It’s true, the Gilad Shalit shirt is all the rage among young people in Gaza. University students of both genders can’t stop talking about the checkered blue and white number Shalit wore when he was released from captivity two weeks ago. So I went to the into a local men’s store and looked around, in an attempt to see Gaza’s latest fashion trend with my own eyes. There it was, displayed in every color but navy blue. The store clerk smiled broadly when I asked if the Gilad Shalit shirt was available and he took out several packets and displayed them for me so I could photograph them.
Why are Palestinians rushing to wear a shirt identified with Israel’s most famous soldier, I asked three university students on Sunday (who had brought up the fashion trend on their own)? They smiled and talked about how cool the shirt was.
“Is it because those who wear it get their freedom?” I posited. The loved it.
As of August 2011, prior to the 477 prisoners released in the recent swap, Israel held 5,204 Palestinians in Israeli prisons. Of these, 31 are Palestinian children under the age of 16, 145 are children between 16 – 18, and 270 are in administrative detention — held without charge or trial. Israel has held thousands of Palestinians in administrative detention over the years. 1.6 million Palestinians remain locked in the Gaza Strip.