Noam Shalit. Public frustrated
Photo: Mati Elmaliach

You had 2 years without demonstrations, Shalit tells Barak

Kidnapped soldier's father responds to defense minister's warning that rallies calling for Gilad Shalit's release may raise price demanded by terror groups. 'The government had almost two and a half years to bring Gilad back without protests, but they failed to do it,' he says

Noam Shalit, the father of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit responded angrily Sunday to Defense Minister Ehud Barak's criticism against demonstrations calling for the captive's release.


"The government had almost two and a half years to bring Gilad back without demonstrations and without protests, but failed to do so," Shalit told Ynet on his way to a rally at the Kerem Shalom crossing, where his son was kidnapped in June 2006.


Barak said earlier in an interview with Army Radio that "the demonstrations require thought, as we should think about signaling to the other side in a way that will not raise the price rather than drop it.


"As for the demonstration itself, I understand these people. As an IDF chief of staff and a person who commanded fighters for decades, I feel the need to bring Gilad home safe. It's an issue which I lose sleep over night after night. Not one day goes by without me dealing with this issue."

Protestors block crossing (Photo: Tsafrir Abayov)


According to Noam Shalit, the protests are the result of Israeli citizens' frustration over the fact that Gilad has yet to return. He noted that the family members were not responsible for the demonstrations.


"The demonstrations are organized by people from all levels of society who have had enough, and apparently do not believe the leaders who say that these demonstrations will raise the price."

Shalit went on to slam the ongoing transfer of goods and funds into the Gaza Strip.


"In Gaza everything is fine. Israel is transferring plenty of goods of the best kind. Nothing is missing in Gaza today, but Hamas keeps toughening its stance," he said.


Rally to be held Sunday afternoon

Dozens of protestors blocked the Kerem Shalom goods crossing for three hours on Sunday morning, stopping dozens of trucks from entering the Gaza Strip and raising signs reading, "Gilad is still alive."


The demonstrators, who also set tires on fire, were protesting the decision to allow goods into the Gaza Strip while the negotiations for the release of the kidnapped soldier are stagnated.


The truck drivers showed their solidarity with the rally's organizers, wearing shirts with Shalit's picture.


"We are with Gilad Shalit. As far as we are concerned, the goods can go to hell. The main thing is that he returns home," said Ahmed Fawzi, a truck driver from Rahat.


Another driver joined him by saying, "The closing of the crossing hurts our livelihood, but it worth it if Gilad returns."


Shalit's family members are expected to take part in a mass rally scheduled to be held in the area Sunday afternoon.


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 Knesset members will also attend the event.


Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into the Gaza Strip 847 days ago.


פרסום ראשון: 10.19.08, 11:28
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