Gilad Schalit in video 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé sent letters to Noam and Aviva Shalit on Sunday to mark the twenty-fifth birthday of their son, Gilad, who has been held in captivity by Hamas for more than five years.
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In the letters, the French leaders said they would do everything in their capacity to free Schalit. Sarkozy's letter was addressed to Gilad and said, "Trust and be sure than I will do everything in my power to secure your release."
Earlier on Sunday, Schalit's parents were joined by dozens of supporters in a protest
outside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Office in Jerusalem on
Sunday morning to mark the captured IDF soldier's 25th birthday.
Aviva, Gilad's mother, held a sign saying "Netanyahu, a birthday present for Gilad - his life back."
Gilad's father Noam, who was holding a sign saying "Netanyahu, you don't have a mandate to kill Gilad," said that it is hard for him to ask his son to stay strong after more than five years in captivity.
"We are fighting a daily battle but we are still no closer to the day that Gilad is released," Noam told Israel Radio.
Tzvi Schalit, Gilad's grandfather, blamed Netanyahu for not doing enough to bring about the release of his grandson. During an interview with Israel Radio on Sunday morning, Tzvi said that it is clear the public wants Gilad to be released but the government, and more specifically the prime minister, is ignoring those calls.
"Since Netanyahu has come into power, the situation has worsened," Tzvi said.
"We are working hard, but our demands are not being not answered. It is not true that they [the government] are doing everything they can," the kidnapped soldier's grandfather said.
Tzvi spoke about the day that Gilad was born and reminisced about the first time he saw him at the hospital in Nahariya. "He is very much missing in the family," Tzvi said.