VIDEO - Kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit's father urged the government to take action during a Jerusalem rally marking two years since his son was abducted on the Gaza Strip border.
"We say to the prime minister and on the Israeli government – the time of eloquent statements and spins is over. The time has come for action," Noam Shalit said Wednesday.
"Gilad has been held captive in complete solitude, in the dark, for 730 nights in an ongoing nightmare, without seeing daylight and disconnected from his surroundings," he added.
Turning to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Shalit accused him of delaying his son's release.
"Mr. Prime Minister, you had two whole years for negotiations, for bargaining, for checking options, even for talking to Hamas. With unbelievable clumsiness, you failed to work for my son's release," he stated.
"Now is the time for a decision. It's now or never," Shalit stressed. "You don’t have all the time in the world. Gilad's life is in danger. If this failure to act continues, we may not have who to save. He has pleaded us to release him from this nightmare. You sent him to defend the homeland, and now your moral and superior duty is to bring him back home."
Video courtesy of infolive.tv
Addressing former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon's recent statement regarding the heavy price of a prisoner swap deal, Shalit noted, "I've said this in the past, no one has the moral right, regardless of whether he is a politician, a public activist or a retired chief of staff. Any person who makes such remarks should put himself in my shoes."
Noam Shalit at Jerusalem rally (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)
Shalit took advantage of the rally in order to call on Hamas to treat his son in a humane manner and work for his release.
"Holding a person hostage, any person, without a doctor's supervision, without the possibility of seeing daylight, without allowing his family to contact him – this is something serious forbidden by Islam. It is also a crime against the person.
"I call on Hamas, come to Cairo and hold negotiations with us. Completing the negotiations will allow hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to breath with relief," he said.
'Not enough being done for Gilad'
Hezi Shai, who was taken hostage during the first Lebanon War and was held in captivity for three years, also spoke during the rally. He said that the State was failing to exert the same efforts exerted in the past, but added that hoped Shalit was surviving.
"I hope Gilad believes, like I did, that the State is doing everything for him. I really believed that, but today not enough is being done for his release. They are forcibly trying to lower the price. This is wrong and unworthy. I believe we are simply not doing enough."
On Monday, The High Court of Justice dismissed a petition filed by the Shalit family against the ceasefire agreement between Israel and armed Palestinian groups in Gaza, which went into effect Thursday morning.
The Shalit family filed the appeal after it was made know that it did not include a prisoner exchange deal that would bring Gilad home.
Gilad's father said following the court's ruling that the family has yet to decide on what its next steps will be. "I just heard about it (ruling) on the news. I don’t know what to do next or how to react," Noam Shalit told Ynet.
The Shalit issue was also discussed during a meeting between Prime Minister Olmert and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh on Tuesday. According to a senior source in Olmert's entourage, Mubarak vowed to keep the Rafah crossing closed until the Shalit issue is resolved.
Tomer Weinberg, who traveled with kidnapped soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in the vehicle attacked by Hizbullah on the Lebanon border, strongly slammed the government's handling of the negotiations for the captives' release.
"I am totally confused and cannot understand how the government gives them an offer, claiming it is the last one, and two days later says it will declare them fallen soldiers, with no proof that they are dead. I was in the vehicle with them and I believe they are alive," he said during the rally.
Weinberg added, "I am shocked by the way things are handled in this country. How can a deal which was already finalized be missed? It's the Israeli government's fault. I always questioned the negotiations, but last week I had some hope, and now it's ruined too.
"They are playing with the families and friends' feelings. This deal is not only about Udi and Eldad, but about the State's values as well."
Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into the Gaza Strip 730 days ago.