Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Swap

Israel has published a list of 477 Palestinian prisoners to be released in the first stage of a swap deal for the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.


Shalit, 25, was captured in 2006 in a Hamas-led border cross raid. His location remains a mystery, although he is believed to have been held in the Gaza Strip.


Another 550 Palestinian prisoners are to be released within two months as the second round of the landmark deal.


According to the list, most prisoners will return to their homes in the illegally occupied West Bank or the Gaza Strip.

But some are categorised as being released under a "security arrangement" or to be "relocated" to the Palestinian territories or "abroad".


"We were told by some senior members of Hamas that they expected six senior [officials] - sort of top brass - from the al-Qassam Brigades, the group's military wing, to be returned to Gaza," Johnston said.

"But as it turned out out, they've managed to receive only one of these top brass figures - Yihia al-Sinwar, one of the founding members of the Qassam brigades."


Relatives of victims of Palestinian attacks are planning to hold protests demanding cancellation or at least a delay of the deal, Al Jazeera's Cal Perry reported.


On Tuesday, the day of the exchange, prisoners will be transported to various military checkpoints between Israeli and Palestinian territories.

Those ordered for deportation abroad will be sent to Egypt, the transit point from which they will carry on to their final point of destination.


Or “lost.”

There are a number of high-profile Palestinians who were involved in attacks on Israel. I’m surprised they’re willing to release them. This Shalit must be a very important soldier to be worth hundreds of Palestinians, some of whom at least were responsible for terrorist activities and killings.

Husam Badran, the former head of Hamas's military wing in the West Bank and instigator of the Dolphinarium attack [where 21 Israeli teenagers were killed by a suicide bomber while in line outside a night club and 132 were injured], is expected to be among 477 Palestinian prisoners released on Tuesday in a deal to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. A further 550 will be freed within two months.

"It's surreal. It's beyond belief," said one young mother angrily as she looked at the monument. "I may be the only one against it, but no good deal sees the release of 1,000 killers. People say Netanyahu showed courage in agreeing to set them free, but I say he has given in to terrorism."

UK Guardian

Also, I'm surprised that Israel's crack intelligence team and army haven't found and rescued Shalit.

And it does seem very excessive. Something gives. What? Is Netanyahu making a statement that one Israeli soldier is valued more than a thousand worthless Palestinian scum? Or in the negotiations, did Hamas keep upping the number to be exchanged by threatening to publicly dismember Shalit and destroy Netanyahu’s career, blaming him for refusing to make a deal to release an Israeli citizen soldier? (It is reported that Shalit has become an icon in Israel as his parents have plead his cause unceasingly since his capture.)

Or what?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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