Shalit's Father to Address UN Council on Son's Release

Noam Shalit to demand the execution of the Goldstone Gaza report which calls for his son's release.

The father of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit is to address the United Nations' Human Rights Council next week, Haaretz learned on Wednesday, where he will demand the implementation of Goldstone report recommendations regarding his son.

The Goldstone report charged both Israel and Hamas with war crimes following Israel's Operation Cast Lead in December 2008, which was launched as an offensive measure to stop the heavy rocket fire from Gaza on its southern communities.

In his address to the UN body in Geneva, Noam Shalit will also demand that the allow the Red Cross as well as by media outlets to visit his son, who has been held captive over three and a half years.

Haaretz had also learned that Shalit would be the first speaker in the Human Rights Council's session, and that he will be followed by representatives of various countries, including Arab nations.

Nick Kaufman, who serves as the Shalit family's attorney and who will be escorting the family to the Geneva address, told Haaretz that Israel implement the recommendations of the Goldstone Gaza report, made by human rights groups as well as by Arab states, cannot ignore the fact that the report also refers to Shalit's release.

"If those groups want to prove their sincerity in regards to the Goldstone report they must demand Gilad's release, clearly stipulated by the report," Kaufman said.

Kaufman added that after Noam Shalit's address, the family is scheduled to meet the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. Pillay released a report criticizing Israel's response to the Goldstone report earlier this week, saying that Jerusalem had not impartially investigated issues raised by the paper.

Kaufman said that the Shalit family planned to express their "disappointment at the fact that the commissioner did not find it important to mention the failure to release Gilad Shalit."

Last July, Noam Shalit testified in front of the Goldstone commission, saying that the abduction of his son violates the Geneva Convention and call for his immediate release by his captors.

"The committee is meant to relate to human rights, and he [Gilad] has lived without human rights for three years. No one knows what happened to him, and not even the Red Cross has paid him a visit," Shalit told the committee.

Shalit also expressed his view that Hamas should be held responsible for the abduction and all its implications. In an unusual move he also noted the specific responsibility of Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal, and asked that "the committee determine that Hamas and Khaled Meshal are responsible for the war crime of taking hostages.