On October 11, 2011, the Israel government approved an agreement for the release of Gilad Shalit. On October 18, he returned home to his family.
August 28, 2011 was Gilad Shalit's 25th birthday - his sixth birthday in Hamas captivity.
June 25, 2011 marked the fifth anniversary of the abduction of Gilad Shalit by Hamas terrorists from within Israeli territory, near the Kerem Shalom crossing.
On June 25, 2006, then-Corporal Gilad Shalit (later promoted to Staff Sergeant) was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists from within Israeli territory and taken to the Gaza Strip. The kidnapping was part of an unprovoked attack which involved seven armed terrorists using a tunnel dug under the Israel-Gaza border. Gilad was 19 at the time of his abduction.
During the course of the attack, an IDF soldier, Staff Sergeant Pavel Slutzker, and an officer, Lieutenant Hanan Barak, were killed, while five others were wounded.
For five years, Hamas has continued to deny Gilad his most basic humanitarian rights, including Red Cross access. For 5 years, his family has suffered greatly, waiting for his return.
The international community should act to end this intolerable situation. As Prime Minister Netanyahu stated (23 May 2011): "I think that the entire civilized community should join Israel and the United States and all of us in a simple demand from Hamas: Release Gilad Shalit."
UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-moon (June 24, 2011): On the fifth anniversary of the captivity of Israeli Staff Sergeant Gilad Shalit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for his immediate release. He also joins the Director-General of the International Red Cross in calling on Hamas to protect his life, treat him humanely, prove that he is alive and allow the Shalit family to have contact with their son. The Secretary-General calls on Hamas to comply with international humanitarian law, and commends a coalition of Israeli and Palestinian NGOs for calling for his humane treatment.
The United Nations on the ground will continue to support the conclusion of negotiation efforts to secure his release, which would also entail the release of a number of Palestinian prisoners. The Secretary-General is convinced that this issue must now be resolved.
On Friday, October 2, 2009, Israel received a videotape of Gilad Shalit speaking:
On Friday, 2 October 2009, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu viewed the footage of Gilad Shalit received following the release by Israel of 20 Palestinian female prisoners:
The Prime Minister believes that the footage is important because it verifies Gilad Shalit's situation and determines that Hamas is absolutely responsible for his health and well-being. PM Netanyahu wished the Shalit family a happy Sukkot and said that even though the path to Gilad's release is still long and arduous, the knowledge that he is well and in good health encourages us all.
June 25, 2009 marked three years of Staff Sergeant Shalit's captivity. Hamas continues to refuse Red Cross access to the kidnapped soldier.
Three Years: A project to raise global awareness of Gilad Shalit
Children from around the world have come together in order to bring attention to the third anniversary of the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped on Thursday, June 25, 2006 and has not been seen since. This project prominently features Shalit's own story When the Shark and the Fish First Met, about two sea animals (a shark and a fish) that were raised to hate and fear one another but then realized that everyone would be happier by making peace. This beautiful story of friendship between unlikely beings was written by Shalit at age 11, when he was in the fifth grade.
In order to emphasize the international support for Gilad Shalit, the Consulate enlisted the help of Israeli embassies in countries throughout Europe. A YouTube video shows people from around the world reading Shalit’s story in their native languages. The video features a single reading of the story in several languages, among them English, Italian, German, French, and Spanish, with English subtitles.
Listen to the story: Children reading for Gilad Shalit - When the Fish Met the Shark