WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15), a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, issued the following statement upon the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier abducted in 2006 during a cross-border raid by Hamas militants.

“The release of Israeli Army Sergeant Gilad Shalit, though long overdue, is welcomed news in Israel and the United States. Five years of separation from his family and friends, and what has undoubtedly been a painful disruption of his young life, have finally come to an end. I am extremely happy Gilad has been reunited with his loved ones and once again has the ability to live an enjoyable and productive life.

“While we celebrate the release of this young soldier, we must remember that his negotiated return coincides with the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including many members of Hamas connected to attacks against the nation of Israel – a stark reminder that the Israeli people remain under the constant threat of terrorism. I am optimistic today’s agreement, under which both the Israeli and Palestinian people can feel their interests were met, will facilitate better cooperation among the two parties and inspire greater hope that peace in the region can ultimately be achieved.”