'Goods Can't Be Brought Into Gaza While Gilad Rots in a Cellar'

Lead Gilad Shalit activist criticizes government for forgetting about Shalit in the face of the international diplomatic crisis following the Gaza flotilla clashes.

Goods can't be brought into the Gaza Strip while Gilad rots in a cellar, a lead activist for the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit said on Sunday.

"The Israeli government, the prime minister, and the security minister, while trying to find a solution to the latest diplomatic crisis, have forgotten that the blockade of Gaza serves as an impetus to pressure Hamas as Gilad's incarceration has already lasted four years," Shimshon Liebman said.

Since its raid on the Gaza aid flotilla last week, Israel has faced worldwide pressure to end its blockade on Gaza which has been in place since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007.

It was reported last week that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering easing the naval blockade of Gaza.

In so doing, he is acceding to pressure from Washington, which opposes continuing the blockade in its present format and demands that Israel make it easier to send civilian goods to Gaza.

"It can't be possible that Israel will allow massive amounts of merchandise to enter the Gaza strip at the same time that Gilad is rotting in a Hamas cellar," Liebman said.

"If the Israeli government isn’t able to withstand international pressure, they must pay the price that has been demanded to return Gilad," Liebman said.