A deal for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit has been worked out with Hamas, reports in Israeli media and Arab satellite television station Al-Arabiya said Tuesday night. The government is meeting as this article is going to press, and government sources said that the deal is expected to be approved.
Official details have not yet been released, but reports say that Israel will release at least 1,000 terrorists in exchange for Shalit. including some that belong to organizations other than Hamas.
Israel has also agreed to ease demands on where the terrorists will be released to. Israel reportedly agreed to allow at least some of the terrorists to return to their families in Judea and Samaria; previously Israel had demanded that the terrorists be sent to Gaza, or deported.
The deal is set to take place in November, or possibly even before that.
The Shalit family declined to comment on the reports. Reports in Israeli media Tuesday night said that the family had received several additional “signs of life” that were not reported to the public, the latest about two years ago.
Israel's government declined to comment further, but a spokesperson in the Prime Minister's office said that “a short-term window of opportunity has opened to bring Gilad home.”
A report on a Hamas-affiliated TV station said that Hamas Gaza head Khaled Mashaal would release details of the deal later Tuesday night.
Israel Radio reported that the inner cabinet met on Monday night to discuss the deal, and members of the military and defense establishment were invited to present their opinions on it, especially the release of terrorists to areas within Judea and Samaria.
The Ministers reportedly discussed each of the terrorists to be released, and where Israel would demand they be sent.
One minister, quoted anonymously on Israel Radio said that the deal was not necessarily the best Israel could have gotten, but that “we all feel it is time to bring Gilad home.”