Israeli soldier Corporal Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas in Gaza. On June 25, 2006 Hamas snuck into Israel via an underground tunnel. They initiated an attack of an IDF base (Israeli Defense Forces).
Since then Shalit’s family has only been sent three letters from their son. They also saw a short video and heard an audio tape of Gilad. Gilad Shalit has a brother and a sister. He is the middle child.
Michael Oren, USA Ambassador to Israel, writes that Gilad is kept in solitary confinement by Hamas. He is not allowed to talk to his family or get mail from them.
Video Exists of Gilad Shalit’s Kidnapping
Corporal Gilad Shalit was kidnapped during the attack on the IDF base. He was age 19 when he was kidnapped. There is a security videotape of Corporal Shalit being kidnapped and carried to a hole in the fence separating Israel and Gaza, notes the London Times.
During the attack, Hamas also killed two Israeli soldiers, Lt. Hanan Barak and Sgt. Pavel Slutzker. They were both age 20 at the time of death.
Hamas Will Not Allow Red Cross to Visit Gilad Shalit
Thus far, Hamas has not allowed the Red Cross to meet with Shalit to verify that he is alive and being kept in acceptable conditions. This breaks international law.
America Wants Gilad Returned to Israel
On June 24, 2010, the United States released HR 1359, legislation that demands that Hamas release Gilad Shalit, allow the Red Cross to see him, and ensure that Gilad is in acceptable conditions and that his family can speak with him. It also mandates support of Israel as a ‘Jewish and democratic state” and “supports resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through creation of a democratic, viable, and independent Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel.”
This document also castigates Hamas for kidnapping Gilad Shalit. It also reprimands Iran and Syria for endorsing terrorism.
The Shalit Family: A Protest at Netanyahu’s Home Until Gilad is Returned
Gilad Shalit’s family is now in Jerusalem to protest outside of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home. The family intends to stay there until Gilad is returned to Israel. Haartz reports that the Shalit family stated ” We won’t go home without Gilad.”
Neyanyahu needs to take action to get Gilad home. He places his country in danger with his ongoing love of settlements and failure to negotiate peace with Palestine. He has waited far too long to work out a deal to retrieve Corporal Shalit.
Is Gilad Shalit Still in Gaza?
The Gaza strip is only 140 square miles, notes the NY Post. Yet in this small area somewhere Hamas is hiding Gilad; the Gaza government denies knowledge of his whereabouts. The London Times reports that Shalit may be held in a cell underground in a Gaza refugee camp.
Gaza needs to take action to find Gilad and rein in Hamas. There are probably people in the Gaza government who know exactly where Hamas is holding Shalit. They need to do the right thing and free him to Israel. However, now that four years have passed since the kidnapping, it is not even certain if Gilad Shalit is still in Gaza. Hamas may have used underground tunnels to move him out of the country.
Hamas is a terrorist organization. Its terrorists have brought chaos to Gaza and Israel. The problems between Hamas and Israel destabilize the entire Middle East. Hamas is a terrorist organization that needs to be eradicated.
Will a Prisoner Exhange Ever Happen?
Hamas wants a prisoner exchange to release almost 1,000 Palestinian prisoners from Israel before it will release Gilad. Talks have now stopped to arrange this agreement.
Israel currently has about 9,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails. Some have not been charged or had a trial. Israel is also suspected of using white phosphorous in the 2006 war against Gaza.
Both Israel and Palestine need to start following international law. They also need to treat prisoners fairly Too many families in both countries are suffering due to the murder of children, the capture of soldiers, and the ongoing lack of peace.
Tonight I will light a candle and say a prayer that Corporal Gilad Shalit is still alive and that he will be returned to Israel. I will also pray for any prisoners from Palestine that are being unfairly held by Israel. Let’s hope that soon the world sees peace in Palestine and Israel. Salaam, Shalom, Peace.