On June 25th, 2006, over four years ago, Hamas terrorists broke across the Gaza-Israel border, killing two Israeli soldiers and capturing Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Despite repeated requests, the International Committee of the Red Cross has not been allowed access to him, and rumors of progress in prisoner swap negotiations or of an imminent transfer or release have come and gone.
House Resolution 1359, introduced by Rep. Gary Ackerman and Rep. Dan Burton, calls “for the immediate and unconditional release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.” H. Res 1359 also thoroughly emphasizes that Hamas has violated “international humanitarian law and the most basic standards of human conduct” by denying Gilad humane treatment as a captive, proper access to medical personnel, and regular contact with his family.
This bipartisan resolution expresses strong support for the State of Israel and the need for the creation of a democratic, viable, and independent Palestinian state alongside Israel as the means to achieve lasting peace in the region. Finally, the resolution condemns Iran and Syria as the primary supporters and patrons of Hamas.
We hope that this Congressional Resolution will draw focus on Hamas’ lack of response to humanitarian agreements proposed by the Israeli government that would ensure Gilad’s freedom. Congress must pressure Hamas to resume and conclude these agreements, recognizing the Talmudic injunction that “whoever saves a life, it is as if he saved a world entire.”
In November 2009, the Union for Reform Judaism adopted a resolution that reaffirms our utmost commitment to securing Gilad’s freedom. As we proudly support these efforts, we continue to think of Gilad and of his parents, Noam and Aviva, and hope for his safe release.
Ask your representative to join H. Res 1359 to address the ongoing plight of Israeli solider Gilad Shalit, and call for his immediate and unconditional release. For more information, please contact RAC Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Solly Kane at 202.387.2800.