Statement by Ambassador to US Michael Oren on Release of Gilad Shalit
(October 18, 2011)
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Today, the people of Israel and our supporters worldwide share in the joy of the Shalit family who were reunited with their beloved Gilad, held for five agonizing years by Hamas terrorists. As we witness this expression of happiness, we take pride in the strength and unity of the people of Israel and of their unwavering commitment to redeem prisoners who have fallen into enemy hands. We reaffirm the covenant between the State of Israel and its citizen army that exalts the principle that no soldier is ever left behind. Today, too, we are pained by the price we have paid in order to secure Gilad’s release, and we share the torment of those for whom this price is intensely personal.
We are hopeful that the Palestinian leadership will work to prevent any future terrorist attacks and renounce the violent acts perpetrated by many of those Palestinian prisoners who will be released. Today is an opportunity for the Palestinian people to display the humanity and dignity that have given expression throughout the Arab world this year by turning their backs on the convicted murderers and those who laud them.
Israel will continue to defend itself in the face of multiple threats and withstand the attempts of those who seek to destroy us. We will be girded by our love of life, trusting in its supremacy -- moral as well as military – over those who love death. We will make the hard choices, whether in war or in peace, to ensure the safety and integrity of Israel – the State, the Land, and its people.
Source: Michael Oren