BERLIN (JTA) – German Jewish leaders and pro-Israel groups applauded a German parliamentary motion demanding that Hamas release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
The motion, passed Nov. 11, calls for negotiations and "trust-building" measures leading to Shalit’s release, including allowing a Red Cross to visit the soldier who was captured in a cross-border Gaza raid in March 2006. The text was presented Oct. 27 by the Christian Democratic Party and Christian Social Union, the Social Democratic Party, the Free Democratic Party and the Greens.
The Left Party did not sign on to the motion. Three of its legislators had been on the Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla that was intercepted by Israeli naval commandos on May 31. Nine Turkish nationals were killed in the operation.
Charlotte Knobloch, outgoing chair of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, welcomed the motion and sid that Hamas had demonstrated its "disregard for the Geneva Convention" by not allowing the Red Cross to visit the abducted soldier. "With their kidnapping and political instrumentalisation of this young Israeli, Hamas hasdemonstrated its inhumanity," she said.
Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, has been involved in negotiations with Hamas aimed at a prisoner exchange to release Shalit.