The father of Gilad Shalit lamented yesterday that the abducted soldier would "celebrate" the upcoming Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah in Gaza, instead of in Israel with his family.

"Gilad is so close to here, and yet so far away," Army Radio quoted Noam Shalit as saying. "We're standing here on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, which Gilad will 'celebrate' in Hamas' basements in Gaza. For a stretch of 1,200 days and nights, [he has been] away from his family, friends and the State of Israel."

Shalit made the comments at a rally drawing hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians on both sides of the Gaza security fence, which called for the release of his son as well as of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

Today activists for Shalit's release will try to transfer a "holiday gift" to the soldier through the Erez Crossing into the Strip, while Palestinian activists will bring 100 packages intended for Hamas operatives imprisoned in Israel.

Earlier yesterday, Noam Shalit said that United Nations investigator Richard Goldstone erred in referring to his son as "a prisoner of war" in his controversial report on the Gaza offensive.

"I disagree with the Goldstone Commission's findings," Shalit said. "Gilad is not a prisoner of war. Gilad is an abductee and a hostage."

Shalit said his son's continued captivity is a war crime violating international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

"Nonetheless, I accept the committee recommendations with regard to my son and I intend on working to implement these recommendations and make an appeal to the Red Cross," Shalit said.

In the 547-page report, Goldstone called on the militants to release Shalit.