Honorary Parisian citizenship was bestowed upon kidnapped IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit on Tuesday, on the initiative of MP Claude Goasguen, who is also mayor of the 16th arrondissement (municipality) of Paris. City council members unanimously voted in favor of the proposal. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, the soldier's father, Noam Schalit, said he was "pleasantly surprised by the decision, especially when hearing that every member of the city council had approved the idea." "I think that this is an important step and that Hamas will understand the message," he added. During a a telephone conversation with French Ambassador to Israel Jean-Michel Casa, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also saluted the initiative. "Acts like these, which are taken by the international community, send an important message of identification with the people of Israel and a message no less important to Hamas that its actions are not accepted by the international community," said Livni Following the announcement, the French association LibertÃ© pour Gilad (Freedom for Gilad), headed by former French minister SimoneVeil, published the following statement: "We would like to warmly thank the Paris Mayor Bertrand DelanoÃ«, as well as all the members of the city council, for this commitment, which comes to show that democracy never stands still in the face of barbarity."