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Cartooning in Conflict
Chicago Nov. 4-6

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12/03/2008

A letter to Noam Shalit

The following is a letter to Noam Shalit, the father of the kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit.

The letter was sent on 07.07.06. We avoided publishing it until now because we wanted Noam and his family to get it first and also because in this delicate situation it is important to think twice before publishing such a private letter. However, over the weekend the letter was published in a local newspaper in the north of Israel. After the newspaper published the letter and after further consideration, we have decided to publish the letter here.


Dear Noam,
We just read the article that was published in Ynet (06.07.06). In the article Meir Indor, the general manager of "The Organization of Casualties of Terror Acts in Israel, spoke against releasing prisoners as part of a deal to release your son. He also attacked you on your public call to have negotiations which will include releasing prisoners for the sake of releasing your son, Gilad.

Noam, we avoided from having any connections with you until now because if negotiations won't happen we didn't want unintentionally, due to our presence, that the worse scenario, God forbid, will cross your mind. After reading Indor's comments, however, we couldn't be quiet any more and decided to write to you.

It's important to us that you know not all the families who have been victims of terror in this bloody conflict, which has continued for so many years, agree with Indor and his friends. In our organization there are about five hundred bereaved families from both nations who believe in communication and dialogue as the only way to reach reconciliation. Among the Palestinian BFF members, there are some which used to be prisoners and were released in exchange deals. They joined us and our chosen way, which under no circumstances condones violence and killing, and they are devotedly and persistently working with us day and night to spread the message of reconciliation.

We believe that ending this conflict is essential for our state, and in order to achieve peace, both sides will have to compromise. Releasing prisoners must be part of the process of compromise; the day the longed-for peace agreement is signed will be the same day those who acted with the power of weapons are released, even if we are shaken by the way they have chosen to struggle. Hopefully, releasing prisoners in return for Gilad will be the first significant step in a process which will lead both nations to the goal of peace.

From our point of view there is extra meaning and justification for releasing prisoners. It is a country's primary duty to ensure the peace and safety of its residents. Your son, Gilad, was captured in a military action while serving his country and he is worthy of any compromise which is necessary to bring him home safe and sound.

Our hearts are with you and your family and we hope you'll hug Gilad soon, safe and sound.

Yours,
The Parents Circle
Bereaved Families Supporting Peace,
Reconciliation and Tolerance.

P.S.
We are writing this letter to you personally, but you may publish it or do with it whatever you think is right.
 

 

 







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