Hi Mom: Gilad Shalit in an image taken from a video made available by Hamas on October 2, 2009. Shalit holds a Palestinian newspaper dated Sept. 14, 2009. Israel received the video in exchange for the release of 20 Palestinian women prisoners from Israeli jails. (Getty Images)
Gilad Shalit was captured by Palestinian Hamas commandos on June 25, 2006. Then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would not agree to the militants' demands for Shalit's release--the freeing of all Palestinian juvenile and female prisoners in Israeli cells. (As of July 2009, Israel held a total of 7,430 Palestinian prisoners, including 291 juveniles, 42 of them under 16, according to according to B'Tselem.) Numerous covert and overt negotiations followed without results. On Oct. 2, 2009, Israeli television broadcast a video of Shalit dated Sept. 14, 2009.
You don't have to speak Hebrew to understand it, or to be moved. The Shalit video is spare, quietly dramatic and oddly reassuring: he is alive. It's the first uncontested proof of his relative well-being since his capture. He is dressed in an olive-green uniform. He sits on a white plastic chair set against a drab white wall, and speaks, with visible dry wit delivered with a sometime shaky voice, of reading newspapers in search of news about his situation, and of wondering when he would be reunited with his family. The video's release would suggest a desire, on Hamas' part, to resolve the situation.
See a new Gilad Shalit Timeline (2006-2009).
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