Israel, Hamas Reach Deal to Free IDF Soldier Gilad Shalit and 1,000 Palestinian Prisoners
Israel and Hamas have reached a deal to free a captured Israeli soldier in exchange for around 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
According to the Associated Press, Gilad Shalit, who was abducted in a daring cross-border raid by Hamas militants in June 2006, will be released in exchange for around 1,000 Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel. Shalit, now age 25, became a household name in Israel after his abduction. His father Noam has led a tireless campaign to secure his freedom. He has led demonstrations and has even camped out in front of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home.
As a member of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the occupying force in Palestine, Sgt. Shalit was seen as fair game by the Hamas resistance fighters who tunneled into Israel proper from the Gaza Strip to capture him. Every Israeli citizen must serve in the IDF, however, and Shalit was a random and unfortunate victim of a geopolitical struggle far greater than himself.
Speaking of victims, Palestinians have been subjected to forced expulsion from their homes and the theft of their nation by Israeli colonizers and occupiers. Those who resist do so at the risk of their lives, their family’s lives, their homes and the economic welfare of all Palestinians, as Israel uses collective punishment in its efforts to crush resistance. There isn’t a family in all the Palestinian territories who doesn’t have members who have been imprisoned by Israeli security forces, often for no good reason whatsoever. More than 300 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are currently imprisoned in Israel for “terrorist” acts like throwing stones at IDF bulldozers as they destroy their homes. These children are subjected to widespread torture and abuse.
Exact details of the prisoner exchange are not yet known, but both Israeli and Hamas officials confirm the deal. Noam Shalit told YNet: “We are waiting here like everyone else. We are receiving updates, but we don’t really know anything new other than what has been published. We are going to wait for developments.”
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