March reaches Netanya
Photo: AFP

Aviva Shalit: Cost determined by government

March for kidnapped soldier's release arrives in Caesarea for Shabbat ceremony outside Prime Minister's Residence. 'We never asked for release at all costs,' mother says. 'Four years of talks have gone by, nothing has happened'

A march for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit reached the residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Caesarea on Friday, where the Shalit family and their many supporters held a Shabbat ceremony – with one empty chair.


Aviva Shalit, the mother of the kidnapped soldier, responded to a speech by Netanyahu in which he said Israel would not pay any price for the release of her son.  

Activists march for Shalit (Photo: Lior Hass)


"We never asked for release at all costs, the cost was determined by the Israeli government. Now we are saying enough!" the mother said.


Activists for Shalit's release have been holding Shabbat ceremonies in front of Netanyahu's home and Jerusalem office for a number of months.


"Thousands of people who have supported us and marched with us over the past week stand behind us," Aviva Shalit said at the opening of the ceremony.


"Four long years of negotiations have gone by and nothing has happened. During this time terrorists were released and closure was imposed on Gaza. Mr. Prime minister, on Friday families will sit down to Shabbat dinner, and Gilad will sit in a hole in Gaza, God knows where, as he has for four years."


Some 10,000 people escorted the Shalits to the Sharon region city of Netanya on Friday morning as part of the family's 12-day protest march to Jerusalem, the police said. They were greeted with applause by Netanya's residents on the city's main Herzl Street. According to the march's organizers, 17,000 took part in the procession.


"More and more people understand that what we have done so far is not enough," said Shimshon Liebman, head of the Shalit campaign.


"It appears that the prime minister is not available to absorb what the people are trying to tell him," he told Ynet. "There is nothing here, no statement against the prime minister, just a crowd saying that it's time to return Gilad. We want to give the prime minister the power, and show him that there is a public which will give him the strength to make the right decision eventually."


פרסום ראשון: 07.02.10, 20:52
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