13-Mar-2009, Jerusalem - Gilad Shalit (born 28 August 1986) is an Israeli soldier who was abducted by Palestinian militants in a cross-border raid near the Gaza Strip on 25 June 2006 and is being held hostage by Hammas ever since – almost 1,000 days!
A protest watch, situated opposite the residence of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem, attempts to remind the P.M. that Gilad was abducted on his post and must be released before that post is over. Israeli parliament elections took place on 10 February 2009 and a new right-winged government, headed by Benyamin Netanyahu, will be in power within weeks.
This week Aviva and Noam Shalit (abducted soldier's parents) joined the watch in a desperate last-minute attempt to raise greater public awareness and support. The fruit of their efforts manifested into a large demonstration today (Friday) as hundreds of supporters arrived.
Hints of a possible "happy end" to this desperate situation can be seen in intensified activity on the side of Ofer Dekel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's negotiator in indirect talks with Hammas to release Gilad Schalit, taking place in Cairo. Dekel returned to Israel Friday morning for consultations in Jerusalem and is expected to return to Cairo shortly to resume the intensive negotiations for Shalit's release. The P.M. mentioned yesterday he was preying for Shalit's release, hopefully within days.