Noam Shalit Threatens to Appeal Gaza Truce in Court

Father of abducted soldier irate cease-fire agreement reached before deal clinched over son's release.

The father of abducted soldier Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit sent letters on Wednesday to top government officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, asking for clarification on all matters pertaining the Egyptian-brokered truce agreed to by Israel and Hamas.

In letters to Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Shalit did not conceal his disappointment in the fact that Israel agreed to a truce before consolidating a deal on the release of his son.

Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid in June 2006.

Haaretz has learned that Shalit consulted with judicial officials and considers these letters the first step in future legal proceedings he plans to initiate for his son's release, including a possible appeal to the High Court of Justice against the implementation of the cease-fire.

In his letter to the government officials, Shalit also criticized the fact that no official had notified him of the details of the agreement with Hamas.

Shalit raised doubts about whether the truce would go into effect and about whether negotiations for the release of his son would advance.

In an interview with Channel 2 on Wednesday evening, Shalit said, "Until this moment, we still have not received any official information from any official source."

He also expressed concern that the reopening of Gaza's border crossings will cause Israel to lose whatever leverage remains regarding Gilad's release, and that the matter will drag on for many years.

"We learned the lesson from Ron Arad's family, and we are trying to prevent it from repeating," said Shalit.

He added, "Opening the Rafah crossing is liable to harm Gilad and may enable his being smuggled into another country. The prime minister promised that the subject of Gilad will be part of the truce. Israel is not asking for Gilad at no price; it is willing to pay for his freedom with Palestinian prisoners."

Israel confirmed Wednesday that it had agreed to an Egyptian-proposed cease-fire (tahadiyeh), to go into effect at 6 A.M. Thursday.

Hours after the confirmation was announced, Olmert said that Shalit's release was an inseparable part of the cease-fire deal.

"Gilad Shalit's release is inseparable from the understandings reached in the terms for calm. Each day, I make efforts to return him to his parents. I believe that as part of the understandings that enabled this calm, we will be able to advance his release," Olmert said.