20,000 join Shalit family march

July 3, 2010 at 9:26 PM
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ACRE, Israel, July 3 (UPI) -- Noam Shalit, father of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, told thousands of supporters Saturday he has heard enough explanations and excuses.

The elder Shalit told those attending a rally in Acre to urge Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to agree to a prisoner exchange with Hamas to win his son's release, Haaretz reported. The Shalit family began a 12-day march across the country Friday and have been joined by about 20,000 people.

Gilad Shalit, then 19, was abducted in June 2006 by militants from Gaza. While in captivity, he has been promoted from corporal to sergeant.

"We are asking, we are demanding, after four long years: Enough explanations, enough excuses, enough of the explanations as to why it is dangerous, enough foot-dragging," Noam Shalit said. "We are calling on you -- don't ignore tens of thousands of citizens who marched behind us in a powerful wave en route to Jerusalem and the thousands more who waited for us at the junctions."

Netanyahu said this week he is willing to exchange 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Shalit. But he said he is not willing to comply with Hamas's demand that all those on its list, including men convicted of violent acts of terror, should be freed.

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