Noam Shalit, father of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, left for New York Sunday last night in order to meet with foreign ambassadors ahead of the UN General Assembly session which will open on September 13. The upcoming session will see the Palestinian Authority seeking recognition for an independent state.
Shalit intends to remind the ambassadors that Gilad is being held captive within the Palestinian territories for over five years without receiving even one visit from the Red Cross, in clear violation of international law.
Speaking to Ynet ahead of his departure, Shalit noted that his meetings would focus on ambassadors that deal with humanitarian issues. “It would be a little pretentious to say that we are seeking to make Gilad’s release a condition for the recognition, but we shall certainly link the two matters,” Shalit said.
According to Shalit, “The continued imprisonment of Gilad, holding him hostage within the territory of the entity – the Palestinian Authority, which is seeking statehood recognition, is a flagrant breach of international law.
“They cannot hope to receive recognition of statehood and receive UN membership status while simultaneously carrying out the illegal incarceration of a hostage, without basic humanitarian conditions, with no connection to the outside world, for more than five years.”
Marking 1,900 days
With reports of meetings of senior Hamas members in Cairo over prisoner exchange deal negotiations, Shalit noted that he was unaware of any progress.
“Till now there were Muslim holidays. Between the Muslim holidays and the Jewish holidays that occur at the end of the month, we might have a small window of opportunity. I hope that the two sides will understand that it’s time to end this affair and bring Gilad home.”
On Wednesday Noam Shalit will mark 1,900 days since his son was abducted by Hamas. “Maybe our prime minister will also understand that it’s time to end the disgrace of not being able to bring home a soldier sent on behalf of his country,” Shalit added.
Shalit will return to Israel next week but will first make a stop in Paris where the Shalit family is currently engaged in legal proceedings against Hamas as Gilad holds French citizenship.