WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) introduced a resolution calling for the immediate and unconditional release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Tuesday’s resolution is Ackerman’s third calling for Shalit’s release. He introduced similar measures in March 2007 and June 2010 during previous Congresses. Next week will mark five years since Shalit was captured by Hamas in a cross-border raid.
"I think it is absolutely essential that the United States keep faith with our Israeli allies and stand with them in calling for the immediate release of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit," Ackerman said in a statement. "The terrorists in Hamas, it should be recalled, snuck into Israel proper and attacked a group of IDF soldiers for the purpose of kidnapping Cpl. Shalit in order to hold him hostage."
Ackerman, the ranking member on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, has met with Shalit’s family in Israel, Washington and New York.
"Hamas’ stooges can say whatever they want about this blood-soaked bunch of terrorists, but their behavior, in the form of unrelenting violence against Israeli civilians and the disgusting anti-Semitism they spew, shows their true beliefs and their real values," Ackerman said. "Congress must stand with Israel in calling for Cpl. Shalit’s immediate and unconditional release, and I expect many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this resolution and call for its consideration and adoption by the House."