The International Committee of the Red Cross reiterated on Thursday its demand that kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit be allowed regular contact with his family, Italian news agency AKI reported
Since Shalit's capture in June 2006, the ICRC has repeatedly asked the Gaza-ruling Hamas movement to allow the exchange of Red Cross messages between Shalit and his family.
The most recent requests were made at the highest level, but these and all others have been refused. On Wednesday, former US president Jimmy Carter was in Gaza and reportedly delivered a letter to Hamas officials written by Shalit's parents to be given to the kidnapped soldier.
"We welcome the fact that yesterday former US president Jimmy Carter handed Hamas a letter from Gilad Shalit's family to him," said Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, the ICRC's head of operations for the Middle East and North Africa.
"However, this cannot replace the regular and unconditional contacts with his family that Gilad Shalit is entitled to under international humanitarian law."
The ICRC said it "regrets that political considerations are judged more important than the simple humanitarian gesture of allowing a captive to be in touch with his family after three years of separation."
However, deposed Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya said on Thursday that Shalit's release depends on Israel's will.
"We are keen to end this case on a humanitarian and political basis, but everything is subject to the position of the other side (Israel)," Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader and former Palestinian prime minister, told reporters.
"If true intentions are available, there will be a solution very soon."
Repeated requests by the ICRC to visit Gilad Shalit to ascertain his conditions of detention and treatment have also been refused, says the organisation.
Shalit has been held captive by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip for almost three years. He was seized by militants in a cross-border raid on 25 June 2006.