Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has pledged to do whatever he can to improve the conditions of captured Israeli Sergeant Gilad Shalit.
Mr Blair, special Middle East envoy to the Quartet, received a 200,000-signature petition in his Jerusalem offices last week presented by Stuart Glyn, chairman of Magen David Adom UK.
The petition, launched by MDA last September, draws attention to the fact that Sergeant Shalit, captured nearly five years ago by Hamas, has been kept in confinement with no access for visits by the International Red Cross. MDA is a full member of the IRC.
Mr Blair said: "I think this is a very timely moment to collect people's signatures as a sign of their concern that Gilad Shalit has now been in captivity for almost five years. It is totally inhumane to keep him in this way, and he should of course be released immediately.
"At the very least there should be proper facilities for the International Red Cross to be able to visit Gilad Shalit and to at least see how he is, and I think it's very important that we don't forget him or forget his family. I want personally to express my solidarity and my sympathy for them, and to say that in whatever we're doing we should never, and do never, leave either his name or his condition off the agenda."
We should never leave Gilad Shalit’s name out
Stuart Glyn said: "The Shalit issue has been on Magen David Adom's agenda for some time. As an organisation we have shared the pain, and at times the helplessness, surrounding his unjust and inhumane captivity. We, like millions around the world, just wanted to do something. Our petition is Magen David Adom's way of keeping Shalit's plight on the agenda."