Noam Schalit with Spanish, French FMs 311.
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
The European Union has not done enough to pressure Hamas to release Gilad Schalit, the captive soldier’s father, Noam, told reporters on Sunday night.
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“When there is a need to pressure Israel, the European Union knows how to do that very well,” Schalit said.
He spoke after meeting briefly with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos. The two men visited Noam and his wife, Aviva, at the protest tent located just outside the prime minister’s Jerusalem residence, where they exchanged pleasantries with the couple who has waited for their son’s return since he was first captured on the Gaza border in June 2006.
Indirect negotiations with Hamas to exchange 1,000 security prisoners for Schalit broke down last year and there has been no significant progress since.
Kouchner noted that Gilad is both a French and an Israeli citizen.
Speaking briefly in French, Noam pointed to the projected image on the building across the street, which stated the number of days his son had been held in his captors’ hands: 1,568.
Noam told the two men and later reporters that he was grateful for the visit, particularly since the tent they sat in during the visit had been set up to protest government inaction with respect to Gilad.
“They came here as a sign of support for our protest against the prime minister,” Noam said.
are important players in the European Union,” he noted, adding that he
had asked the ministers to continue to pressure Hamas.
“They promised that they are placing pressure [on Hamas],” said Noam. “In my opinion it is not enough.”
Before getting into his vehicle, a reporter asked Kouchner if there “is there any hope [of securing Schalit’s release].”
“There is always hope,” responded Kouchner.