Shalit's Brother Shouts at Independence Day Ceremony: Gilad Is Still Alive

Yoel Shalit and his girlfriend clash with police after being escorted from the Mount Herzl ceremony for disruption; Tzipi Livni leaves ceremony to speak to the two.

Haaretz Service
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Haaretz Service

Yoel Shalit, brother of abducted Israel Defense forces soldier Gilad Shalit clashed with police on Monday as he was escorted out of the official 63rd Independence Day ceremony at Mount Herzl for shouting during the speeches.

Shortly after Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin finished his speech kicking off the official celebrations, Yoel Shalit stood up from the crowd, together with his girlfriend, and raised signs reading "Gilad is still alive."

The two were forcefully removed from the crowd by police as they continued shouting.

After they were removed from the crowd Yoel Shalit clashed with the soldiers who tried to restrain him.

"I am shouting for Gilad," Shalit told reporters after they were removed from the ceremony. "He can't shout, so I have to shout for him."

He added that he did not anticipate the brutal force applied to remove them from the crowd, but he did not mind, as he would do anything for his brother's release.

Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni left the ceremony to go speak to the two outside.

Earier Monday, the Islamist Hamas movement dampened expectations of a prisoner exchange with Israel, which would see hundreds of Palestinian prisoners freed in exchange for Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, held in the Gaza Strip for nearly five years.

"We have no information on this topic," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zhuri told the German Press Agency dpa.

On Sunday, Al Jazeera had reported that Hamas has agreed in principle to a new proposal aimed at securing Shalit's release. The report said the plan was formulated by Egypt.

Egyptian sources told Haaretz Sunday that although Egypt has renewed efforts to promote a deal for Shalit's release, no actual negotiations have begun.



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