December 04, 2006

Thousands participate in rally for kidnapped soldiers in Brussels

Five thousand Jewish representatives from European countries took part in a solidarity rally Wednesday in Brussels for the three Israel Defense Forces soldiers abducted this summer.

The rally was held opposite the European Parliament building as it was due to begin its session. Noam Shalit, whose son Gilad was kidnapped to Gaza in June, addressed the crowd.

Two Belgian ministers and 10 European Parliament members participated in the rally, along with the Brussels chief rabbi, Bnei Akiba and Israeli Scouts youth group representatives, and others.

Roger Cukierman, the head of the Jewish community in France, called on European leaders to assume responsibility and bring back the abducted soldiers.

The head of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with Israel, Jana Hybaskova, who met earlier Wednesday with the soldiers' families, said the Lebanese government is severely violating the Geneva Accords and international law.

"[UN] Security Council Resolution 1701 has not been implemented, which required the immediate and unconditional release of the kidnapped soldiers. Furthermore, there is a severe violation of the Geneva Accords, which requires the transfer of information regarding the medical state of the kidnapped," said Hybaskova.

Hybaskova added that she was confident that the rally would influence not only European leaders, but the European public as well.