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Gilad Shalit/Gaza blockade easing

Published on July 16, 2010
Letter from Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, to the parents of Gilad Shalit

Paris, June 25, 2010

My heart went out to you when I read your last letter and I am replying to it a few days away from a very sad anniversary: that of your son Gilad’s fourth year of captivity.

Like all the French I am appalled that a man can in this way be deprived not only of freedom, but also – except for too rare exceptions – of all contact with his family and friends. Such treatment, which totally lacks humanity, ignores the universally recognized principles with respect to prisoners, first and foremost the right to a visit by the International Committee of the Red Cross. No situation, even the one the inhabitants of Gaza are experiencing, can warrant such an ordeal imposed on a person and his family.

I understand the concern you express concerning the recent measures to ease the Gaza blockade in the light of Gilad’s fate. I am nevertheless convinced that we must not lose hope. Firstly, because one cannot capitalize on the deprivation endured by a people to obtain a release which, in any case, should have taken place a long time ago. But above all because, as you stress, it is the negotiation the various parties have been conducting for several months which contains the real elements creating the conditions for obtaining Gilad’s release.

The terms of the settlement proposed remain – irrespective of any developments concerning other matters relating to Gaza. France has been constantly and concretely actively involved in the effort to bring this process to a successful conclusion. This has so far not yet been the case, but we will never give up. We will spare no effort to obtain the implementation of the solution which has been formulated. We have to end the deadlock so that Gilad can return to his family.

I can appreciate the weariness, anger and incomprehension which you have felt, day after day, since 25 June 2006. At every moment, the dignity you have displayed, your courage and action have been exemplary. You can be proud of yourselves and your son, as we are of Gilad and his parents.

Rest assured that our thoughts are constantly with you and with Gilad, our compatriot, and that at no moment will we relax the effort which will, inevitably, be successful.

Until that day which I hope is very soon, I express to you, dear Aviva and dear Noam, my wholehearted solidarity, affection and very great sympathy, (complimentary close)./.

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