Noam Shalit to Urge UN Rights Body: Help Free My Son

Shalit to address UN in Geneva, will demand it make efforts to allow for the Red Cross to visit his son Gilad.

Noam Shalit, the father of captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, will urge the United Nations Council on Human Rights on Monday to implement the recommendations listed in the Goldstone report pertaining to his son's release.

Shalit, who is scheduled to address the body at its Geneva headquarters, will also demand that the UN make every effort to allow for the Red Cross to visit his son, who was kidnapped by Hamas over three years ago.

Haaretz has learned that Shalit will be the first speaker of the session. He is scheduled to be followed by representatives of member states, including those of Arab countries.

Nick Kaufman, the lawyer representing the Shalit family, told Haaretz that the international community cannot demand the full implementation of the Goldstone report, which accused Israel and Hamas of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, while ignoring its explicit call to release Gilad Shalit.

Following Shalit's remarks, the family will meet with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who last week issued a report critical of Israel's response to the allegations raised in the Goldstone report.

Judge Richard Goldstone was assigned the task of investigating the actions of Israel and Hamas during the three-week military offensive in Gaza over a year ago.

Kaufman said the Shalit family will communicate to Pillay its disappointment for omitting any mention of Gilad Shalit's release in her critical report.

Noam and Aviva Shalit met yesterday with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. During the 15-minute meeting, the Shalit family demanded that Ban exert the full weight of his influence in order to advance Gilad Shalit's release.

Following the meeting, Noam Shalit said that Ban "expressed sympathy, support, and maximal understanding of our situation and the nightmare that we are enduring."

The UN chief visited the Gaza Strip for the second time yesterday since Israel ended its three-week offensive against Hamas in January 2009. He toured areas where hundreds of houses and factories had been destroyed.

In the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, Ban visited a building site of 150 homes funded by the United Nations and said Israel had recently approved the flow of construction materials needed to complete the project.