and prevent such violence.
The Council calls on those holding the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to release him without delay. Hamas must also unconditionally allow ICRC access and end its interference with the operations of NGOs and UN agencies in Gaza.
no mention is made of the release of the 1,000 or so palestinian prisoners (in israel) with whom shalit's released is normally linked … the release is to be without delay, and no conditions are mentioned
the european union is sticking unequivocally to the position under international law, that shalit's imprisonment is illegal, while those of the palestinian prisoners is not
(a similar statement was issued on 8th december 2009, see page 9 of http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/111833.pdf)
(by contrast, the council of europe, a completely separate body to the eu, does link them … see the political affairs commitee report of 22/6/10 at http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc10/EDOC12308.htm on 22/6/2010:)
15. The Assembly urges Israelis and Palestinians to reach an agreement for the release of soldier Gilad Shalit and the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners.
fortunately, the council of europe, whose principal concerns are the european court of human rights, and various european regional conventions, does not appear to have any functions outside europe!)
the significance is that neither the european union (and, by implication, the quartet) nor mahmoud abbas are putting any pressure on israel to release palestinian prisoners in return for gilad shalit