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Who is Gilad Shalit?

Gilad Shalit who is Gilad Shalit Israeli Palistinian conflict Palistinian POWS

Although perhaps not known internationally Gilad Shalit is household name in Israel here are a few basic facts about him.

1. Gilad Shalit was born on 28 August 1986 in Nahariya, Israel. Nahariya is on the north coast of Israel.

2. Shalit's close family includes parents Noam and Aviva brother Yoal and sister Hadas.

3. Gilad Shalit grew up in Mitzpa Hila in the Western Galilee in Northern Israel.

4. Gilad attended Manor Cabri High School situated in nearby Cabri Kibbutz.

5. Gilad Shalit began his Israeli military service in July 2005, in the IDF armor corps.

6. Shalit holds dual nationality, Israeli and French – his father being of French decent.

7. On June 25 2006, a year after Israel had withdrawn from the Gaza Strip, Palestinian militants crossed through an underground tunnel into an Israeli army post on the Israeli side of the southern Gaza Strip. An attack ensued resulting in two deaths on each side and 3 wounded Israelis. During the attack Shalit was abducted by the Palestinians and taken into the Gaza Strip. Gilad Shalit is thought to have broken his left hand and wounded his shoulder during the attack.

8. Hamas and specifically the "Popular Resistance Committees (comprising of Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad members) claimed responsibility for the incident and asked for, and continue to ask for all female Palestinians serving time in Israeli jails and an additional list of 1000-1300 prisoners to be released in exchange for Gilad's release. The Israeli government claims that the dilemma in this proposal is that among the 1000 listed Palestinians are many terrorists with "blood on their hands". Releasing these Palestinians would be a disservice to the Israeli families of those killed in terrorist attacks by these same prisoners, as well as being a threat to Israeli security.

9. Diplomatic negotiations for Gilad Shalit's release have been conducted mainly by Egyptian mediators as well as the Germans, Americans and Russians who have appealed to Hamas to release Shalit.

10. Gilad shalit is thought to be held in the Gaza Strip.

11. Signs of life: September 2006 a letter from Gilad to his parents reporting on his good health and well being was passed though the Egyptians; 25 June 2007 an audio tape was released of Gilad shalit's voice as he appealed to his family and reported on his poor health. 4 February 2008 a letter in Gilad's handwriting was released and on June 9 2008 a third letter. On 2 October 2009 Israel released 19 Palestinians serving sentences for terrorism in Israeli jails in exchange for a video tape of Gilad Shalit. In the video Shalit is holding a newspaper dated 14th September 2009, proof that Shalit was indeed alive.

12. Throughout Gliad Shalit's captivity the Red Cross has been denied access to him, breaching international laws of the Third Geneva Convention as well as the right to know the location of POWs and the right of free correspondence between the captive and his family.

13. Since Gilad Shalit's capture his parents, friends and family have worked endlessly for his release. Gilad's father Noam Shalit has met with presidents (including Carter and Clinton) dignitaries, committees, and International Law makers. Gilad Shalit's parents have never rested in their efforts to bring Gilad home. The most recent effort to bring attention to Gilad's plight was a march from the Shalit home in the North of Israel to Jerusalem. May Israelis joined the march at various stages of it's progress through the country.

14. The Israeli public, have rallied around the cause and demonstrations and marches as well as media campaigns have never ceased since Gilad's capture. The Israeli public is split as to how and under what conditions Shalit should be released but all wish to see him safely brought back to his family. The differing opinions center around the question of whether the price for Gilad's release is too high and the principle of never leaving a soldier behind.

15.Gilad Shalit is a household name in Israel, and is never far from the thoughts of the Israeli pubic, as there is compulsory national service in Israel, each family knows that Gilad Shalit could have been any member of any Israeli family.

16. Since Gilad's capture his sister Hadas has served in the Israeli Army.

17. Gilad's army rank was corporal and he has since been promoted to staff sergeant.

18. Gilad Shalit was 19 years old at the time of his abduction.

19. Gilad Shalit is presumed to be somewhere in the Gaza Strip being held by the Palestinian militants, Hamas. Negotiations continue for his release.

20. As of writing this article October 2010 Gilad Shalit has been a prisoner for more than four years and three months ( 1568 days).

UPDATE: On 18th October 2011 after 5 years and 4 months Gilad Shalit is returned to Israel in exchange for 1000 Palistinian prisoners in Israeli jails. He reports that during the time he was captive he was kept underground with no sunlight, his glasses were taken from him, he was not given medical care or access to the Red Cross and he suffered mulnutrition and shrapnal wounds which were not treated. Although thin and unwell Gilad is home, thank God.

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Comments (1)

Wow! Gilad Shalit was too young at the time of abduction, 19, and by this time, he is more than 23 yrs. old and still a prisoner. A saddening truth on the effects of war. Great writing Petal! Stumbled.

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