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Israeli Soldier, 1027 Palestinian Political Prisoners to Be Released in an Egyptian-Brokered Deal

Msha'ale: The deal stipulates release of 1027 Palestinian captives

 [ 11/10/2011 - 09:36 PM ]


Head of the Hamas political bureau, Khalid Mesha'al, revealed that the prisoner exchange deal reached between Hamas and the Israeli occupation through German and Egyptian mediation, stipulates the release of 1027 Palestinian captives in exchange for Israeli captive Gilad Shalit.

In a televised speech on Tuesday evening Mesha'al said: "The exchange deal will be in two stages; the first stage will see 450 captives released within a week, the second stage will see the release of 550 after two months of the first stage."

He also said that all 27 female captives will be released and the first stage will include 315 captives serving life sentences.

He added that his movement was keen on including captives who entered prison at various stages of the Palestinian struggle from various factions as well as captives from various areas; Jerusalem, 1948-occupied Palestine, the Golan and the diaspora, pointing out this was an expression of the unity of the Palestinian people everywhere.

Mishaal described the deal as a “national achievement,” adding “To my brothers in the PA and Palestinian factions inside and outside Palestine I say this achievement belongs to all of us. We are proud of it and prepare for further achievements. Let us join hands and plan for more achievements for our national project until we liberate out Palestine and establish our state."

He promised that his movement will spare no efforts to get the rest of the Palestinian captives released.

He praised the Qassam Brigades and other Palestinian factions who participated in capturing the occupation soldier Gilad Shalit to exchange him for Palestinian captives.

Israeli intelligence: Prisoner Swap Deal Doesn’t Include Al-Barghouti, Saadat, Nor As-Syyed

Wednesday October 12, 2011 11:08 by Alaa Ashkar - IMEMC & Agencies

The prisoner swap deal, reached by the Hamas movement and the Israeli occupation government, does not include several senior political leaders of the major Palestinian factions, senior sources told the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency early on Wednesday.

The exchange does not include; Fat'h senior leader, Marwan Al-Barghoutih; the Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmed Saadat; several top Hamas leaders, including: Ibrahim Hamed, Hasan Salamah, Abdullah Al-Barghouthi, Jamal Abu El-Hayja, Abbas Issyd. As well as several other senior Hamas officials, whose names are still anonymous, the Israeli Channel Two reported the Israeli Intelligence Chief saying.

The Israeli Shin Bet chief, Yoram Cohen, said that several Palestinian prisoners who killed, or participated in the killing of, some 1200 Israelis, would be included in the swap deal. “The exchange deal will be done through two phases, first of which will include four-hundred and fifty Palestinian prisoners, whose names have been agreed on, who will be released within a week. The second phase will include nearly six-hundred Palestinian prisoners, whose names have been chosen by Israel, who will be released two months after phase one,” the chief said.

Over two hundred Palestinian prisoners are to be deported from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to several countries; including Turkey, Jordan and Egypt. Moreover, the deal will include six Palestinian prisoners from the 1948 Arab areas. He pointed out that many senior Hamas leaders would be deported as well.

The Israeli Shin Bet chief also stated that Israel has not promised to not impose restrictions on detainees who are to be released in the future.

Israel’s Channel Two reported that the exhange between Israel and the Hamas Movement had been signed after a direct meeting held between Ahmed Al-Ga’abarim, leader of Al-Qassam Brigades- the armed wing of the Hamas Movement- and the Israeli special envoy in Cairo.

In addition to this, two female detainees, Qaher As-Sa’adi and Ahlam Al-Tamimi, included in the deal, will be deported to Jordan and Egypt.

The Hamas Movement and Israel have been negotiating in secret for three months, and the deal, brokered by Egypt and Russia, was signed in Cairo after Israel had agreed to most of the terms being offered by Hamas.

Gilad Shalit has been held captive by the Al-Qassam Brigades since June 2006, after being kidnapped during an operation carried out by several Palestinian factions against Karam Abu Salem Terminal encampment, in which three Palestinian fighters were killed.

Though the release of over one-thousand Palestinian prisoners and Gilad Shalit is a cause of celebration for most, and a testament to negotiations when both sides come together, it should not be forgotten that over six-thousand Palestinians still remain inside Israeli prisons. Over forty detainees have been held for more that twenty-five years, and fifteen Palestinian Legislature Council members are currently being held.

Israeli Cabinet Approves Prisoner Swap Deal

Wednesday October 12, 2011 03:30 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

The so-called cabinet of the Israeli occupation government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, met Tuesday night after midnight and approved the mediated prisoner-swap deal between Israel and the Palestinian factions that have been holding Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit for the past five years.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported that 26 ministers of the Israeli cabinet voted for the deal, while three opposed it. The opposing votes came from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, and Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

Noam, the father of Gilad Shalit, thanked the Israeli government for what he called the “courageous decision,” adding that the whole difficult experience for the family will not be over until Shalit is back home, Haaretz reported.

Under the swap-deal presented to the Israeli cabinet by Netanyahu, Israel would first release 450 Palestinian detainees, including 280 detainees sentenced to life-terms.

Haaretz reported that 110 detainees would be allowed to go to their homes in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, and that 55 of them are members of Hamas.

203 detainees will not be allowed back to the West Bank. Forty of them will be forced into exile and the rest sent to the Gaza Strip.

Six Arab detainees from the 1948 territories will be allowed back home. Female detainees will be released, except for detainees Ahlam Tamimi and Amna Mona, who will be sent into exile.

The second stage of the prisoner-swap deal is scheduled for implementation after two months. Israel will then release 550 detainees, whose names will be chosen by the Israel government. When Israel releases detainees, it usually chooses those who are about to end their term anyway, detainees not involved in “violent attacks,” and even some who were supposed to be released but had not actually been let go.

Israeli security sources reported that senior Hamas fighters and members in the West Bank, especially Abdullah Barghouthi and Abbas As-Syyid, will not be released.

Haaretz also stated that Ahmad Saadat, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and Fateh leader Marwan Barghouthi will not be freed.

Israel will also impose restrictions on nearly half of the released West Bank detainees. They will be prohibited from leaving the West Bank, and some will not be allowed to leave their towns of residence.

Israeli Shin Bet Chief (Israel Security Agency), Yoram Cohen, stated that the swap deal is "not good” for Israel. Shalit is the only Israeli prisoner of war in Palestinian hands.

There are more than 6000 Palestinians still imprisoned by Israel, including were dozens of persons from different Arab countries. 820 detainees have been sentenced to at least one life term.

There are 37 female detainees and 425 children currently imprisoned by Israel. In addition, 136 detainees have been in prison for more than 20 years; 41 detainees have been imprisoned for more than 25 years, and four have been in prison for more than 30 years.

Since the outbreak of the Al Aqsa Intifada on September 28, 2000, the Israeli army has kidnapped 70.000 Palestinians, including around 8000 children and 850 women. Four of the kidnapped women were pregnant when kidnapped and were forced to deliver their children while shackled on prison clinic beds.

Israel has also kidnapped dozens of elected ministers, legislators, and other officials, and has issued more than 20.000 Administrative Detention orders against the detainees.

Hamas Hails Palestinian Prisoners-Swap Deal

Wednesday October 12, 2011 00:04 by Alaa Ashkar - IMEMC & Agencies

Khaled Mashal, head of the Hamas Political Bureau, said 1,027 prisoners will be released in a deal brokered by Egypt, in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured in 2006 by three Palestinian resistance factions and held since then in the Gaza Strip.

"This is a national achievement that we should be proud of," said Mashal in a televised address from Damascus, Syria.

The list of those to be freed, he added, includes 315 prisoners who have been sentenced to life, a result of the negotiators giving priority to those who have spent over 20 years in jail.

"We were very keen for this deal to include prisoners from across different categories, from different age groups and from the West Bank and Gaza, from Jerusalem and the Golan [Heights]," Mashal stated.

He also emphasized that the deal reflected the unity of the Palestinian people and vowed to fight until "the day that all Palestinians imprisoned in Israel are freed."

Mashal's statements came soon after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced, referring to Shalit, "Our son will be home in the coming days."

Negotiations were initiated in Cairo on Thursday, October 6, under the mediation of Egyptian security and intelligence officials, and an agreement was signed earlier on Tuesday this week, Netanyahu said. Later in a "tweet," he thanked the Egyptian government and its security forces for their role in mediating and concluding the deal.

Mashal also thanked Egypt, as well as Qatar, Turkey, Syria, and Germany, all of whom had been involved in the negotiations, he said.

Hamas reported that large numbers of people were celebrating in rallies in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

"Crowds of tens of thousands are heading towards the Khulafa Mosque in Jabalia refugee camp . . . in human floods of joy for the victory of the resistance and the completion of the prisoner exchange," the Hamas statement said.

Israel had made previous attempts to free Shalit through a prisoner swap with Hamas, but talks failed due to Israeli preconditions.

The first stage will see the release of all female captives

[ 12/10/2011 - 09:22 AM ]


 Well-informed sources said that the first stage of the prisoner-exchange deal which will be implemented in a few days will see the release of 450 male captives and all 27 female captives.

The sources informed PIC correspondent that the amongst the 450 captives to be released in the first stage there are 315 who were serving life sentences and 135 serving long sentences.

The sources also said that five of the female captives are serving life sentences, including Ahlam al-Tamimi and Qahera al-Sa'di.

The first group to be released will also include 45 captives from Jerusalem, 5 captives from 1948-occupied Palestine, 1 captive from the Golan, 131 from the Gaza Strip and 268 from the West Bank, according to the sources.

The second stage will see the release of 550 captives.

Israel: Arab Spring forced us to accept Hamas's demands for freeing Shalit

PIC, [ 10/10/2011 - 10:03 PM ]

After losing all hopes for rescuing imprisoned Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is held in the Gaza Strip, Israel has apparently agreed to accept virtually all Hamas's conditions for a prisoner swap deal that would also see the release from Israeli jails and dungeons of as many as a thousand Palestinian prisoners, including men, women, and children.

Israeli prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said an agreement with Hamas had been reached and that Shalit would be returning home in the coming days.

Speaking during an emergency session of his cabinet Tuesday evening, Netanyahu said there was a window of opportunity to release Shalit which he said the government decided to seize.

Acting otherwise, he added, and in light of the "storms" blowing throughout the Arab world, could mean that "Shalit may never come back."

Netanyahu was apparently alluding to the Arab Spring and the collapse of pro-Israeli regimes in both Egypt and Tunisia .

Hamas' officials in the Gaza Strip and abroad have confirmed the conclusion of a swap agreement with Israel.

In Damascus, Hamas' leader Khaled Mishaal revealed details of the long-awaited deal. He told an impromptu news conference in the Syrian capital that the swap deal stipulated the release of a thousand male prisoners as well as 27 female prisoners.

He also pointed out that the deal would see prisoners with multiple life-imprisonment terms from Jerusalem and the Arab community in Israel released.

Mishaal added that the deal would be carried out in two stages, first the transfer of Shalit outside the Gaza Strip, which would coincide with the release of 450 Palestinian prisoners, and second the release of the rest of the prisoners once Shalit returns to Israel.

Mishaal saluted the people of Gaza for their sacrifices and also thanked Egypt , Turkey , Syria and Germany for their positive roles in concluding the deal.

Abu Ubaida, a resistance Islamist leader in Gaza told al-Jazeera Television Tuesday night that the agreement was a landmark victory for Hamas and other Palestinian resistance factions.

"This is a great victory for the Palestinian people. We send this gift to the martyrs, including Sheikh Ahmed Yasin."

He said that Israel was forced to accede to virtually all the demands and conditions of Hamas.

According to the agreement, all women and children prisoners will also be freed.

Among prisoner leaders to be released are the main commanders of Hamas's resistance wing including Abdullah Barghouthi, Yahya Sinwar, Abdullah al Sayed as well as leaders of the Islamic Jihad organization. Marwan el Barghouthi, the imprisoned Fatah leader, and Ahmed Saadat, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) will be among the freed prisoners.

A spokesman of the resistance movement in Gaza, Abu Mujahed, attributed the success of the deal to "the resilience and unflinching determination of the resistance to see to it that all our demands are met."

"It was not easy, but eventually we are about to get what we wanted."

He added that Palestinian freedom fighters knew from the very inception that Israel wouldn't agree to free that many prisoners unless it was forced to.

"Israel only understands this language."

Abu Mujahed said the deal also stipulated that Israel would meet all the demands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who have gone on an open-ended hunger strike in protest against worsening prison conditions.

Egypt reportedly played a key role in concluding the deal.

An Egyptian official was quoted as saying that "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."

Egyptian officials have also said that the deal which has been reached also includes the release of accused Israeli spy Ilan Garpel.

During deliberations leading up to the Israeli acceptance of the deal, Netanyahu reportedly told his ministers that failing to endorse the deal would probably doom Shalit's fate forever.

"If the government fails to approve the deal, the whole move to release Shalit could go down the drain, conceivably postponing his release by many years."

Netanyahu spoke of "powerful storms" hovering over the Arab world, which he said would make rescuing Shalit utterly unlikely if the government didn't seize this opportunity.

The deal is widely viewed as a great moral and political booster for Hamas. It is also likely to contribute to further enhancing relations between Hamas and Cairo.

Moreover, many Palestinians feel the deal will be especially auspicious in terms of pushing national reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas forward.

Hamas's fighters, along with fighters from the People Resistance and Army of Islam took part in the military operation on 25 June, 2006, during which Shalit was taken prisoners.

Israel tried in vain every conceivable feat and trick to repatriate Shalit, including launching widespread and murderous aggressions against the Gaza Strip in which thousands of Palestinians lost their lives.

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