Tomorrow will mark 5 years since kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been held illegally by Hamas in Gaza. As Isabel Kershner has reported in the New York Times, Hamas has again refused a request from the Red Cross to visit Shalit – so that they could merely ascertain what kind of conditions he is being held in and whether he is alive or dead.
The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday publicly demanded that Hamas provide proof that an Israeli soldier captured five years ago and held in Gaza is still alive. Hamas promptly rejected the demand.
The soldier, Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit was a 19-year-old corporal at the time that he was seized from Israeli territory by Hamas and other armed groups from Gaza in a cross-border raid that killed two other Israeli soldiers. The fifth anniversary of his capture falls on Saturday. He has since been held incommunicado in an unknown location by Hamas, the Islamic militant group that now controls Gaza.
Rabbi Steve Gutow, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, has written a piece in the Huffington Post to illustrate just how long 5 years in captivity is and what Shalit has been missing out on.
In 2006, Facebook had just 10 million users, Justin Bieber was 11, and Gilad Shalit was free.
On June 25, 2006, Hamas terrorists captured Gilad Shalit, an Israeli corporal, in a cross border raid. He has remained captive since.
A lot can happen in five years.
Facebook now has over 500 million users and Bieber Fever is a global pandemic. However, Gilad is still a captive and his whereabouts and health remain unknown.
Meanwhile, Alistair Burt, the UK Minister for the Middle East, has issued the following statement imploring Hamas to release Shalit. Expect there to be more such announcements from other public figures over the coming day.
(Video via Haaretz)