'Why save Haiti but not Schalit?'

Father says government should make deal for kidnapped soldier.

May 30, 2010 22:21
2 minute read.
Noam Schalit speaking

Noam Schalit speaking 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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A country that can save people in Haiti, can figure out how to free "my son," Noam Schalit told a conference of lawyers in Eilat on Sunday.

He spoke of the government's failure to rescue his son Gilad from the hands of his Hamas in Gaza where he is held captive.

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"Four years is enough time, more than enough by all accounts, to execute all of the alternative options" that the government has at its disposal, said the soldier's father.

Noam continued, “a government that knows how to send IDF forces [a field hospital] to Haiti to save the lives of people thousands of miles away — I am proud and happy that it did so — should know how to save the life of one of its soldiers located only a few kilometers from its borders."

It was hard for him to say it, Noam admitted, but even if his son was not released, the prisoners Hamas has demanded in exchange will eventually be freed.

"It's Gilad that we won't see again," said Noam.

"Don't tell us or the public" that Israel lacks the military might to overcome or neutralize any security risk that might be associate with a prisoner swap, said Noam.

Israel is supposed to be a nation of laws, said Noam. As such, "don't we have a responsibility to fight for Gilad's basic rights. In violation of international law, he has not seen light for four years.” His son, he said, has spent 1,435 days in captivity. The anniversary of his kidnapping on June 25, 2006, takes place at the end of next month.

During these four years, the only people who have spoken with Gilad are his captors, said Noam. Even the International Red Cross has not been allowed to visit him.

This government and the last one has "failed" to return him home, said Noam.

"He is calling out to us, his family and friends, the IDF and the government, but they have not answered," said Noam.

In the interim, he said, "Gilad is disappearing."

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