Noam Shalit asks U.N. rights council to intervene


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The father of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit asked the U.N. Human Rights Council to speak up on behalf of his son.

Noam Shalit, speaking Monday before the international body in Geneva , said his son is being deprived of his basic human rights.

"Today, almost four years later, our son remains a reward in Hamas captivity and serves as a bargaining chip for the release of prisoners," he said. "No one knows if he is healthy, no one knows where he is being held, he is deprived of daylight, he is deprived of his basic human rights."

Shalit pointed out that the Goldstone report called for his son to be allowed to receive visits from the Red Cross and to make contact with his family.

"We are not politicians, we are not representatives of the Israeli government. We are parents," asserted Shalit, who appeared before the committee with his wife, Aviva.

Shalit spoke during a daylong debate about Israel’s actions in the West Bank and Gaza. On the first day of debate, the countries that took the podium attacked Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians while not mentioning continuing rocket attacks on Israel nor the plight of Shalit, according to reports.

Roni Leshno Yaar, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said in his address that "This council has not built hope, confidence or done anything to bring the sides closer together. If anything, it has done the opposite, nurturing bitterness and anger, mistrust and suspicion." 

The council will vote later in the week on four resolutions — two accuse Israel of human rights abuses against Palestinians and illegal settlement building.

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