Netanyahu Urges International Community to Work to Free Gilad Shalit

Barak Ravid; Aluf Benn; Jack Khoury

Netanyahu Urges International Community to Work to Free Gilad Shalit

10,000 people join Shalit family as they begin march across Israel and insist ‘We won’t go home without Gilad.’



Noam Shalit leaving his home in Mitzpe Hila to begin a protest march to free his son, Gilad, on June 27, 2010. (Photo by Yaron Kaminsky)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said he spoke with Noam Shalit, father of captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, and invited him and his family for a meeting in Jerusalem.

“Our hearts are with the Shalit family,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. “I urge the international community to work to bring about the release of the abducted soldier.”

Noam Shalit on Sunday led his family and supporters on a protest march to free his son who has been held by Gaza militants since 2006. The march, which is planned to end at the Prime Minister’s official residence, in Jerusalem, is scheduled to take 12 days.

Police estimated 10,000 people were taking part, including Likud MK Michael Eitan.

“Gilad waited four years and he is still waiting,” said Noam Shalit after leaving his house in Mitzpe Hila at the start of the march. “Waiting for those who sent him, waiting for his commanding officers, waiting for the prime ministers, waiting for the defense ministers, but they don’t listen.”

Shalit said his family and supporters are undertaking the march in the wake of a chain of failures on Israel’s part over the last four years for which his son Gilad is the only one paying a heavy price.

Noam Shalit poses with the President of the Jewish Community of Rome Riccardo Pacifici during a demonstration in Rome on June 24, 2010. (Photo by Reuters)

“No one has volunteered to share the price with Gilad,” Noam Shalit said.

Friday marked the fourth anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s capture in a Hamas cross-border raid into Israel.

“The discussion about flesh and blood has turned from one about values and ethos to convenience-store negotiations,” said Shalit, who added that the family will no longer wait at their Mitzpe Hila home.

“The discussion about flesh and blood has turned from one about values and ethos to convenience-store negotiations,” said Shalit.

“I call on the public across Israel, anyone who thinks that four years is enough, to join our march and use his legs to express support and protest,” said Shalit, adding that he and his supporters are leaving today for a long journey whose end is unknown.

“But we will return to our Galilee home only with Gilad, our son,” he said.

The government, meanwhile, intends to stick to its guns and not give in to public pressure in the negotiations with Hamas over the release of Gilad Shalit in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

The working assumption is that a firm stance will force Hamas to soften its position and accept the terms offered by Netanyahu through his special representative, Hagai Hadas.

Noam Shalit said Saturday night that he was not optimistic. He called on the public to “come and support us with your feet.”

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Saturday, in response to the planned march, “I am opposed to the release of Gilad Shalit at any price. However, I respect the right of Shalit’s parents to do what they are doing. If it was my son I would do the same.”

Two main issues remain in dispute in the negotiations: Israel refuses to release several dozen “heavy” prisoners, those who led Hamas terror networks in the West Bank or were responsible for major terror attacks during the second intifada on behalf of other organizations. Israel also refuses to release many prisoners to their homes in the West Bank, fearing that they will establish a terrorist network there. It wants them either sent abroad or kept in prison for now, with shortened terms.

Netanyahu, relying on data showing that most of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners released in previous exchanges returned to terrorism, is against releasing the prisoners who committed the worse offenses and also opposes the return of released prisoners to the West Bank.

The negotiations are being conducted quietly, through indirect channels, but there are no signs that a breakthrough is imminent.

From Israel’s perspective the document that was drafted by the German mediator and submitted to both parties 18 months ago is the framework for any deal. The military wing of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, led by Ahmed Ja’abari, rejected the mediator’s proposal, arguing that Israel had reneged on previous agreements. Israel argued that Hamas ratcheted up its demands due to its inability to come to a consensus within the organization, which led it to adopt Ja’abari’s hardline position.

Hamas continues to blame Israel for the failure of the negotiations so far and has not commented on the march to Jerusalem.

Addressing criticism of Hamas for refusing to allow Red Cross representatives to visit Shalit, Hamas Gaza spokesman Ayman Taha said Saturday: “We can’t allow the Red Cross to visit Shalit because he is not in prison, and therefore revealing his location would be very dangerous.”

Media Accused of One-Sided Shalit Campaign

Hillel Fendel

Media Accused of One-Sided Shalit Campaign

Almagor Terror Victims org accuses media of unilaterally promoting campaign for Shalit’s release—with the goal of toppling Netanyahu government.

Israel National News


The Almagor Terror Victims Association has sent a letter of protest to the Israel Press Council against two of Israel’s daily newspapers, Yediot Acharonot and Maariv. Almagor accuses them of abandoning their post as “watchdogs of democracy” and promoting the campaign for Gilad Shalit’s release—with the ultimate goal of toppling the Netanyahu government.

Col. (ret.) Meir Indor, chairman of Almagor, told Arutz-7 that the letter was written by bereaved father Dr. Aryeh Bachrach and “an another advisor who was not exactly born in my political camp. The letter states:

A well-orchestrated campaign, with many articles in both newspapers taking one position [in the debate regarding the price that should be paid for Shalit’s release], is designed to sway public opinion towards the deal… It is a blow at the public’s right to know; for one thing, we would like to know why the papers are both taking this position, and in addition, there is a heavy suspicion that the stories are being swayed to one side … How can a serious and democratic debate take place, when both papers choose and promote openly one side, with the clear danger that the opposing position is being silenced?

Almagor’s chairman noted that the editor of Maariv explained in one of his articles why his newspaper has taken this position, “and another article by one of the top writers in Yediot writes that the public has already decided, despite the dangers, that terrorists must be released in order to free Gilad Shalit … They say that it’s not so terrible to release terrorists, because they can always be caught again. Who will pay the price until then: the writer of that article?!—or maybe people like Rabbi Avshalom Chai, who was murdered by a freed terrorist…”

“This is the first time in Israeli media history,” Indor said, “that the media promotes and backs a public protest of this type.”

“I’m not even sure that Gilad Shalit is their main concern,” Indor said. “For one thing, there are those who have long wanted terrorist murderer Marwan Barghouti to be freed from jail, because they think Israel can negotiate with him and reach a peace agreement… This deal, which they hope will include Barghouti, will serve their purposes well.”

“In addition,” he continued, “their ultimate goal is actually to topple Netanyahu. So they say he is susceptible to pressure, and then they pressure him to give in to this deal—and then in the end, they will say he caved in to pressure!”

Terror Victims Group Opposes Shalit Swap

Yuval Azoulay

Terror Victims Group Opposes Shalit Swap



The chairman of the Almagor Terror Victims Association, Meir Eindor, lashed out strongly yesterday against the campaign to release captive soldier Gilad Shalit.

“The newspapers know our prime minister is squeezable, so they squeeze,” he told Haaretz. “Believe me, if the prime minister releases terrorists with blood on their hands, he’ll get attacked by those same newspapers.”

“We at Almagor are completely stunned, completely helpless … before this bratty campaign launched by the Israeli media,” he continued.

Shalit supporters marked the fourth anniversary of the IDF soldier’s abduction as well as the death of two other IDF soldiers who were killed in the June 25 cross-border raid.

Eindor said that while his organization was fully sympathetic to the distress of the captive soldier and his family, it is principally opposed to releasing terrorists.

“Imagine a situation whereby a woman who was raped is told the rapist will be released from jail without serving his time. How would she feel? Bereaved parents who have lost their loved ones to a terrorist attack [and in which the perpetrators have been jailed] are always consoled knowing that their loved one was the last victim,” he argued.

“Once this many murderers walk free again, the attacks will start again – and these parents will be left not only without their loved one, but without that comfort.”

Yossi Mendelevitch, whose 13-year-old son Yuval was killed in a suicide bombing in Haifa in 2003, said: “We know exactly what terrorists we’re talking about here … Some of the thousands of people marching for Shalit next week, god forbid, could be hurt in the attacks these terrorists will carry out if they are released.”

Almagor: Shalit Release Before Gaza Concessions

Almagor: Shalit Release Before Gaza Concessions

Israel National News


The Almagor umbrella group of terror-victim associations called Thursday night on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to forget abducted soldier Gilad Shalit before he orders the easing of the closure on Gaza.

In a statement, the organization said, “Relief of any sort before the return of the soldier to his family—especially by the violent flotilla—will send a message to the world of Islamic terrorism that violence pays and that terrorism used against us pays and produces results when it’s methodical, persistent and drawn out, something that results in more terror and abductions.”

High Court Rejects Flotilla Suits: Soldiers Defended Their Lives

Aviad Glickman

High Court Rejects Flotilla Suits: Soldiers Defended Their Lives

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish flatly rejects legal suits from rightist, leftist camps on raid of pro-Palestinian flotilla en route to Gaza, harshly criticizes petitioners while defending soldiers. ‘Soldiers forced to respond in order to protect their lives’



The IDF receives decisive legal support. The High Court outright rejected Thursday suits filed this week by the rightist and leftist camps over the flotilla raid at sea.

In the ruling, which is signed by Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish, it is written, “The soldiers were forced to respond in order to defend their lives. Unfortunately, the action ended, as was not to be expected, with the loss of lives. Nine people were killed and soldiers and flotilla participants were wounded. The action ended with the flotilla being stopped, its passengers removed and detained and Israel.”

The suits filed by the leftist organizations asked that the High Court deem that the action was carried out with jurisdiction, that the detainees be released, and their details published.

The suits filed by the rightist camp, the court was asked to intervene to prevent the release of the detainees.

President Beinish rejected all the suits “in the absence of just cause to intervene in the decision of the attorney general.”

In its decision, the High Court defended the IDF action against the flotilla. Beinish ruled that during the takeover of the Marmara “the soldiers encountered a harsh and violent response on the part of the flotilla participants on the ship. The soldiers were attacked with knives, clubs, and metal rods. Attempts were made to snatch their personal weapons and to violently injure them. One of the soldiers was even dropped over the side of the ship.”

Beinish also defended Israel’s decision to block the ship’s entry to the Gaza Strip: “In light of Hamas’ control of the Gaza Strip, Israel has take various steps meant to prevent direct access to the Gaza Strip, including the imposition of a naval blockade on the Strip, which, according to the State’s declaration, is meant to block the infiltration of weapons and ammunition into Hamas ranks which have carried out shooting and terrorist attacks in Israeli territory for years with the goal of harming civilians.”

“Israel,” Beinish explained, “made efforts to prevent the flotilla from reaching Gaza’s shores to violate the blockade. Among other things, the State offered the flotilla’s organizers to unload the cargo carried on the ship and to transfer the shipment, which was meant to reach Gaza directly through them, via Israel. This offer was rejected.”

Beinish: Petition Filed in Haste

In the leftist suit, the petitioners ascribed “grave and illegal actions” to the State of Israel. The petitioners deemed Israel’s actions as “massacre, murder, and a violent, barbaric act of piracy.”

Justice Beinish ruled on this suit, “In light of the State Prosecutor’s response and the court’s comments, the petitioners revoked their petition and the crass style they adopted.”

“It is clear that the suit was filed in haste. Even though the petitioners knew nothing of what had occurred, they did not hesitate to hurriedly to place the gravest possible stain on the IDF forces’ actions while using sharp and abrasive language that was out of place. Despite this, because the requested help was the release of the detainees, the petition was not flatly rejected at this stage, but the response of the State was requested by the following day.”

One of the petitions was submitted by the al-Jazeera television network on behalf of journalists working for them that were arrested on the ship. This petition requested that their employees who participated in the flotilla be released. This petition was made irrelevant when the petitioners were released.

‘Particularly Sensitive’

In another three petitions, which were filed by the organization Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center and the Almagor Terrorist Victims Association, the court was asked to block the release of the foreign flotilla participants and to banish them from Israel, as was authorized by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

The central claim of these suits was that the detainees committed offenses that necessitate an investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the event, as well as a decision regarding putting them on trial.

These petitions, too, were rejected by the court. “The decision to release the detainees is a decision within the realm of the attorney general’s considerations. This court ruled in a long list of rulings that the extent of its intervention in the attorney general’s decisions regarding investigation or placing someone on trial is limited to unusual and exceptional cases.”

The court also ruled, “The developments in the international arena in this case indicate a particular political sensitivity in everything regarding law enforcement officials’ treatment of the flotilla participants. The attorney general noted that all the government officials tied to these political aspects are being watched.

“After considering the fact that nine of the flotilla’s participants were killed and dozens were injured, he reached the conclusion that the public, political, and security interests in this case trump law enforcement. We did not find any ground for intervening in this decision or in the considerations at its foundation.”