Gilad Shalit. Almost four years in captivity
Reproduction photo: Amit Magal
Noam Shalit. No more clichés
Photo: Yaron Brener

Shalit family boosts struggle 'to save our son'

Kidnapped soldier's parents plan to march to PM's Jerusalem residence from their northern home, promise 'not to return without Gilad'

Not giving up: The parents of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, Noam and Aviva, announced Monday that they have decided to boost the struggle "to save our son", who has been held by Hamas for almost four years now.


The family members and campaign activists convened a press conference in Tel Aviv to explain the nature of the new struggle, which will aimed at increasing the public pressure on the government to bring Gilad home.


"We are launching a public struggle," Noam Shalit said. "We won't let another year and another year pass, as we have done in the past. We call on the wide public to join us in our battle."


Next week, the family is expected to mark four years since their son was taken captive at the Kerem Shalom crossing. The parents stressed their disappointment with the governments' conduct since the abduction and their failure to release Gilad.


The captive's father slammed the political echelon, saying that "for four years we seen had two prime ministers, two defense ministers and two chief of staffs fail in returning Gilad – an IDF soldier who was sent on a mission and did not come back.


"In the current situation, unfortunately, it's a comfortable situation for the decision makers and leaders to have Gilad remain in the Hamas cellars, and they continue to claim that everything has been done for him and that not one day passes without something being done, and all those clichés. But in practice nothing is happening, and each one hopes that his successor will have to deal with the problem."

Noam and Aviva Shalit during press conference (Photo: Yaron Brener)


During the press conference, the family delivered details on additional events marking the abduction's fourth anniversary, including a protest march from the captive's home in the northern community of Mitzpe Hila to the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem.


"We cannot wait any longer. On June 27 we will leave our home in Mitzpe Hila and march by foot towards the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, and we promise – we will only return home with Gilad," Noam Shalit said.


He added that he refuses to accept "the statements that our activity is hurting Gilad's release. Past experience shows that even when we kept a low profile nothing happened." He added that history proved, especially in the Ron Arad case, that the terrorists Hamas wants to see released would be freed sooner or later.


The captive's father went on to speak about "groundless horror scenarios", saying that "in conversations with defense officials we were told that such a risk can be taken. Can't the State of Israel, with its glorious security organizations deal with several hundreds of released terrorists?"


Hamas still refusing visits

Noam Shalit said last week that he still hoped and believed that the pressure on the Palestinian population in Gaza would convince Hamas to return his son. Speaking shortly after Palestinians reports of an Israeli ease of restrictions on goods transferred to the Strip, the captive's father said that finalizing a prisoner exchange deal would lead to the end of the blockade and the entry of goods.


This will allow for rebuilding the ruins in Gaza in wake of Operation Cast Lead and will free it from the political and economic chokehold," he said at the Amisrael organization's Jerusalem International Conference attended by parliamentarians and representatives from 21 Latin American states.


Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal said over the weekend that the Gaza siege should not be linked to the Shalit issue. He added that Shalit was a prisoner like all other Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and rejected any possibility of Red Cross visits.


Gilad Shalit was kidnapped to the Gaza Strip 1,450 days ago


Ahiya Raved contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 06.14.10, 08:43
 new comment
This will delete your current comment