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      Noam Shalit: No Palestinian State While Gilad is Held Captive

      Noam Shalit speaks at UN headquarters in New York. "The PA can't seek statehood while Hamas continues to hold Gilad."
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 9/9/2011, 2:17 AM

      Noam Shalit
      Noam Shalit
      Israel News photo: Flash 90

      Noam Shalit, father of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, gave a speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Thursday, in which he called UN members not to vote in favor of a Palestinian state so long as his son is still being held captive by Hamas.

      “They (the Palestinian Authority) cannot seek recognition or UN membership as long as they continue this international crime and hold Gilad without allowing him visits by a doctor or a Red Cross representative,” Shalit was quoted by Israel’s Channel 10 News as having said.

      Shalit also reminded his audience that the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party, signed a unity agreement with the Hamas terror group.

      “You cannot ignore our rights and the international law when the PA asks for recognition of a state,” he was quoted as saying. “The PA must take responsibility and act decisively for Gilad’s release.”

      “I’m not a politician or a diplomat,” Shalit stressed. “I just want to bring my son home safely.”

      Kol Yisrael government radio reported Thursday night that while in New York, Shalit requested to meet with Riad Mansour, the PA’s permanent observer in the UN, but Mansour refused the request.

      On Wednesday, Shalit met with U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, who said following the meeting, “I was honored to meet with Noam Shalit today, 1,900 days after his son, Gilad, was taken captive. During this period, Hamas has held Gilad hostage and without access by the International Committee of the Red Cross, in violation of international humanitarian standards and basic decency.”

      Rice said she told Shalit of the solidarity of the United States with him and his family, and added, “As I have said repeatedly in the UN Security Council, Hamas must immediately and unconditionally release Gilad Shalit.”

      Noam Shalit’s meetings with diplomats in New York came as the PA officially began its UN bid for statehood.

      The United States subsequently announced it will veto any statehood bid by the Palestinian Authority at the United Nations.