The father of Gilad Shalit lamented on Wednesday that the abducted Israeli 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."
He made the comments at a rally held by hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians on both sides of the Gaza security fence, calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel and of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Earlier on Wednesday, 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.
In June 2006, Palestinian gunmen tunneled under the Gaza-Israel border and raided an IDF position close to the Kerem Shalom crossing. Two IDF soldiers were killed, three were wounded, and Gilad Shalit was taken captive.
Israel and Hamas have been negotiating a prisoner swap through Egyptian mediation.
"I disagree with the Goldstone committee's finding [with regards to Gilad]," Noam Shalit said. "Gilad is not a prisoner of war. Gilad is an abducted person and a hostage."
Noam Shalit said his son's continued captivity is a serious war crime which violates international law and the Rome Convention.
"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 on this matter," Shalit said.
In the 547-page report, Goldstone called on the militants to release Shalit.
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