Schalit family issues harsh criticisms of Netanyahu

In separate interviews, Gilad Schalit's father and grandfather condemn government's inability to bring their son home.

May 11, 2011 09:50
1 minute read.
Yoel Schalit interrupts Independence Day ceremony

Yoel Schalit Protest 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Following a public protest by Yoel Schalit, captured IDF soldier Gilad's brother, at Monday's Independence Day ceremony on Mt. Herzl, other members of the Schalit family are taking new steps to keep their issue in the public eye.

On Wednesday, Noam Schalit issued a blistering criticism to Army Radio concerning the current government, saying "the only thing this administration knows how to do is create fear of terror attacks among the public when it comes to discussing a prisoner exchange."

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'All efforts to be made for Schalit but not at any price'
Schalit's brother storms Independence Day ceremony

Noam told Army Radio that holidays continue to be especially difficult for his family. "We are still waiting for Gilad to celebrate those holidays with him," he said, adding that as the five-year anniversary of Gilad's abduction approaches, he has decided to amp up his campaign to secure his son's release. "I don't like to make threats, but we don't really have a choice," he said.

Also on Wednesday, Gilad Schalit's grandfather Zvi told Israel Radio that Yoel's public outburst was a result of frustration caused by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's lack of action on the issue.

On Sunday, during a Remembrance Day speech at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said Israel was working behind the scenes for the captive soldier’s return.

Noam Schalit and his wife, Aviva, spent Independence Day in their protest tent across from the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, where they have maintained a vigil for the past 10 months.

But Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, speaking on France 24 television Monday, blamed Netanyahu for the delay in securing Schalit’s release.

“We hope negotiations will start again and I hope Netanyahu will not force us to kidnap other Israeli soldiers,” Mashaal said. “If the only way to release our prisoners is the imprisonment of more Israeli soldiers, then Israeli authorities and Netanyahu will have to bear the consequences of not having released our Palestinian prisoners.”

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