Noam Shalit, father of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad, sent a letter Thursday to Hamas politburo chief in Damascus, Khaled Mashaal, urging him to agree to the proposal presented by the German mediator and accept the release of some 1,000 prisoners in exchange for his son's release.
Shalit noted that the agreement would also ease the suffering of Gaza's population, which has been under siege since the abduction. He sent the letter to mark "Palestinian Prisoners Day," to be commemorated in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Saturday.
"A few months ago, the mediator, sent by the German government and Chancellor Angela Merkel, presented another prisoner exchange proposal which would have put an end to the suffering of thousands of Palestinian citizens," Shalit wrote.
"This proposal was approved by the Israeli government, and included the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for my son Gilad Shalit. Of these, 450 are those whose names were given by the Hamas leadership. In addition, it is clear to all that the deal will result in the immediate release of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip from the harsh limitations on trade in and out of the Strip, and from the suffering they have been subject to for a number of years, as a direct result of the imprisonment of my son Gilad for four years."
He said preventing the release of the prisoners, in line with the "generous deal", is nothing less than another jail sentence for those same prisoners slated to be released and for their families.
Shalit also wrote that holding his son in current conditions as a bargaining chip, without any basic human rights, is a clear violation of international law.
"I must remind you that the Goldstone committee, recognized and even encouraged in its work by you, has recently unequivocally determined that Gilad must be released, and that until then he must be granted elementary human rights," Shalit wrote. "In addition, the European Parliament, in an unprecedented majority decision on March 11 supported by all parties, also determined that Gilad must be released immediately and must be granted rights as required by law and international treaties."
At the end of the letter Shalit called on Mashaal "To rise above Hamas' political interests, and for the sake of the Palestinian prisoners and the welfare of the Palestinian nation, to demonstrate leadership, to convene the Hamas leaders, and to approve the generous German offer immediately."
The letter was sent to the movement's offices in Damascus via email and fax.