US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice met with Noam Schalit in New York on Wednesday, calling on Hamas to immediately release his son, kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

"I was honored to meet with Noam Schalit today, 1,900 days after his son, Gilad, was taken captive," Rice said in a statement. "During this period, Hamas has held Gilad hostage and without access by the International Committee of the Red Cross, in violation of international humanitarian standards and basic decency," she added.

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"I expressed to Mr. Schalit the solidarity of the United States with him and his family, and I reiterated our strongest condemnation of his son’s detention. As I have said repeatedly in the UN Security Council, Hamas must immediately and unconditionally release Gilad Shalit," Rice stated.

In the presence of Noam Schalit, Israeli Consul-General Ido Aharoni and New York City political leaders and Jewish leaders, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn proclaimed Wednesday, September 7, “Gilad Schalit Day” in New York City. Schalit’s father intends to meet this week with UN ambassadors before this month’s UN General Assembly session, advocating on behalf of his son.

San Francisco’s Mayor Edwin Lee declared this past August 28 “Gilad Schalit Day” in that city. That was Schalit’s 25th birthday, and his sixth in captivity. The New York event struck a chord with New York political figures.

“There is a great friendship between New York City and Israel, so it was important to us to recognize the horror of Gilad’s continued imprisonment, and to stand united with his family and all of Israel in seeking his safe return,” New York City Councilman Daniel Garodnick told The Jerusalem Post. “As a new father, I cannot imagine what the Schalit family must be going through.”

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