Daily Israel Report

Final Agreement for Gilad Shalit's Release Almost Final

A deal between Israel and Hamas for the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is "almost final" and should be completed within 2 weeks.
By Avi Yellin
First Publish: 12/4/2009, 8:20 AM / Last Update: 12/4/2009, 11:49 AM

(file)
The Egyptian al-Shuruk newspaper reported on Thursday that a deal between Israel and Hamas for the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is “almost final” and should be completed within the next two weeks. What is holding up the agreement, according to the report, is consent by Israel’s government on the names of a thousand Arab prisoners – 450 of whom are currently serving long prison sentences – scheduled to be released in exchange for Shalit. A Gaza source told the newspaper that the deal was also being delayed due to Israel’s demand that a large number of prisoners who hold senior positions in the terrorist hierarchy be deported from the Land of Israel following their release.

While practically the entire Israeli public sympathizes with the Shalit family and wants to see Gilad returned safely, the agreement with Hamas has become a point of controversy during recent weeks as many citizens and public figures object to the release of convicted terrorists which they fear will set a precedent that rewards anti-Israel terrorism. It has also been argued that in addition to placing the Israeli public in danger, the release of a thousand terrorists in exchange for Shalit will encourage future kidnappings of IDF soldiers and civilians.

According to the Kuwaiti daily al-Jarida, Hamas transferred Shalit to a secure location in Egypt a few days ago where he is being accompanied by Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari and senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar. Commentators have questioned the reliability of this report, which Hamas and Israeli officials have yet to comment on.