I donâ€™t know much except for what I hear on TV and the bits of information floating around. Most importantly, his name is Gilad Shalit and heâ€™s 19 years old. He lives in the Western Galilee (North) in a small town called Mitzpe Hila. He is the middle of three kids, quiet, shy, an introvert. The army found his blood stained armored vest on the fence separating the Israeli and PA area. Walking tracks have been found and it seems clear that he was lead away in good health. He is alive.
We got caught with our pants down. No two ways about it. The various army branches are slinging accusations back and forth. The General Security Services claims there were warning and the army says there wasnâ€™t.
What we know of the event? An 800 Meter tunnel was dug from the PA area to an army post in Kerem Shalom. The outpost had an armored personal carrier and a tank near by. The attack was well coordinated â€“ 3 teams 8 people. The personal carrier was empty but was destroyed by two people. Three more attacked the outpost, 2 attackers were killed, IDF has 7 wounded. The last team attacked the tank, killing the tank commander Second Lieutenant Hanan Barak 20 and an infantry sergeant Pavel Slotzker 20. Gilad was wounded and was taken hostage.
Voices on the other side vary. What was initial glee has now turned to regret and some calls for the release of the hostage. Olmert in his first real security crisis sent a message, he holds the Palestinian Authority directly responsible for the welfare of the soldier. Hamas in what seems like an odd appeal release a statement â€“ in Hebrew no less â€“ calling for the well being and release of the soldier. Some sources are saying that Hamas never intended to kidnap the soldier and that this was part of an attempt to save face after the recent events in the PA.
In the meantime, we are waiting for Gilad Shalit.