Martyrs, Courtesy of Egypt TV and Gilad Shalit

Disgraceful, contemptible, forced, humiliating, artificial, violent - Israeli anchors spared Egyptian state TV nothing, and lost no opportunity to run the footage of the interview again and again.

Israel's media people professed outrage at the interview that Egyptian journalist Shahira Amin conducted with Gilad Shalit mere moments after his release, which spared them from introspection.

Disgraceful, contemptible, forced, humiliating, artificial, violent - Israeli anchors spared Egyptian state TV nothing, and lost no opportunity to run the footage of the interview again and again. So far the only direct quotes from Shalit himself are from that interview, by the way.

Gilad Shalit - AP - 18.10.2011
Gilad Schalit being interviewed by Egypt TV, Oct. 18, 2011. AP

The day before he came back, Israel's media outlets signed a treaty dictated by the Israel Defense Forces, with the imprimatur of the Shalit family, the Israel Press Council and the Tel Aviv Journalists Association. All Israeli newspapers, websites and TV channels vowed to eschew taking photos or video footage that would invade the privacy of the Shalits for 10 days after his return, unless they had the Shalits' explicit permission.

Their signature on that treaty has elevated Israel's journalists practically to sainthood. It stops them from interviewing the soldier, returned after more than five years' captivity, unless he wants it. They voluntarily chained themselves to a declaration of humanity and compassion.

With this rare undertaking, Israel's most predatory reporters have voluntarily made themselves martyrs and as such, they watch the Egyptian interview and growl "Foul." But one has to wonder what irks them the most: the fact that the interview smacks of yet another interrogation by Hamas, or the fact that they lost out on being first to interview Shalit.

The despicable interview is deserving of censure, as is the conduct of Israeli journalists in other cases. For instance, "interviews" obtained by fraud, without consent, with army widows including Karnit Goldwasser and Shlomit Peretz; or calling Rona Ramon, widow of astronaut Ilan Ramon, to get her first reaction to the news - which she thereby learned - that her son Assaf's plane had crashed and he was dead.

The treaty has enabled the Israeli media to stress a false narrative that they love to tell, in contrast to less comfortable facts, that they are ethical, mindful of human rights and respectful of privacy, while Egyptian state TV abused Shalit.

Shahira Amin - October 2011
Shahira Amin.

If not for his powerful quotes from the interview with Amin, Israel's top journalists might well have ignored the treaty and done everything in their power to be first to access him. We shall never know. Egyptian TV spared us from that knowledge.

Watching Gilad Shalit on Egyptian TV was painful and infuriating. The heart went out to him. Stop it! But on second thought, that interview, which lasted but a few minutes, gave him a respite ahead of the onslaught, as hundreds of reporters and photographers start the chase.