It’s been two weeks and things have not changed since the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit and still Israel has no information or knowledge of his whereabouts.
Arab nations and the international community have put pressure on Syrian President Hafez Assad that he demand from Hamas’ political bureau chief in Damascus, Khaled Mashaal, to release the soldier, but to no avail. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas returned to Ramallah after his diplomatic efforts to influence Hamas leaders in Damascus failed. Negotiations also took place through the mediation of Egyptian and French leaders again leading to no results.
While Israel is continuing to put pressure on the Palestinian population by means of its military operations, the Palestinians continue to launch rockets into Israel and the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip continues to support Hamas in not releasing the abducted soldier without getting something in return.
During the past two weeks Israel has faced a new kind of danger since for the first time Kassam rockets have targeted the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon, 12 km (7.5 miles) from the Gaza Strip. This poses a new threat to Israeli cities and towns located in the southern part of the country.