A rare letter arrived on Monday, to the family of Gilad Shalit (photo, from foxnews.com), the Israeli corporal who was seized by Palestinian militants and taken to Gaza in June 2006.
The handwritten letter that seems to prove that he is still alive, was delivered by representatives of former President Jimmy Carter to the soldier’s parents, according to a statement released by the Carter Center in Atlanta.
The handwriting was Shalit’s and the letter contained details suggesting that it had been written recently, said his father, Noam, who was quoted late Monday in the Israeli news media. His son “begs for his life and for his release” in the letter, said Noam Shalit, but he refused to divulge the rest of its contents.
Since he was captured in a cross-border raid in June 2006, it was the third letter received from Gilad Shalit. The family also received an audiotape a year ago, in which the soldier said he was being held by the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. He said then that he needed hospitalization as his health was deteriorating.
In April, Carter visited the region and met with representatives of Hamas, which angered Israeli and American officials, The Hamas controls Gaza, and is classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union.
The Hamas leader Khaled Mashal promised to transfer a letter from the corporal when he met with Carter in Damascus, Syria. On Sunday the letter was received at the Carter Center’s office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, said the center, adding that Mr Carter and his staff would try to arrange for a return letter from Shalit’s parents.
In order to try to stop the continuous rocket and mortar fire from Gaza, Israel must soon decide whether to accept an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Hamas.
Progress in Shalit’s case was a condition for a truce, said Israel. Hamas wants to swap the soldier for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners who are being held in Israeli jails.