Friday, August 29, 2008

Gilad Shalit Turns 22 in Hamas Captivity

Kidnapped IDF Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit turns 22 on Thursday, and as the vast majority of his fellow soldiers return to their civilian lives, some going on to university and others taking up careers, the young soldier continues to languish in terrorist hands.
This is the third year Shalit has spent his birthday in captivity with the Hamas terrorists in Gaza since being abducted on June 25, 2006. While Israel continues to negotiate for his release, little progress has been made despite past optimistic statements by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the contrary.
Some 150 demonstrators gathered Wednesday night at the Sufa Crossing near Gaza to mark the grim occasion. Among them was Labor minister Ami Ayalon, who told journalists that he believes Israel must give up terrorist prisoners with “blood on their hands” – those who have murdered Jews – in order to win Shalit’s freedom.
A particularly vocal participant was Miki Goldwasser, whose own son was killed by Hizbullah terrorists on Israel’s northern border the same summer that Shalit was abducted.
Ehud Goldwasser’s body was returned to his family last month together with that of fellow IDF reservist Eldad Regev after two years of German-brokered talks which cost Israel the release of child-killer Samir Kuntar as well as four Hizbullah guerrilla fighters and the bodies of 199 dead terrorists.
“Three families started this journey,” asserted Goldwasser. “My mission is not over yet. It will end only when Gilad Shalit is returned; this is a shared struggle. I think of (missing IAF navigator) Ron Arad and I’m terrified to think that Gilad could share his fate.”
Arad, whose aircraft was shot down over Lebanon in 1986, was captured by Shi'ite terrorists, who handed him over to Iranian Revolutionary Guards. His subsequent fate is not known.
Hizbullah said in an 80-page report submitted to Israel together with the bodies of Goldwasser and Regev that they believed that Arad was dead, but were unable to provide documentation of the circumstances of his demise or the location of his grave.
(Source: IsraelNN)

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