The meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Dr. Navanethem Pillay, who has been visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority since Sunday, ended earlier today (Wednesday, February 9th 2011). The purpose of the visit was to expose the High Commissioner to the complexities of the situation and the dilemmas Israel is facing as the only democracy in the Middle East. continue reading…
Gilad Shalit turns 24 tomorrow. It has been over four years since Gilad was kidnapped from Israel by Hamas. None of his family or even the International Red Cross has been permitted to see him since. Not for his birthday, nor even to provide for his most basic humanitarian needs as international law demands.
When Gilad was 11, he wrote a story called “When the Shark and the Fish first met.” The words of a small boy, a maritime allegory, have come to represent the entire conflict. In the video below, posted originally two years ago, a group of 11-year-olds from the Bronx read this story whose author was just like them when he wrote it, except that he hailed from Israel instead of New York.
While the terrorists who hold Gilad captive have taken away his freedom, they have not silenced his voice.
Unfortunately, the international community still has not spoken forcefully enough to secure Gilad’s release. While the world looks on, nothing has changed — four years since he was kidnapped, Gilad is still a hostage, Hamas still refuses to allow the Red Cross to visit him, and there is still no end in sight.
In a small Jerusalem café, I sat with Noam Shalit and tried to discuss his son, Gilad. I say tried because each time Noam, a soft-spoken, bespectacled man, began a sentence, the owner of the café rushed over with complimentary plates of humus, salads and desserts. Passersby, glimpsing Noam through the window, burst inside to embrace him. “We are with you,” they cried. “We will get our Gilad home.”
That our is the key to understanding the devotion that Israelis feel for Gilad Shalit. The Israel Defense Forces is a citizens’ army in which most young men serve for a minimum of three years, followed by several decades of reserve duty. Young women serve for at least two. Our soldiers are literally our parents, our siblings, our children. Israel is also a small country with few if any degrees of separation between families. Even those who have never met the Shalits know someone who has. And all of us have loved ones—a brother, a son—who could suffer the same ordeal that Gilad began four years ago today. continue reading…
DEPUTY FM AYALON: Good morning, everyone. I want to report this morning that the armada of hate and violence in support of the Hamas terror organization was a premeditated and outrageous provocation. The organizers are well-known for their ties to Global Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Hamas. They have a history of arms smuggling and deadly terror. On board the ship we found weapons that were prepared in advance and used against our forces. The organizers’ intent was violent, their method was violent, and unfortunately, the results were violent.
Israel regrets any loss of life and did everything to avoid this outcome. We repeatedly called upon the organizers and all those who were associated with them, through diplomatic channels and any other means we could, to stop this provocation.
The so-called humanitarian aid was not for a humanitarian purpose. Had it been for a humanitarian purpose, they would have accepted our offer to deliver all humanitarian supply through the appropriate channels which are used on a daily basis, as we make sure that Gaza will not be in short of humanitarian supplies. On a daily basis, we do that. We ask them to send this through the appropriate channels, whether it’s the U.N., whether it’s the Red Cross, whether it’s our people, but to no avail. continue reading…