Thousands protest in France for Schalit

"To defend Israel is to defend democracy," reads one banner.

pro schalit protest 311 (photo credit: AP)
pro schalit protest 311
(photo credit: AP)
Thousands demonstrated at the Trocadero Square in Paris Tuesday, calling for the release of captured IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit.
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The demonstrators, among them members of various French Jewish organizations and solidarity groups, held up Israeli flags and supportive banners. “To defend Israel is to defend democracy,” said one, while another accused Iran of being an accomplice in Hamas terrorism. “To boycott Israel is to boycott peace,” read a third. Yet others called for Schalit’s immediate release.
Schalit, a French national, has been held captive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip for almost four years.
Meanwhile Tuesday, the Hamas-affiliated al-Resalah newspaper reported that Schalit was being permitted to watch the World Cup and that he was disappointed by the French team’s games.
Earlier that day, Schalit’s grandfather Tzvi met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to discuss efforts to reach a deal with Hamas for the soldier’s release.
After the meeting Tzvi Schalit commented that he was not optimistic, and was quoted as saying simply, "I'm exhausted."