As the Jewish Sabbath approaches this year on the fifth anniversary of Gilad Shalit being taken prisoner by Hamas, Governor Martin O'Malley today issued the following statement:
"For five years, the murderous terrorist organization Hamas has illegally -- and immorally -- held Gilad Shalit, without even the basic human decency of providing access to the Red Cross.
"Today, as Marylanders, as Americans, and as part of the larger human family, we echo the G8's demand for his unconditional release.
"Since the days when the Exodus set sail from Maryland's waters, the people of Maryland and the people of Israel have shared a special relationship.
"Our hearts and prayers remain with Gilad's family as they continue to pray for his release -- and our feet remain planted, as we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Israeli people in support of their right as a sovereign nation to defend themselves from acts of terror and aggression.
"As President Kennedy said, Israel "carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.' Israel's national security is America's national security, and terrorists like Hamas pose a threat not only to Israel, but to free peoples everywhere. We must continue our steadfast, unwavering commitment to Israel's safety, sovereignty, and security."