Today marks the 5th anniversary of the capture (read kidnapping) of Gilad Shalit.
Gliad was an Israeli soldier on patrol near the Gaza strip. His patrol was attacked by Hamas troops and he was taken by them to an unknown location.
He has been there for 5 years today, with little signs of life, and nothing in almost 2 years.
The Red Cross is not allowed to visit him, the UN is not allowed to visit him, and there are rumors that he has been snuck out of Gaza and into Iran or some other Arab country sympathetic to Hamas.
Now, being a soldier, one could argue that Shalit was a legitimate target, and that being a soldier, he has no expectation of safety. Even so, he is being held in conditions that are not in accordance to the Geneva convention, he was not involved in an act of (direct) hostility, and the event in which he was captured was planned and initiated by Hamas to get an Israeli captive.
Israel is also not helping the situation, by refusing to negotiate with Hamas, since they are a terrorist organization, who not only will not recognize Israel’s right to exist in and borders, but actively seeks the destruction of the State of Israel.
I call on the leadership of Hamas to allow contact with Gilad Shalit, and to improve his conditions while in captivity, and I call on the leadership of Israel to open negotiations with Hamas despite their clear Anti-Israel goals.
You don’t make peace with friends, you do so with enemies, and Gilad Shalit is not a principal, he is a person. He is suffering, his family is suffering, and the people of Israel who care about him are suffering.
We were at his family’s tent/vigil in front of the Israeli prime minister’s home today, and there was a sign there that said:
גלעד הבן של כולנו
Gilad is the son of all of us.
Both sides of the conflict are to blame, and he, and the rest of us are being used by pawns by the leaders who are digging in their heels, and refuse to talk – a method of tantrums worthy of a 5 year old.
And speaking of 5 year olds, that is the age of Gilad’s captivity. ISn’t it time to bring him home?
I pray for solace for Gilad and his Family, and their reunification soon, I pray for leadership that is strong enough to be pragmatic, and make the tough and painful choices and concessions, but most of all I pray for peace for the Israeli mother waiting for her child, the Palestinian mother waiting for her child to come home, and for the whole world.