Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Burundian top judge says he fled the country after government pressure

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

U.N. denies accusations it tried to cover sexual abuse in Central African Republic

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

"Francois of Arabia" criticised in French press

Read more

DEBATE

François of Arabia: Hollande's Budding Friendship with the Gulf (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

François of Arabia: Hollande's Budding Friendship with the Gulf (part 1)

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Guy Verhofstadt: Lack of EU asylum system is 'pushing people to come to Europe'

Read more

FOCUS

The health risk behind Argentina's soya paradise

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Disability discrimination: Removing the obstacles to success

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Mumford & Sons and the 'Queen of British Blues'

Read more

Middle east

Shalit supporters rally in Jerusalem after 12-day march

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-08

The parents and thousands of supporters of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held prisoner in the Gaza Strip for almost four years, rallied in Jerusalem Thursday after a 12-day march to pressure the Israeli government to do more to secure his release.

AFP - The parents and thousands of supporters of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit rallied in Jerusalem on Thursday after a 12-day march aimed to pressure the government into doing more to secure his release.

"It's time to say enough is enough. Four years of hell -- that's too much," the soldier's mother Aviva Shalit told an estimated 25,000 people at Jerusalem's Independence Park.

A former head of Israel's Shin Bet intelligence service told the crowd: "Gilad in prison: it's inhuman, it's immoral, it's illogical."

The droning of vuvuzelas mingled with Israeli pop music blaring from car-mounted loudspeakers as the marchers made their way into central Jerusalem earlier in the day.

Many sported T-shirts bearing an image of the soldier and the words "Gilad is alive."

A banner proclaimed "The people have decided: Free Shalit."

"We are here to give power to the family of Gilad," said Sagai Seleb, an 18-year-old Israeli of Ethiopian descent.

Following the rally, the parents of the 23-year-old soldier planned to set up camp outside the residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They have vowed to stay there until their abducted son is freed.

Shalit was captured just over four years ago in a cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip that involved Hamas and other fighters.

His parents led the march from their home in northern Israel in a bid to ramp up pressure on Netanyahu's government to reach a prisoner swap deal with Hamas.

The Islamist movement, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, wants hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit, including scores of top militants responsible for deadly attacks.

"He is a part of our our family. He could be my brother," said Oren Gilad, a 37-year-old reserve soldier who took part in the march.

Palestinian prisoners, he said "should get the same conditions as Gilad (Shalit)."

Since his capture, Shalit has had no contact with his family or the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In a report marking four years since Shalit's capture on June 25, New York-based Human Rights Watch said his prolonged incommunicado detention "may amount to torture."

The Islamist movement has said that allowing outside access to Shalit could reveal his location to Israel.

Talks with Shalit's Hamas captors collapsed late last year when Israel offered via a German mediator to release about 1,000 prisoners.

Hamas never formally responded, and both sides have since blamed each other for the stalled talks.

There also has been sharp disagreement inside Netanyahu's inner circle over the conditions of the swap which would have seen those convicted of deadly attacks released to their homes in the West Bank.

 

Date created : 2010-07-08

  • ISRAEL

    Concert organised in support of captive soldier Shalit

    Read more

  • ISRAEL

    Family of captive soldier Gilad Shalit leads march to Jerusalem

    Read more

  • ISRAEL

    Israelis mark fourth year of soldier Shalit's captivity

    Read more

COMMENT(S)