Schalit cardboard cutouts 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Schalit, the grandfather of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, said
Saturday that Defense Minister Ehud Barak is attempting to broker a
prisoner exchange with Hamas. Speaking at a rally held at Kerem Shalom,
the site where he was captured, he told the crowd that conflicts with
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were delaying progress, Israel Radio
marks exactly five years since Schalit was kidnapped in a cross-border
raid. Despite many attempts by international agencies, his family has
been completely denied access to him.
Group protests state’s failure to bring Schalit home
Hamas: Revoking prisoners' privileges is against int'l law
with the somber anniversary, the United States on Friday called on
Hamas to "release [kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit] immediately,"
criticizing the Gaza group's violation of "international humanitarian
US joined France, and Ban Ki-moon of the UN Friday calling for the
soldier's immediate release on humanitarian grounds, criticizing the
groups disregard for a recent International Red Cross call on Hamas to
allow Schalit's family contact with their son who is entering his sixth
year in captivity on June 25.
"has not forgotten Gilad Schalit," French Foreign Affairs Minister
Alain Juppe said on Friday in a special communique published on the
website of the French Embassy in Israel, a day before the Schalit family
marks five years since their son was captured by Hamas.
eve of the sad anniversary of the fifth year of Gilad Schalit's
captivity, I want to reiterate that the situation of our compatriot,
held in defiance of the most basic principles of international
humanitarian law, is unacceptable," Juppe said in the statement. "It is
also unique: Gilad Schalit is, today, the French hostage who has been
held in captivity the longest."
French foreign minister added, "We've mobilized our partners and
continue to work tirelessly for [Schalit's] release, in coordination
with other ongoing mediation efforts."
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Paris continues to demand that the Red Cross be allowed to visit Schalit, Juppe said.
Gilad Schalit, there is no Arab Spring: The wind of freedom blowing
through the region has not reached him. Nobody can be indifferent to the
drama he and his family have experienced for nearly five years now.
Meanwhile, officials in the Gaza Strip said that meeting their demands is the only way the captive soldier can be returned home.
Spokesman for Gaza's Popular Resistance Committee Abu Mujahid said that Schalit will not be released until all of his captors' demands are met, Army Radio reported. He also mentioned French involvement in efforts to release Schalit while threatening more kidnappings. "Gilad was not kidnapped in Paris - he was a soldier whose mission was to kill women and children," Abu Mujahid said.
Earlier this week, 12 human rights organizations called for an immediate end to Hamas's "inhumane and illegal treatment" of the captured soldier.
mark the fifth year of Schalit's captivity, Amnesty International said
in a press release that it is circulating a petition to its activists
worldwide demanding that Hamas ease the suffering of Gilad and his
family. The petition will be presented to Hamas prime minister in Gaza
General of the UN Ban Ki-moon also called on Friday for the immediate
release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, pledging continued
support of the UN for achieving this goal.
Ban also joined the
International Red Cross in calling on Hamas to protect Schalit's life,
treat him humanely, prove that he is alive, and provide his family with
the ability to have contact with their son.
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