Schalit's father sends him Rosh Hashana package

Schalits father sends h

Noam Schalit, the father of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, arrived at the Erez border crossing on Thursday morning and handed over a Rosh Hashana gift package he hopes will be delivered to his son. Noam said that the package included "a present, apple and honey, a Bible, a book of Psalms, a bottle of wine for kiddush" and a copy of the children's book written by Gilad. He said he "hopes the package will reach its destination." However, according to reports in the Arab media on Thursday, Hamas was refusing to deliver the package to the abducted tank gunner. The package was given to representatives of Hamas operatives imprisoned in Israel. In turn, the representatives handed over 100 packages for the inmates from their families to activists from the Campaign to Free Gilad ahead of Id al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, which falls on Sunday. Hundreds of activists from the campaign, as well as families of Hamas men held in Israeli jails, gathered for a demonstration on both sides of the Gaza border fence on Wednesday afternoon. Noam joined the activists in the Nahal Oz area to urge both Israeli and Hamas leaders to finalize a prisoner exchange. "Gilad is so close to here, but yet so far," Schalit said at the rally, adding that his son had spent "1,200 days and nights away from his family, his friends and the State of Israel." He added that Israel had "neither failed nor succeeded, deep into the fourth year, in bringing Gilad home." "Gilad will 'celebrate' Rosh Hashana in a Hamas basement in Gaza. We also see the Palestinian participants here who are waiting for their sons to return, and [we] hope that they will also pressure their leaders to end this miserable affair... which has been going on for over three years," Noam Schalit said. Earlier on Wednesday, Noam responded to the Goldstone Commission report on the IDF's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, saying that his son was being held hostage by Hamas in violation of international law and was not a prisoner of war, as stated in the report. "Gilad is not a prisoner, he is being held as a captive or hostage and must be immediately released, not only for humanitarian reasons but also because holding a hostage is a serious war crime according to Clause 8 of the Treaty of Rome," Schalit was quoted as saying on Israel Radio. However, he went on to say that he accepts the Goldstone Committee's recommendation on the issue of Gilad, and intends to file an official request with the International Red Cross demanding his son be visited by doctors. Meanwhile, in an interview with BBC Arabic on Tuesday night, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that the Goldstone Commission report clearly condemns Israel and its actions, which he said amounted to war crimes. Haniyeh went on to respond to the report's criticism of rocket and mortar shell attacks on Israel, claiming Hamas fired the rockets in self-defense. There was no comparison between the simple capabilities of the armed groups in Gaza and the force used by Israel in the Gaza war, he said.