Shalit family presses cabinet to include Gilad in deal
Parents of captive soldier step up pressure on cabinet ministers scheduled to convene on Wednesday not to accept ceasefire agreement that does not stipulate their son's release. 'This opportunity must not be missed,' they say in written statement
Less than 12 hours before the cabinet convenes to discuss the long-term ceasefire agreement with Hamas, Gilad Shalit's family has intensified its pressure on the ministers, demanding their son's release from captivity be the first and foremost condition stipulated in any future deal.
In a statement issued Tuesday evening, the family said the current dealings with Hamas are the last
chance Gilad has.
"Our family calls on the prime minister and all cabinet ministers to insist on this condition and not miss this opportunity, as was the case with previous deals, like the Tahadiya (lull) agreement," they wrote.
"Israel has extended numerous humanitarian gestures since Gilad was taken captive – including the transfer of medicines and treatment of wounded persons and more, all while Gilad has not received a singe humanitarian gesture and has never been visited by a Red Cross representative; for many long months now there has been no physical proof he is even alive."
Noam Shalit, Gilad's father, told Channel 2 in an interview Tuesday evening: "We turn to the cabinet, which tomorrow will be asked to support the prime minister's proposal to tie the prisoner-exchange deal regarding Gilad as a condition, and to make it the number one priority for any deal that includes other things such as opening the crossings and other issues related to the Gaza Strip.
"A lack of decision on bringing him back as part of (this) deal will seal his fate for many months or maybe
In their first comments on recent statements made by bereaved families objecting to the release of Palestinian prisoners as part of a swap in exchange for Gilad, the Shalits noted that their family has also known bereavement - Noam's twin brother Yoel was killed in the Yom Kippur War.
"The Shalit family's heart is with the bereaved families. As a bereaved family, no one understands the meaning of freeing prisoners with blood on their hands as we do. But Gilad can still be saved and not become another Ron Arad."