Noam Shalit, father of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday and urged the body, which was responsible for appointed the Goldstone Commission, to demand Hamas give his son his basic rights according to the Geneva Convention and work to secure his release.
Shalit, who arrived in Geneva, Switzerland with his wife Aviva, spoke as a representative of the Women's International Zionist Organization. He outlined to his audience the details of the kidnapping from his son's post in Kerem Shalom in June 2006 and added, "Today, almost four years later, our son remains a reward in Hamas captivity, and serves as a bargaining chip for the release of prisoners. No one knows if he is healthy, no one knows where he is being held, he is deprived of daylight, he is deprived of his basic human rights."
Noam and Aviva Shalit in Geneva (Photo: AFP)
Shalit noted that Judge Richard Goldstone, who headed the organization's commission, "Was clear with regards to Gilad, and his recommendations were immediate: He called for Gilad to receive visits from the Red Cross, he called for Gilad to be allowed to make contact with us – his parents. He called for Gilad's release."
According to Shalit, Hamas did not comply with the recommendations. "Hamas did not do any of these things, despite its telling the UN Human Rights Council that it is holding Gilad in accordance with the Third Geneva Convention.
"We are not politicians, we are not representatives of the Israeli government. We are parents," he said. "We are here to speak, with the support of the international WIZO organization that cares for women and children, families, all around the world.
"We are here to speak with the support of 500 million citizens of the democratic European Union, that have called for Gilad's release via a parliament decision in Strasbourg. We are here to speak with the support of the UN secretary general, who urged for Gilad's release on humanitarian grounds. We are here to speak with the support of civilized countries, which condemn kidnapping and extortion."
Addressing his audience, he urged the body that approved the Goldstone Report to "prove its honesty, and demand Hamas stand by its word, and allow Gilad to receive the rights of a prisoner of war. To insist that Hamas releases our son. To insist on these things. Otherwise, the failure will be not only ours, but yours as well."