Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted in June 2006 by Hamas-linked militants from Gaza in a cross-border raid on his IDF base. Hamas and Israel have been negotiating since then for his release, mediated by Germany and Egypt.
The footage below is from a video filmed by Hamas on September 14 2009, which was handed over on Friday in return for Israel's release of 20 female Palestinian prisoners.
I am Gilad, son of Aviva and Noam Shalit, brother of Hadas and Yoel, who lives in Mitzpe Hila. My identification number is 300097029. Today is Monday, September 14, 2009. As you can see, I am holding in my hand today's edition of the newspaper Palestine, September 14, 2009, published in Gaza.
(Close-up of newspaper so the date becomes clearly discernable)
I read newspapers in search of information about me. I hope to find some kind of information indicating that my release and return home is imminent. I have been waiting and hoping for a long time for the day that I am released.
I hope that the current administration, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu won't waste this opportunity to achieve a deal, and as a result I will finally be able to realize my dream and be released.
I want to send my regards to my family and to tell them that I love them and miss them very much, and pray for the day that I will see them again.
Dad, Yoel and Hadas, do you remember the day you came to visit me at my base in the Golan Heights, on December 31, 2005, which, if I'm not mistaken, is known as Revaiyah Bet?
We took a tour around the base and you took my picture atop the Merkava tank, and on one of the old tanks at the entrance to the base. We then went to a restaurant in one of the Druze villages, and on the way, we took each other's pictures on the side of the road with the snow capped Hermon Mountain as our backdrop.
I want to tell you that I feel well, in terms of health, and the Mujahideen, of the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, are treating me wonderfully. Thank you very much, and goodbye.
(Shalit stands up briefly and video ends)
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