'No more aid to Gaza until we know about Gilad'
Thousands expected to partake in rally near Kerem Shalom on Sunday in protest of decision to allow supplies into Gaza while negotiations for Shalit stagnated. 'It's unacceptable to see goods and money and food being sent across when we don't even know if Gilad is alive,' says organizer
"We consider Hamas and the Red Cross responsible for the wellbeing and fate of Gilad Shalit," Yoel Marshak of the Kibbutz movement told Ynet ahead of Sunday's solidarity rally at Kerem Shalom, near the spot where Gilad Shalit was kidnapped in June 2006.
Rally organizers are expecting thousands to head southward for the event, which will commence in the early morning hours near the Kerem Shalom goods crossing. The objective of the demonstration, said the organizers, was to protest the decision to allow supplies into the Gaza Strip while the negotiations for Shalit's release were stagnated.
"Our goal is to make it clear to Hamas and the Red Cross that it's unacceptable to see goods and money and food being sent across when we don't even know if Gilad Shalit is alive," said Marshak. "The other side needs to understand that we can't do this any longer without knowing about Gilad."
During the rally a letter written by parents from Shalit's hometown of Mitzpe Hila will be sent to Gazan parents whose sons are imprisoned in Israeli jails.
"We understand you pain as parents whose sons, that which is most precious to them, is being held on our side… we promise, for our part at least, to do as much as we can to try and influence our leadership, in the hopes that you will do the same," write the parents, calling on their Palestinian counterparts to rise above the conflict in the effort to bring the sons home.
Towards the afternoon a convoy of vehicles, accompanied by some 60 small airplanes, will converge on the spot where Shalit was kidnapped from. Gilad's father, Noam Shalit, is slated to address the crowd. Several MKs will also attend the event.
'Principles change, values don't'
"What we have is a war between principles and values," chairman of the Eshkol Regional Council. Chaim Yelin, told Ynet. "The principle being that Israel does not free prisoners will blood on their hands, and this stands conflicted against the value of never leaving a wounded man behind, or a captive in the enemy's hands.
"It's important to understand that principles change over the years, but values are fundamental – and the moment you change them, you change the character of an entire people. The character of the Jewish
people cannot be changed. All you need in negotiations is to give. It's in our hands and only in our hands, not Hamas' or Egypt's," said Yelin.
Miri Arbiv, a resident of Be'er Sheva who will be attending the event said: "I'm going mostly to support the family, they need to know they're not alone in this… there needs to be a single front on this, one that unites left and right, religious and secular, and calls on the government to do what is necessary to bring him home."