Human rights organizations released a joint statement on Friday, the 5th anniversary of the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, demanding an end to his “illegal” and “inhumane” treatment. Israeli, Palestinian, and International human rights organizations together issued the statement. It calls on Hamas for an end to his current treatment, for his captors to allow him to communicate with his family, and for access to him by the International Committee of the Red Cross in accordance with international law.

The collaboration behind the statement is unprecedented. There are differing opinions between the groups concerning the conditions of his release, and some have never before commented on Shalit’s captivity.

The U.S. under-secretary for political affairs briefed the United Nations Security Council saying, ““We urge humanitarian access and his immediate release, and hope that prisoner exchange efforts bear fruit. This would impact favorably on the situation of several thousand Palestinian prisoners in Israel and the broader political atmosphere. UNSCO uses its contacts with all parties to support efforts in this regard.”

There will be several rallies for Shalit’s release following the anniversary. In one event, individuals will spend one hour alone in a cell in solidarity with Shalit.

Shalit was captured in 2006 during a cross border raid by several Palestinian resistance groups, including the armed wing of Hamas. Two resistance fighters and two Israeli soldiers were also killed in the engagement.

Israel currently holds 6,000 – 7,000 Palestinians prisoner. Shalit is the only Israeli prisoner held by Palestinians.

The signatory groups:
Amnesty International & the Israel Section
B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights
Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement
Human Rights Watch
International Federation for Human Rights
Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
Rabbis for Human Rights
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights