Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Liberal Statement on the Agreement to Release Gilad Shalit

TORONTO and MONTREAL and SHEDIAC, NB — Liberal Leader Bob Rae made the following statement on the agreement to release Gilad Shalit:

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Gilad Shalit and his family on the news of his imminent return to Israel after five years of imprisonment by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israeli efforts to bring this young man home to his family, with the support of the international community, reaffirm the tremendous value that we place on human life. This is a positive step on the path to peace and a negotiated settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict – and it must be accompanied by a renunciation of terror, a return to serious negotiations, and a firm commitment to peace and stability.”

Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Dominic LeBlanc stated:

“After five painful years of negotiations, Gilad Shalit’s release from captivity is a hopeful sign for the road ahead. Our warmest thoughts go out to his family and friends, who can finally start planning for Gilad’s return home.”

Liberal Critic for Justice and Human Rights Irwin Cotler added:

“We are pleased that imprisoned Israeli Gilad Shalit will be returned to Israel and to his family after enduring 1935 days of incommunicado imprisonment without any humanitarian visits – in violation of the Geneva Convention. We understand that his release was secured in an agreement whereby Israel agrees to release a large number of persons convicted of terrorist crimes who we trust will not return to terrorist activity. This ends the five-plus year ordeal for Gilad and his family, which has engaged the entire Israeli people who have been appealing and praying for his release all these years.”