Saturday, 28 August 2010

For Gilad

Today is Gilad Shalit's 24th birthday.

He has been held as a hostage in the Gaza Strip since 2006, when he was kidnapped from Israeli territory during a cross border raid.

Gilad Shalit, aged 20, just before his capture in 2006

Although there have been repeated promises made by the Israeli government to work towards freeing Gilad, no significant progress has been made since Hamas released the video of him in October 2009. CNN, YNet and other news outlets have been reporting that pressure is increasing on PM Netanyahu to make a deal with Hamas that would see Shalit released. I sometimes wonder what Gilad himself would think of the efforts that have been made: firstly the Gaza incursion that did Israel no international favours and failed to get him released, and secondly the negotiations over prisoner swaps - the Israeli government being expected to release 1,000 or so Palestinians in return for Gilad's own release.

I am hopeful of his release inasmuch as is it surely the right thing to do and demonstrates a willingness on behalf of the Israeli government to take bold steps towards finding an equitable solution to the many issues that exist between Israel and the Palestinians. However, with Netanyahu as PM I find it difficult to believe he would go through with releasing the numbers of prisoners it would take to enusre Gilad comes home.

Please click here to find out what you can do to help raise awareness of Gilad's plight and help pressure politicans to push for his release.

Thank you.

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