Jerusalem: The father of an Israeli soldier
captured by Gaza militants in June 2006 appealed to
Palestinians on Tuesday to pressure their Hamas rulers to agree to
release him in a prisoner exchange.
"We urge you to exert more pressure on your leaders, as we
are in Israel, in order to accelerate the exchange of
prisoners," Noam Shalit said in an open letter addressed to
the "Palestinian Muslim people in Gaza on the occasion of
In the letter, released to the press in Hebrew and Arabic,
the soldier`s father says he hopes "the 1,000 prisoners, your
sons, your fathers, your brothers can return home and
celebrate Eid al-Fitr with their families."
The holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from
sunrise to sunset, will begin in the second week of August and
conclude with the Eid, or feast.
"I am convinced that the Palestinians can apply pressure
to Hamas to accept the prisoner exchange," Shalit told AFP at
the American Colony hotel in Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem,
where the letter was unveiled.
Hamas and other militant groups captured Israeli soldier
Gilad Shalit, now 23, in a deadly cross-border raid, and have
demanded an exchange involving hundreds of Palestinian
prisoners, including several top militants.
Israel made its most recent offer late last year through a
German mediator but Hamas has yet to formally respond to the
deal. Each side has blamed the other for the failure to reach