Gilad Shalit

Details of Shalit deal slowly become clear

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 3, 2009

Israel will free 980 Palestinian prisoners in two stages in return for the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. That is the broad framework of the prisoner exchange which is expected to take place in the next few weeks.

While the leaders of Hamas spent this week debating the details of the deal in Damascus, the public debate in Israel over the pros and cons of the exchange has gathered pace.

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Amnesty joins Israel-bashers

By Eric Lee, December 3, 2009

In recent months, Amnesty International in the UK has taken a sharp anti-Israel turn. This will be obvious to anyone who receives the organisation’s bi-monthly magazine, which now features articles bashing Israel in every single issue.

For example, last summer the magazine carried a long report on a visit by an Amnesty delegation to Israel and Palestine. It was an utterly one-sided account, reporting the suffering of Palestinians without even hinting at the possibility that Israelis too might be victims of the conflict.

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Pollard: Execute prisoners until Gilad Shalit is free

By Jessica Elgot, December 2, 2009

Jailed spy Jonathan Pollard says Israel should be executing terrorists until Gilad Shalit is freed, rather than exchanging prisoners for his freedom.

Pollard, who is imprisoned in North Carolina, said the thought of terrorists being released was a chilul Hashem [crime against God]. He expressed horror at reports that Israel has done a deal with Hamas in which 1,000 Palestinian prisoners will be released.

Pollard is currently serving a life sentence in prison for spying for Israel on the United States. Convicted in 1987, he is not due to be released until 2015.

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Mixed feelings from IDF over the Shalit deal

By Anshel Pfeffer in Hebron, November 26, 2009

Views among IDF soldiers this week over the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange broadly mirrored those among the wider public, but they had some unique insights of their own.

The younger soldiers, those who started their service only recently, were broadly in favour of the emerging deal. Uriya, a machine-gunner in the Golani Brigade who began his first operational posting last month, said: “From my point of view, what is important is how his mother feels. Nothing can compare to that. Any price is worthwhile, even 1,000 terrorists.”

His friend, Tamir, added a less emotional reason.

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Gilad Shalit's freedom 'will change the Middle East'

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 26, 2009

It is safe to say that the Gilad Shalit saga is now in its final stretch. Assessments by senior Israeli sources range between a prisoner exchange taking place sometime next week and sometime next month. What is clear is that both sides have reached the point of no return.

Too much is at stake for Israel and Hamas, both on the domestic front and in the international arena. Outside the direct mechanics of the negotiations, both sides made major concessions this week which will go a long way to enabling the deal to go down.

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Netanyahu: There's no Gilad Shalit deal yet

By Jessica Elgot, November 23, 2009

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has slammed reports of a prisoner swap deal to rescue kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, claiming any deal would have to be approved by the cabinet.

Mr Netanyahu said that reports that a deal wth Hamas, for the release of the 23-year-old soldier, was imminent, were “not credible and some of them are even intentionally distorted.”

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FZY target Gordon Brown with Gilad Shalit petition

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2009

Two Federation of Zionist Youth leaders have launched an online petition calling on Gordon Brown to make the release of Gilad Shalit a priority.

Aaron Collins and Samuel Franklin used the Downing Street website to set up the petition after a video of Shalit was released last month. An FZY spokesman said: “French President Nicolas Sarkozy has come out and declared that Gilad’s release is top of his agenda, and we hope that Mr Brown will do the same.

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Nobel Laureate calls for release of Palestinians

By Jessica Elgot, October 13, 2009

The Israeli Nobel prizewinner Professor Ada Yonath has called for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Professor Yonath, who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry last week, said she believed imprisoning Palestinians just created more terrorists.

She also said she believed that the release of the prisoners should not be used as bargaining tool for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

"It's not clear to me why we're holding these Palestinian terrorists, or what we call 'terrorists,’” she told Israel Army Radio.

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Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal favoured by Israeli cabinet

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 8, 2009

There is a clear majority in the Israeli cabinet for approving a prisoner deal with Hamas, although there is opposition within the intelligence services.

The current deal being discussed between Israel and Hamas through Egyptian and German intermediaries is essentially similar to the one turned down by the Olmert government six months ago. Hamas has presented Israel with a list of 450 prisoners to be released in a direct exchange for Shalit. As a second stage, Israel will release hundreds more at an unspecified date.

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Shalit video ‘shows Hamas is serious’

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 8, 2009

The main conclusion of Israeli experts who viewed the video of Gilad Shalit is that Hamas is eager to reach a deal on a prisoner exchange.

The two-and-a-half minute tape handed by Hamas to the German negotiator last week, and broadcast on Israeli television last Friday, confirmed the intelligence assessments regarding Shalit’s condition.

“Nothing we saw there on the tape caused us to fall off our chairs,” said one senior defence official, following detailed analysis of Shalit’s appearance on camera.

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