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ICEJ-Norway rally demands Oslo government seek Schalit’s release

Joined by 4,000 Christians at mass rally

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14 Jun 2009 (All day)
ICEJ-Norway rally demands Oslo government seek Schalit’s release

On Sunday, 14 June 2009, the Norway branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem held a mass rally attended by 4,000 Christians which called upon the Government of Norway and the International Red Cross to redouble their efforts to secure the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit from Hamas and his other abductors.

In an appeal delivered to a Norwegian representative of the Red Cross and the Government of Norway, the ICEJ rally noted that Prime Minister Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre have opened contacts with Hamas, placing a special responsibility on them to seek Schalit’s release. The appeal letter also noted that Norway currently chairs the forum of donor nations to the Palestinians and thus should also use its leverage in that capacity to free Schalit, now held hostage for 1086 days.

The rally was held in the amphitheatre of the Kongeparken family park outside Stavanger and drew 4,000 Christians from all over Norway. The Israeli ambassador Michael Eligal was the guest of honor.

“This was the largest pro-Israel rally ever held in Norway, and we’re hopeful it will spur our government leaders to renew their efforts to free Gilad Schalit. They are in a unique position to do so and have a special duty to pursue this humanitarian mission,” said Leif Wellerop, Chairman of ICEJ-Norway.

During the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in January, the ICEJ-Norway branch also held a large pro-Israel rally at the Parliament building in Oslo, and were attacked by pro-Palestinian protestors.

An English translation of the rally appeal letter follows below:

 

Appeal on behalf of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit
Delivered to the Government of Norway
and
The Norwegian Chapter of the International Red Cross
Sunday, 14 June 2009

It is as of today 1085 days since the young IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped on Israeli territory by Hamas. He has been 1085 days without contact with his family; 1085 days in which the International Red Cross has been denied access to his prison; 1085 days of insecurity, not knowing his conditions as a prisoner of Hamas.

The Norwegian Government, under Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, has given their recognition to the terrorist organization Hamas. This brings a particular responsibility upon the Norwegian Government to address the violation of international law concerning the treatment of Gilad Shalit, in that it should insist that Hamas respect international conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners in uniform.

Hamas has terrorized southern Israel for many years with thousands of Kassam rockets and mortars, solely aimed at the civilian population. Hamas is holding Gilad Shalit captive to blackmail the Government of Israel. We challenge the international community not to comply with this strategy. Furthermore, we urge the Palestinian donor nations’ forum, currently chaired by Norway, to use their influence as a means to gain access to Gilad Shalit for the International Red Cross and to secure his release.

On 16 December 2008, Gilad Shalit was declared an honorary citizen of Paris. He holds dual French and Israeli citizenship. We ask the Norwegian Government to contact French authorities and make a joint effort to get Hamas to apply with the Geneva Convention of 1949 concerning the treatment of prisoners.

We encourage the International Red Cross not to give up, but to strengthen and redouble their efforts to work hard and tirelessly to gain access to Gilad Shalit, and to contribute in raising international awareness on his situation in every contact with Hamas. In the words of Jacob Kellenberger, President of the International Red Cross in Geneva: “Every prisoner has the right at least to let their families know they are alive.”

We demand that Hamas immediately give the Red Cross access to Gilad Shalit, and give him the opportunity to communicate with his family.

Wherever Gilad Shalit may be, we promise never to forget him nor rest until he is free.

ICEJ-Norway
Leif Wellerop, Chairman
Kongeparken, Ålgård
Norway