Israel Brief October 19, 2012: Hamas releases Gilad Shalit film

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Hamas releases Gilad Shalit film

Source: JTA, 10-19-12

On the one-year anniversary of the release of Gilad Shalit, Hamas has released a film describing the Israeli soldier’s abduction in 2006….READ MORE

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Israel Brief December 10, 2011: Gilad Shalit Releases Video Message to Volunteers: You played a crucial part in my release

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Gilad Shalit to volunteers: You played a crucial part in my release

Source: YNet News, 12-10-11

Former Hamas-held soldier Gilad Shalit thanked the volunteers who fought to release him from Hamas’ captivity, as seen in a new video clip on Saturday.

“I know, without a doubt, that your adamant and ongoing battle for my freedom… played a crucial part in the decision to bring my back home. I am grateful to you all, and to each and everyone of separately, and will continue to be grateful to you for the rest of my life,” Shalit said.

Some 300 activists gathered in Kibbutz Shefayim Saturday evening to listen to the message from Shalit, who was released in October in the framework of a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas.

גלעד שליט לפעילים: אודה לכם כל ימי חיי

בסרטון שהוקלט לקראת פגישת מחזור של המטה לשחרור שליט, דיבר החייל החטוף לפעילים לראשונה מאז שובו. “כשהייתי בשבי שמעתי רבות על התגייסותכם למעני”, סיפר, “אני אסיר תודה לכולכם ולכל אחד לחוד”. צפו בשליט ובשידור החי מכנס הפעילים

הפעילים שעבדו במשך 1,941 ימים למען שחרורו פוגשים את גלעד שליט – על המסך. הפעילים הגיעו הערב (שבת) ל”פגישת המחזור” בחדר האוכל של קיבוץ שפיים, וברכה מגלעד שהוקלטה מראש הוקרנה בפניהם על המסך במקום. ynet העביר בשידור חי את כינוס הפעילים, ומפרסם את ברכתו של גלעד.

צילום: טל גורן ותמר פרוס

צפו בגלעד מודה לפעילים
“ערב טוב לכולם”, פנה גלעד שליט לפעילים בסרטון. “אני שמח שבאתם לכאן הערב ושיש לי הזדמנות לדבר אליכם ולהודות לכם על מה שעשיתם למעני בכל שנות השבי שלי. בזמן שהייתי בשבי שמעתי רבות על ההתגייסות שלכם למען שחרורי מהשבי, וכמובן גם לאחר חזרתי הביתה”.

גלעד הוסיף: “אני בטוח שעוד אשמע רבות על המסע הארוך והמתיש הזה שהתחלתם בקיץ 2006 והמשכתם מבלי להתייאש, מבלי לסגת, על אף הקשיים, העליות והירידות, התקוות והאכזבות, עד לסופו המיוחל ב-18 לאוקטובר. אני יודע ללא ספק שהמאבק הנחוש והמתמשך שלכם לשחרורי, כל אחד כפי יכולתו, ההתמדה והתמיכה במשפחתי לאורך הדרך הארוכה, היוו את אחד הגורמים המכריעים שתרמו להחלטה להחזיר אותי הביתה”.

אביבה שליט רוקדת עם הפעילים (צילום: אבי זולי   )
אביבה שליט רוקדת עם הפעילים (צילום: אבי זולי )

שליט חתם את דבריו באמירה: “אני רוצה להודות לכם הערב על כל אלה מעומק ליבי ולומר לכם שאני אסיר תודה לכולכם ולכל אחד בנפרד, ואמשיך להיות אסיר תודה לכם בכל ימי חיי. תודה גדולה לכולכם וערב טוב”.

300 מהפעילים למען שחרור שליט התכנסו בשפיים, והאב נועם שליט הגיע לברכם ונאם באירוע. “אין לכם מושג כמה אני נרגש לעמוד פה בנסיבות האלה, באירוע הזה”, אמר בהתרגשות על הבמה. “אין לכם מושג איזה פער קיים בין הנסיבות שבהן הכרנו ובהן נפגשנו בעבר לבין הנסיבות שאנו נפגשים בהן היום, וזה אומר את הכל”.

ליבמן: אני כותב ספר על המאבק

“הגענו הערב לנקודת הסיום של המסע הארוך הזה, נקודה שבה אפשר לברך על המוגמר”, הוסיף שליט האב. “אמנם לגלעד יש עדיין דרך ארוכה ללכת, אבל אתם – הפעילות והפעילים היקרים והמסורים – יכולים לומר היום ‘תם ונשלם'”.

גלעד שליט ליד ביתו אחרי שובו (צילום: AFP)

גלעד שליט ליד ביתו אחרי שובו (צילום: AFP)

לאחר שפירט את השתלשלות המאבק, הוסיף נועם שליט: “גלעד עדיין לא יודע על כל הפעילות הענפה והאינטנסיבית שנעשתה למענו, על הרבה אנשים טובים שפעלו ללא לאות במשך הרבה שנים. מן הסתם קשה לו להכיל כזאת כמות גדולה של אינפורמציה, אבל אני מניח שעם הזמן הוא ייחשף לכל הדברים שנעשו ולכל האנשים והגופים שפעלו וליוו אותנו בנאמנות ובעקשנות עד תום המאבק”.

שמשון ליבמן, ראש מטה המאבק לשחרור גלעד, בירך את הנוכחים. הוא הודה לפעילים על כך שפעלו למען החזרתו ותרמו להחזרת הערכים לתוך השיח הישראלי. “אתם הגיבורים של 2011”, אמר ליבמן, “מהדהדים דבריו של יצחק שדה, שאמר כי ‘גבורה אינה רק האומץ בקרב, אלא היא היפוכה של האנוכיות'”. ליבמן הודה גם לראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו, “על החלטתו האמיצה”. ל-ynet אמר כי החל

בכתיבת ספר על המאבק לשחרור שליט.

שי גרוס, אחד הפעילים המרכזיים לשחרור שליט ומי שבעצמו היה חטוף באנטבה, אמר בשיחה עם ynet כי זהו רגע של הקלה גדולה וסגירת מעגל גם עבורו. “ראיתי את גלעד לפני כשבועיים, הוא העלה במשקל ומצבו היה טוב בהרבה משציפיתי. ברור שייקח לו זמן, ובטח ובטח שקשה לו להיות במקום כמו זה עם הרבה אנשים. גם לי היה קשה בהתחלה, אבל אין לי ספק שהוא יהיה בסדר”.

Israel Brief December 4, 2011: Gilad Shalit went on hunger strike during captivity

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Report: Shalit went on hunger strike during captivity

Source: JTA, 12-4-11

Former captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit launched a hunger strike that put his life in danger shortly before his release.

The hunger strike is what led in part to Hamas agreeing to an exchange, as the terrorist group feared Shalit would die and it would lose its main bargaining chip, Yediot Achronot reported Sunday. The daily Israeli newspaper cited an intelligence report on Shalit.

According to the report, shrapnel fired during the kidnapping entered Shalit’s body, barely missing vital organs, and the wounds eventually healed.

The report also said that Iran and Hamas gave misleading information to Israeli intelligence on Shalit’s whereabouts, hoping that an Israeli rescue force would enter a booby-trapped house in northern Gaza.

Shalit reportedly was guarded by the same four Hamas members throughout his captivity.

Gilad Shalit Timeline: 1,934 Days in Hamas Captivity

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Gilad Shalit timeline: 1,934 days in Hamas captivity

Source: YNet News, 10-11-11

IDF soldier was captured on June 25, 2006 by Gaza terrorists who raided his tank Israel News

Israel and Hamas have agreed on a deal to swap IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, held captive for five years, for the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

 

 

 
Here is a timeline of events since Shalit was captured:

 

June 25, 2006 – Hamas operatives launch raid into Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing two soldiers and capturing Shalit.

 

June 28 – Israeli troops invade the Gaza Strip.

 

Sept 15 – Letter from Shalit reaches his family via Egyptian mediators brokering a prisoner swap deal.

 

Oct 1 – Worst internal Palestinian fighting in a decade raises fears of a civil war in Gaza.

 

Nov 26 – Ceasefire in Gaza announced, ends five months of Israeli air strikes and incursions that fail to free Shalit.

 

June 14, 2007 – Hamas takes over Gaza from Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. At least 100 die in fighting.

 

June 25 – Israeli TV airs audio tape from Shalit’s captors asking for medical treatment and release of Palestinians.

 

Sept 8 – Israeli special forces disguised as Hamas gunmen abduct Hamas commander to be used as “bargaining chip.”

 

Dec 26 – Hamas says Shalit won’t be freed unless Israel frees 1,400 Palestinian prisoners, many long-term.

 

April 24, 2008 – Hamas leader offers Israel six-month truce in Gaza but says fate of Shalit separate issue.

 

May 12 – Israel says ceasefire deal must include Shalit. Ceasefire talks falter 10 days later over Israel’s refusal to reopen Gaza’s border crossings.

 

June 9 – Israeli television says Shalit’s family receives hand-written letter from their son.

 

June 17 – Israel and Hamas agree to Egyptian-brokered ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

 

July 4 – Hamas suspends prisoner swap talks in dispute over Israeli blockade and cross-border rocket fire from Gaza.

 

Sept 25 – Hamas rejects list of prisoners Israel is ready to free in exchange for Shalit, saying it wants more.

 

Dec 19 – Fragile six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas expires as they fail to agree on terms to extend truce.

 

Dec 27 – Israel launches 22-day military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis are killed.

 

Jan 18, 2009 – Israel and Hamas cease fire in Gaza.

 

Feb 14 – Gaza truce deal stalls after Israel insists on Shalit release as condition to ceasefire.

 

Sept 30 – Israel and Hamas confirm deal to exchange proof that Shalit is alive for release of 20 female Palestinians.

 

Oct 2 – Video is handed over and authenticated in which Shalit looked “pale but in good health”. A Red Cross convoy carries women to freedom in the West Bank and Gaza.

 

Nov 25 – Israel rejects a demand for the release of several Hamas commanders as part of any exchange for Shalit, signalling talks have hit a snag. Israel has long balked at granting amnesty to Palestinians jailed for attacks that killed Israelis.

 

June 27, 2010 – Shalit’s parents begin a 12-day march from their northern home to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau’s Jerusalem residence to press for a prisoner swap.

 

April 9, 2011 – The Israeli military says that Tayser Abu Snima, a top Hamas militant, killed in a raid, was “directly and physically involved” in Shalit’s capture.

 

June 23 – The International Committee of the Red Cross calls on Hamas to provide proof that Shalit is still alive five years after his capture.

 

July 4 – Defence Minister Ehud Barak halts the handover of 84 bodies of Palestinian militants to Palestinian authorities, hours after the military said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had approved the move. The stop order is to ensure no harm would be done to negotiations on any future swap deal to secure Shalit’s release.

 

Oct 3 – Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails join a hunger strike to protest against worsening prison conditions, the Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs says. Netanyahu toughened restrictions on Palestinian prisoners as part of an effort to force Hamas to free Shalit.

 

Oct 11 – Israeli and Hamas officials say a deal has been reached to swap Shalit for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

 

Israel Brief August 28, 2011: Gilad Shalit Spends 25th Birthday & 6th Birthday in Captivity

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Shalit spends 25th birthday in captivity

Source: JTA, 8-28-11

Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit spent his 25th birthday in captivity.

Sunday was the sixth birthday that Shalit has marked in captivity since he was captured by Hamas terrorists in a cross-border raid in June 2006.

Shalit’s parents led a protest in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem on Sunday, with banners reading “We won’t let Gilad celebrate alone.” Another banner called on Netanyahu to give Shalit “his life back” for his birthday.

In a letter to their son to mark his birthday, Noam and Aviva Shalit wrote:

“With the burning sun beating on our heads, on the sidewalk adjacent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home, we are trying to digest the fact that 1,890 days have passed and you still are not with us. …

“We’re here. We haven’t given up, we haven’t surrendered, and we have not been broken. And we are not alone. Our dearest Gilad, many many people who are strangers to you, who you have never met, think as we do, that it is inconceivable to speak of social solidarity, of national fortitude and of having faith in the State while abandoning you to your fate. Day after day, lonely and abandoned in Hamas dungeons for over half a decade.”

Israelis mark fifth birthday in captivity of soldier Shalit

Source: AFP, 8-28-10

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated in Jerusalem on Saturday in support of Gilad Shalit, marking the soldier’s 24th birthday and his fifth as a captive of Palestinian Islamists in the Gaza Strip.

Shalit’s mother Aviva called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do everything he could to secure freedom for her son, who was seized by Gaza-based militants in a deadly cross-border raid in June 2006.

“You have the chance of freeing Gilad,” she told a gathering from a makeshift podium outside the premier’s residence.

On August 3, the soldier’s father Noam appealed in an open letter to Palestinians in Gaza to pressure their Hamas rulers to agree to release his son in a prisoner exchange.

Hamas and other militant groups have demanded a swap involving hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including several top militants.

Israel made its most recent offer late last year through a German mediator, but Hamas has yet to formally respond to the deal. Each side has blamed the other for the failure to reach an agreement.

On Saturday, Aviva Shalit said she would continue a sit-in in a tent outside the Netanyahu residence, begun two months ago, and would not return home until her son was free.

Both France and Britain marked the birthday of Shalit — who also has French citizenship — by calling for his release.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in a message read out by a French diplomat, said Paris was working hard for his freedom.

“Gilad is not a prisoner of war, for PoWs have rights such as visits from humanitarian organisations or exchanges of mail with their loved ones. Gilad does not have these rights because he is a hostage,” Sarkozy’s message said.

He denounced “this revolting way of treating a human being which provokes our collective indignation, in Israel, France and across the globe.”

Britain also used the occasion of Shalit’s birthday to condemn his “unjustifiable” detention.

“The thoughts of many in Britain are with Gilad Shalit and his family as he spends his 24th birthday in captivity,” a Foreign Office spokesman said in London.

“His detention is unjustifiable and unacceptable. The British government demands his immediate and unconditional release.”

Another Birthday For Gilad Shalit

Source: The Jewish Week, 8-31-10

As direct negotiations resume this week between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government, there is a degree of optimism in Washington, though it is hard to say whether that is the result of signs of progress or naivete.

After 17 years of raised expectations followed by failure, from Oslo to Annapolis, some hopeful observers note the relative lack of violence in the region, the improved Palestinian Authority security forces and the pragmatic accomplishments of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in creating an infrastructure for a Palestinian state. Another positive sign has been the ability of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to move forward on the negotiations front while keeping his right-wing coalition in line, at least until now.

It is especially important now that the international community focus on and address an appalling situation that Israel and world Jewry is all too aware of, namely the continuing captivity of Gilad Shalit, the kidnapped Israeli soldier who just marked his 24th birthday this week, his fifth in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

It is gratifying that the British government this week demanded Shalit’s unconditional release, noting that his continued detention is “unjustifiable and unacceptable.” Where is the United Nations and the rest of the world in making similar demands to free a soldier whose captors have refused him any contact with the outside world or visits from the International Red Cross?

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has launched a website to dramatize Gilad Shalit’s plight — http://www.giladgreetings.org — which features a video and song about his situation, background information, links to congressional resolutions and a message from Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel.

This one soldier’s captivity is a painful reminder that the road to Mideast peace is tortuous even if progress can be made with the Palestinian Authority. The reality is that Hamas, which controls Gaza and its 1.5 million inhabitants, remains committed to the destruction of the Jewish state and the Jewish people.

We must do our part to show support for Shalit while demanding the world pressure Hamas for his unconditional release.

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