The following joint call to action from the ZCV and the JCCV has been sent to:
• All sitting members of State Parliament
• Parliamentary Friends of Israel
• Parliamentary Friends of Palestine
Re: Five Long Years of Captivity for the Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit
We write to you on behalf of the Jewish and Zionist Communities of Victoria, as Saturday 25 June 2011 marks 5 years since Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, then 19 years old, was abducted from Israel in a cross border attack by Palestinian terrorists.
Gilad Shalit’s plight is a humanitarian issue that should concern all those who champion the cause for fair and humane treatment of fellow human beings.
Gilad is being held against his will by Hamas and continues to be denied the most basic human rights such as access by the International Red Cross, conditions of international humanitarian law. His whereabouts and his physical and emotional condition are unknown, and he has not been permitted any contact with his family apart from one letter, one audio recording and one video recording over the 5 year period.
While the world’s attention is focused on issues of human rights throughout the Middle East, the real crisis in Gaza is that Gilad Shalit has been held for so long with no attributable rights.
To coincide with the date of his capture the Jewish community, joined by its supporters in the wider Victorian community, is organising a weekend of awareness and solidarity with the plight of Gilad. The “5 minutes for Gilad campaign” was held earlier this year in Israel with tens of thousands of people coming to a standstill for 5 minutes, with each minute representing one year that Gilad Shalit has spent in captivity.
The Victorian Jewish and Zionist community kindly requests that the State Government and politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, use this opportune time to demand from Gilad Shalit’s captors his immediate release from captivity and pending his release:
• immediate access by the Red Cross;
• immediate information about his health and well being;
• provide Gilad with the opportunity to communicate with the outside world.
We thank you for standing for democratic values and human rights.
Sam Tatarka John Searle
Zionist Council of Victoria Jewish Community Council of Victoria