Noam Schalit implores UN reps on behalf of his son

Kidnapped soldier's father says Gilad should be freed before Palestinians can push for UN recognition of a state.

By JORDANA HORN
September 8, 2011 21:33
2 minute read.
Noam Schalit

Noam Schalit 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)

NEW YORK – Noam Schalit, father of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, held a press conference at the United Nations on Thursday, speaking of his meetings with UN officials and ambassadors to highlight that his son’s more than five years of imprisonment by Hamas in the Gaza Strip violates international humanitarian law.

Schalit said he and family members met with UN officials as well as ambassadors from the US, France, Russia, Italy and many other countries, but that their request, made through the French ambassador’s office, to speak with the Palestinian permanent UN observer, was rebuffed.

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“My family is calling on all members of the international community to demand that the Palestinian Authority demonstrate its commitment to upholding international law,” including assuming responsibility for Gilad Schalit, his father said. “We hope that the UN as the conscience of the world will stand up for our son’s human rights.”

Noam Schalit said Egypt was currently trying to reassert a lead role in negotiations for his son’s freedom.

Schalit emphasized that he and his family were appealing to UN officials and ambassadors as a family rather than as representatives of the State of Israel.

He said, however, that the anticipated Palestinian push for UN recognition this month should not go without consideration of the fate of his 25-year-old son, who has remained in Hamas captivity for more than 1,900 days.

“Before joining the international community and before joining the UN as an international institution, they should abide by international law,” Schalit told reporters. “I think that’s very basic.

“They cannot on the one hand seek legitimacy and the recognition of the international community, and on the other hand perpetuate this major and grave violation of international law,” he said. “It doesn’t go together. It’s just as simple as that.”

When asked whether Gilad Schalit’s case could be furthered by the prospect of Palestinian UN recognition, in that the Palestinians might be held more culpable for the deeds of Hamas than they are currently, the senior Schalit said, “We are not willing to wait until there will be any vote in the UN or resolutions by the UN. They have to stop it now, before appealing to the international community.”


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