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
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On the first anniversary of his abduction (25 June 2007), Hamas released a recorded message of Gilad Shalit's voice - the first sign of life since he was abducted. Shalit's father Noam indicated that the voice - if not the wording of the message - was that of Gilad.
Addressing the members of the diplomatic corps in Israel, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said: "Hamas is making cynical use of the suffering of Gilad Shalit, the pain of his family, the pain of the people of Israel, in order to dictate its own brutal agenda in the region, in order to undermine a political process which is taking place right now to create a better future for the region. Hamas is responsible for the life and health of Gilad Shalit, and we, the Israeli government, will take all steps to bring him back home."
This recording, while an important development, cannot be seen as a substitute for what Hamas must really do: namely, to allow the International Red Cross to immediately visit Gilad Shalit and to allow him to receive proper medical attention.
On December 16, 2008, the municipal council of Paris declared Gilad Shalit, who holds dual Israeli and French citizenship, an honorary citizen of Paris.
FM Livni to ambassadors of the European Union: "Such actions by the international community convey a special message of identity with the people of Israel and, no less important, a message to Hamas that its actions are not accpeted by the international community."
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PM Netanyahu (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."
PM Netanyahu to Cabinet (26 June 2011): "Yesterday was the . He is being held by a brutal enemy, Hamas, which refuses to uphold either the minimal demands of the international treaties or humanitarian conditions. It has refused to allow him even one visit by the International Committee of the Red Cross. It is holding him in harsh conditions and we know how his family is suffering. I think that the entire nation and all fair and just people in the world are incensed at what Hamas is doing.
We have applied heavy international pressure, which has found expression in remarks by the leaders of countries such as the US and in Europe, and in yesterday's statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, all of whom are demanding Gilad's immediate release and a visit by the ICRC beforehand. ; that party is over.
We are involved in many actions, and I do not think that this is the place to go into details, all of which are in order to bring Gilad Shalit back home, safe and sound. The State of Israel is ready to go far, more than any other country, in order to secure Gilad's release but it is my responsibility and the responsibility of those who are sitting here, to see to the security and lives of the Israeli people.
We received a proposal from the German mediator. This proposal was harsh; it was not simple for the State of Israel. However, we agreed to accept it in the belief that it was balanced between our desire to secure Gilad's release and to prevent possible harm to the lives and security of the Israeli people. As of now, we have yet to receive Hamas's official answer to the German mediator's proposal."
PM Netanyahu (23 June 2010): "Gilad Shalit has been sitting in captivity for four years, in darkness, with no visit from the Red Cross, with his family's terrible suffering. The international community needs to stand alongside Israel in demanding Gilad Shalit's immediate release."
PM Netanyahu’s remarks regarding the continued efforts to release Gilad Shalit (1 July 2010)
PM Netanyahu (20 June 2010): "Gilad Shalit is now approaching four years in captivity. The international community should join Israel in strongly condemning Hamas for holding him captive. Now is the time for all of us, Israel and the international community, to redouble our efforts to secure Gilad Shalit's immediate release."
Quartet envoy Tony Blair (20 June 2010): "Once again, let me repeat my demand that Gilad Shalit, now approaching four years in captivity, should be released immediately. We will redouble our efforts to secure his freedom."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (20 March 2010): "I repeat my call on Palestinian militants to immediately end rocket fire and release Gilad Shilat on humanitarian grounds."
On 3 March 2010, Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Knesset:
We received offers from the mediator three months ago. We responded to these offers. We said we were ready to go far in order to return Gilad home, but we said we wanted to prevent the released prisoners from murdering again.
This is not a theoretical question, but a practical one. The question is practical because those released in the Jibril deal killed a great number of Israelis, and so did those released in the Tennenbaum deal. For example, the recent murder of the rabbi, the father of seven, was carried out by one of the people removed from the list of wanted men in the Tennenbaum deal.
We said we were willing to go far, but not as far as releasing prisoners that are likely to murder again either in Judea and Samaria or territory inside the Green Line. This was the essence of our response. It has been three months since we passed on this answer and to date we have not received an official response. We hear a great many things being said and argued over on the other side, but we have not yet received a formal response.
On Friday, 2 October 2009, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu viewed the footage of Gilad Shalit and spoke by telephone with Noam Shalit, Gilad's father. The Prime Minister believes that the footage is important because it verifies Gilad Shalit's situation and determines taht 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.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (17 March 2009):
"Israel presented the other side with generous, far-reaching and unprecedented offers which were meant to lead to Gilad’s release. I approved these offers, the practical meaning of which was the release of many hundreds of terrorists, including murderers of Israeli citizens, for the possibility of returning Gilad. These offers were rejected. Others will not be delivered to the Hamas."
- Special Cabinet meeting on the release of Gilad Shalit 17-Mar-2009
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (20 Jan 2009):
"Before and during the IDF operation in Gaza, I undertook steps to bring about Gilad Shalit's return home as quickly as possible. I believe that there is a chance but the price will be very heavy. I will not rest until he is back home."
FM Livni at press conference with UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-Moon (15 Jan 2009):
"The fact that Gilad Shalit has been in Hamas’ hands for so long is on the government’s agenda. Our commitment to bringing him home never diminishes, but only increases. Yet the things that have been said throughout this period still hold true. This discussion does not need to be conducted publicly. We are constantly reminding everyone, including the members of the international community, that Hamas is holding Gilad Shalit, and not providing any access to him. I also brought this up today in my discussion with the head of the Red Cross, who arrived in Israel for a visit. We expect, from the international community as well, that this subject not be laid aside. It must be addressed, and we heard the UN secretary-general address it today too, but it is most certainly, first of all, the Israeli government’s responsibility.
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Gilad Shalit (19 at the time of his abduction) was born on August 28, 1986. He is the son of Aviva and Noam Shalit and the brother of Yoel and Hadas.
Gilad was born in Nahariya but was raised from the age of two in Mitzpe Hila in the western Galilee. He graduated with distinction from the science class of Manor Kabri High School. Gilad loves math and sports. He has enjoyed playing basketball ever since he was a child, but is interested in sports in general. He follows the different leagues and tournaments all over the world, from tennis and basketball to cycling and athletics. If you wish to know the results of a tournament somewhere in the world - it’s Gilad you should ask.
Gilad is a well-mannered, quiet and introverted young man. An almost permanent shy and hesitant smile light up his face. Gilad is always volunteering to help everyone.
Gilad began his military service about a year before his abduction - at the end of July 2005. Despite a low medical profile, he preferred to serve in a combat unit, followed his elder brother Yoel into the armored corps. After successfully ended his training, Gilad was guarding and ensuring the security of the settlements around Gaza when he was abducted by terrorists.
Gilad Shalit was held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas from the attack at Kerem Shalom on Sunday, June 25, 2006, until his release on October 11, 2011.