Israel Political Brief October 11, 2011: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Brokers Deal for Gilad Shalit’s Release in Exchange for the Release of Over 1000 Palestinian Prisoners

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

IN FOCUS: PM BENJAMIN NETANYAHU BROKERS GILAD SHALIT’S RELEASE

Captured Israeli soldier Sgt. Gilad Shalit appears in this undated photo. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a prisoner swap deal that will release Shalit, who has been held for five years in the Gaza Strip, in return for some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. A deal to exchange Palestinian prisoners for Shalit will take place next month, Al Arabiya television channel reported on October 11, 2011. REUTERS/Handout/Files

Netanyahu: Israeli soldier held by Hamas returning home in ‘coming days’

Israel’s prime minister says prisoner exchange deal has been agreed upon. In turn, Israel will free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including many convicted in deadly attacks on Israelis. — WaPo, 10-11-11

Netanyahu Announces Deal to Free Shalit

Israel and Hamas have reached a tentative agreement on a proposal to exchange Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held captive for more than five years, both sides said Tuesday. The Israeli cabinet was meeting in emergency session to discuss it.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who summoned all 29 Cabinet ministers to vote on the agreement concerning the fate of the captive soldier, Staff. Sgt. Gilad Shalit, went on Israeli television beforehand to announce it, a sign that he was confident of Cabinet approval.
“If all goes according to plan, Gilad will be returning to Israel in the coming days,” Mr. Netanyahu said…. READ MORE – NYT, 10-11-11

Reports: Deal reached for Shalit release

Source: JTA, 10-11-11

Israel and Hamas reportedly have arrived at a prisoner exchange agreement that would free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Israeli media quoted officials in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office as confirming a report that appeared earlier Tuesday in the Arab media.

The reports said that the Israeli Cabinet was meeting late Tuesday to vote to approve the deal. Media reports did not provide specifics about the agreement.

A spokesman for the terrorist organization Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, where Shalit reportedly is being held, confirmed the deal to the Israeli daily Haaretz. He said the deal would include the release of Israeli-Arab prisoners serving life sentences. He also said the deal followed Hamas’ demands, which in the past have included the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including some with blood on their hands.

Previous efforts to free Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas-associated gunmen in a 2006 cross-border raid, have been frustrated by Hamas demands that Israel release terrorists responsible for some of the deadliest attacks on Israel.

Germany and Egypt have been attempting to broker a deal.

Netanyahu Confirms: Gilad Coming Home in a Few Days

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 10-11-11

Benjamin Netanyahu has confirmed in a statement that a “difficult, but right” agreement has been signed with Hamas to release kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, who is slated to arrive home in Israel in a few days.

Netanyahu stated that a video showing Gilad Shalit alive and “functional” was given as proof of life before negotiations ensued. He referred to the tape as a “insurance policy.”

Netanyahu said that upon receiving the video, a difficult and lengthy negotiation ensued with a German negotiator. He claimed that since his kidnapping, not one day has passed in which they did not attempt to bring Gilad home.

The negotiations were renewed this week, this time under Egyptian mediation. He stated, “The point this time was to hold to our principles and ensure the factors that would guarantee Israeli security.”

Netanyahu said he had a “huge responsibility” to bring Gilad home, but also a deep responsibility to protecting the people of Israel. He stated multiple times that it was a difficult decision, and that he understands the deep pain of the people affected by the terrorists that will now be released. He said, “I understand your distress, because I am one of you.”

Netanyahu also insinuated that had they not gone forth with the current deal, due to the “uncertain future” in the region, there may have never been another chance to return Gilad home.

Video still from Hamas video released in 09

The Prime Minister revealed that both sides they signed an initial agreement last Thursday, and today (Tuesday) it was finalized.

Netanyahu let the Shalit family know about Gilad’s release at a meeting at his own home. He said, “I’m keeping my promise, I am returning your son to you.”

He added that Gilad should be home in Israel in a number of days.

Mixed reactions are flooding in from Israelis, many of whom expect terror attacks to rise due to the release of 1,000 prisoners in exchange for Shalit, many of which are “heavy” prisoners, an Israeli term that refers to murderous terrorists, responsible for some of Israel’s worst terror attacks.

 

Israel And Hamas Near Deal To Exchange Prisoners For Gilad Shalit

Source: NY Jewish Week, 10-11-11

More than five ears after he was seized by Hamas militants, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit may be on the verge of going home, and 1,000 Palestinian militants may be the price.

Reports from Israel on Tuesday said the Israeli cabinet was finalizing a deal to exchange the prisoners for Shalit, 25, who was captured near the Keren Shalom Gaza crossing in June, 2006. Egypt reportedly was a broker in the deal. Shalit’s release could happen as soon as the next few days, though some reports said it would be in early November.

The reports originated with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya TV, and an Israeli government later confirmed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was discussing the matter with his cabinet.

The Israeli site YNet cited Jerusalem sources saying it was “very likely” the deal would be approved by the Knesset and said Shalit’s father, Noam, had confirmed that he was notified of the deal. Previous efforts to free Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas-associated gunmen in a 2006 cross-border raid, have been frustrated by Hamas demands that Israel release terrorists responsible for some of the deadliest attacks on Israel.

Germany and Egypt have been attempting to broker a deal.

 

Israel, Hamas reach Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, officials say

Announcement by Netanyahu’s office comes before planned emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the details of a deal geared at securing the release of the abducted IDF soldier

Source: Haaretz, 10-11-11

Israel and Hamas have reached a prisoner exchange deal that will secure the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, officials at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Tuesday.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said that “a brief window of opportunity has been opened that would possibly lead to Gilad Shalit’s homecoming,” adding: “The window appeared following fears that collapsing Mideast regimes and the rise of extremist forces would make Gilad Shalit’s return impossible.”

IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas in 2006 IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas in 2006.
Photo by: Archive

The officials’ comment came following a report by Al-Arabiya, according to which a deal has indeed been reached between Israel and Hamas geared at the release of the IDF soldier, in Hamas captivity in Gaza since 2006.

Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are meeting several ministers in the Prime Minister’s Office in order to pressure them into voting for the deal, with Netanyahu aides estimating that the deal will be approved by the cabinet,

Special attention is reportedly being given to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman no to vote against the deal along with ministers from his Yisrael Beiteinu party. Several Likud ministers who have voiced opposition to freeing terrorists in exchange for Shalit are also being pushed to approve the deal.

Netanyahu called an emergency cabinet meeting scheduled for later Tuesday in which ministers are to discuss the status of talks geared at securing Shalit’s release.

Gilad Shalit's mother, Aviva, smiles as she sits in a protest tent erected in Jerusalem by the campaign for his release, following the news that a deal has been reached, October 11, 2011.

Gilad Shalit’s mother, Aviva, smiles as she sits in a protest tent erected in Jerusalem by the campaign for his release, following the news that a deal has been reached, October 11, 2011. Channel 10 television
1/11

Speaking with Haaertz, one Egyptian official said: “After 64 months of tough negotiations we were able to complete the deal. It was a very difficult task, which included thousands of hours of negotiations.”

Also on Tuesday, top Egyptian officials confimed to Haaretz that there had been significant progress in the attempts to strike a prisoner exchange deal that would lead to Shalit’s release.

The officials confirmed that an Israeli delegation, headed by the head of Shalit negotiations David Meidan, was in Cairo to indirectly discuss the details of a possible deal with the chief of Hamas’ military wing Ahmed Al-Jabari.

Similarly to previous rounds of Shalit talks, the indirect talks are overseen by Egyptian intelligence, headed by intelligence chief General Murad Muwafi and his aides.

Egyptian officials have also said that a the deal which has been reached in recent days also includes accused Israeli spy Ilan Garpal.

Activists linked to Palestinian prisoner rights in Israel have also indicated that a recent hunger strike amid those prisoners in Israeli jails was linked to the protest move, as well as the reason Hamas prisoners did not join the strike.

Gilad Shalit release: Why Israel and Hamas agreed to a prisoner swap

Gilad Shalit, a young Israeli soldier captured more than five years ago, is due to be released along with some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners under a deal announced today.

Source: CS Monitor, 10-11-11

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced tonight that Israel and Hamas have agreed to an historic prisoner swap deal that will release Sgt. Gilad Shalit, who has been held for five years in the Gaza Strip, in return for some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

After thanking the Egyptian government for mediating the deal, Mr. Netanyahu said that if everything goes according to plan, Mr. Shalit would return home in the coming days.

“Today I am bringing the cabinet a proposal that will bring Gilad home healthy and in one piece,” he said.

The diplomatic breakthrough gives a much needed boost to Hamas, Egypt, and Mr. Netanyahu, all of whom have been struggling of late amid the regional changes prompted by the so-called Arab Spring.

How the deal helps Israel, Hamas

The Israeli prime minister is likely to get a boost in popular support for releasing a soldier who has become a nationwide celebrity since being kidnapped from the Gaza border in June 2006. In addition, he was likely keen to boost ties with Cairo by collaborating on the prisoner deal, analysts say. Relations had grown chilly after a terrorist attack on the Israel-Egyptian border in August, and the storming of Israel’s embassy in Cairo by a mob of Egyptians.

Gerald Steinberg, a political science professor at Bar Ilan University, says Israel wanted to shore up Egypt’s interim military rulers as a counterweight to the growing efforts of Turkey to gain regional prominence.

“The goal is to help stabilize [Cairo], so they play a constructive role” in the region, Mr. Steinberg says. “It’s to show to other countries” that Egypt is still a regional power after this year’s revolution…. READ MORE

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