Zahhar Announces Prisoner Swap Deal Including
Lifting the Israeli Siege on Gaza
October 19, 2011
Upon Releasing the Infamous 477 Detainees, Army Kidnaps Four
West Bank Residents
Wednesday October 19, 2011 11:36 by Mais Azza - IMEMC & Agencies
The Israeli Army detained four Palestinian residents from the
southern part of the West Bank on Wednesday morning, the Palestinian
News Agency Ma’an reported.
Israeli sources have stated that
those arrested are from different regions- the city of Bethlehem, and
the villages of Beit U’mmar and Yatta, in the south of the West Bank.
They also claimed that the army confiscated fifty bullets during the
The Israeli military kidnapped Khader Abu
Hashem, 44, from the village of Beit U’mmar in the West Bank city of
Hebron, searched his home, and confiscated three computers. He was moved
to an unknown destination.
The army also searched the homes of ‘Imad
Abu Hashem and ‘Imad Sabarneh, causing damage to the furniture
Israel To Enforce Harsh Restrictions On Released Detainees
Wednesday October 19, 2011 10:43 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
Israeli daily, Yedioth Aharonoth, quoted Israeli security officials
stating that Israel will be imposing harsh restrictions on West Bank
former detainees released under the prisoner-swap deal.
detainees will be required to report to the nearest military base on
regular bases; being late to the set appointment means being sent back
to prison to serve the remainder of the original sentence.
total of 96 detainees from the West Bank were allowed back home and 14
others were allowed back to Jerusalem.
The Israeli Internal
Security imposed these restrictions on nearly half of them, while some
of these restrictions include preventing them from leaving their own
towns for several years. Several others will have to report to the
nearest military base at least once a month.
The Israeli paper
said that should any of the released detainees be late, even for an
hour, harsh measures will be taken against him, including sending them
back to prison to serve the remainder of their terms; if they were
sentenced to life-terms before their release, they will be arrested to
serve the whole sentence.
It also stated that the detainees were
informed of these preconditions, and signed the affidavits before they
were released, adding that the Palestinian Authority had nothing to do
with the deal, but its security forces were informed of the names and
residence of the freed detainees.
Furthermore, some Israeli
security officials stated that, in the near future, the Palestinian
Security Forces will not be arresting released Hamas former prisoners
who were sent back in the West Bank, and other Hamas members, in order
not to be accused of collaborating with Israel.
added that security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian
Authority in the West Bank has proven to be effective, and that they
believe that this cooperation will be further boosted.
Tuesday, Israel released 477 Palestinian detainees, as part of the first
phase of the Palestinian-Israeli swap deal which includes the release of
a total of 1027 Palestinian detainees in exchange for the release of
247 of the released detainees will be sent back to
their homes in Gaza, 96 to the West Bank, 14 to Jerusalem, and 6,
including one who lives in the Golan Heights, to their towns in the 1948
All 37 detainees, who were forced into exile as
part of the Shalit swap deal Between Hamas and Israel, arrived in Syria,
Qatar and Turkey, while the exiled female detainee, Ahlam Tamimi, was
sent to Amman – Jordan.
10 detainees were sent to Turkey, 16 to
Syria, 15 to Qatar while Tamimi was sent to Jordan. They were all
airlifted from Cairo to the countries that agreed to host them.
Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, arrived back in Israel and was welcomed
by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister, Ehud
Barak, in addition to several political, military and security leaders.
In related news, U.S State Department Spokesperson, Mark Toner, said
that Washington is concerned over the release of some of the detainees.
He did not elaborate on the issue, but only stated that his government
informed Israel of its position.
Zahhar: “Swap-deal Includes Lifting The Siege On Gaza”
Tuesday October 18, 2011 09:08 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
Hamas political leader, Mahmoud Zahhar, told Israeli daily Haaretz,
that the prisoner-swap deal reached indirectly between Hamas and Israel
includes lifting the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.
added that this issue was agreed upon when the German mediator started
his role in the prisoner-exchange talks. “This is still valid under the
current agreement,” he said.
The Hamas leader further stated
that the deal to release prisoner-of-war Gilad Shalit, in return for
releasing more than a thousand Palestinian detainees, also includes a
section obliging Israel to improve the living conditions of the
Palestinian detainees, adding that Gaza Strip families of the detainees
will be allowed to visit their beloved ones.
After Shalit was
captured on June 26th, 2006, Israel canceled all visitation rights to
the families of political prisoners who resided within the Gaza Strip.
Zahhar also insisted that Israel will have to ease the restrictions
on border terminals leading to Gaza, including travel from Gaza to the
West Bank via Israel.
Moreover, he stated that the deal
incorporated the increasing of exports from the Gaza Strip to Israel and
Meanwhile, officials at the Israeli Defense Ministry
stated that the Shalit deal represents a shift in the relations between
Hamas and Israel, adding that in recent months Israel started easing the
siege on Gaza as part of an unofficial ceasefire between Hamas and Tel
All Freed Detainees Are Now In Gaza And Ramallah
Tuesday October 18, 2011 13:50 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
Every Palestinian detainee released in the first phase of the
prisoners-swap deal between Israel and the Hamas movement, except those
sent to Egypt, are now safely in Gaza and Ramallah. This article
includes the speeches of President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, and Hamas
leader, Hasan Yousef, standing next to him.
Authority in Ramallah, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, held a
conference to welcome the detainees back, and expressed to them that
they "are freedom fighters: for God and the country.”
that he hopes that all detainees in Israeli prisons will be freed, and
will be able to return home.
The President further stated that
the suffering and steadfastness of the detainees will never be wasted.
“You sacrificed, you struggled, and you will see the outcome of
this struggle: a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,”
Abbas said, “Your case was always our main focus around the world, we
will continue to act for the release of all detainees.”
willing, we will soon see brother Marwan Barghouthi, brother Ahmad
Saadat, Ibrahim Hamed, Abbas Al Sayyid, and every other detainee coming
back home,” Abbas stated, and also wished speedy recovery for Ahmad
Saadat, after his health condition deteriorates as he and the rest of
the detainees continue their hunger-strike. Saadat is the
secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
He also thanked Egypt for its role in the deal, and in the
reconciliation agreement between Fateh and Hamas, adding that this deal
was initiated by the detainees in Israeli jails, “who acted for the
unity of their people.”
“Brothers and sisters, we are acting to
achieve an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The
future state will be in the 1967 borders, and Israel must stop all of
its settlement activities and violations,” Abbas said, “I won't be
telling a secret when I say that there is an agreement between us and
Israel for the release of more detainees after this deal is concluded,
therefore, we are asking them [Israel] to abide by their vows, if they
give weight to their own promises."
“We are building the
institutions of our future state, we have strong institutions, not found
in other countries”, the president continued. “Brothers and sisters,
your family and friends, wherever they are, are happy for you, for your
release, but, let me say, that we owe all of this, after God, to all of
the martyrs who have sacrificed themselves for our country”.
Standing next to Abbas, Hamas leader Hasan Yousef, stated in his speech
which followed Abbas', that, “as much as we are happy for the release of
the detainees, we are also in pain, because we still have brothers and
sisters in Israeli jails,” and added that the Palestinian people will
always act for the release of all detainees.
stated that the Palestinian people have the capabilities to act for the
release of all detainees, and that this prisoner-swap deal is a proof
that resistance is an effective measure, to be conducted side-by-side
with other venues of resistance and politics.
“Mr. President, we
all came here to your home, representing all factions and segments of
our society, to affirm our unity; we have no choice but to unite,” he
started, “Mr. President, we all stand together, united, to counter the
illegal Israeli policies that deny our legitimate rights. We want to
thank Egypt, for its important local and regional role, and we want to
thank every side that helped in achieving this deal. We want to thank
The President and all Arab countries, we are all brothers, and we must
send a special thank you to our people in the Gaza Strip”.
Thousands then started to chant: “With our soul and blood we sacrifice
for Palestine,” and Yousef chanted with them.
In Gaza, Ismail
Haniyya of Hamas, and several political and military leaders of the
movement and other factions, welcomed the detainees who were sent to
Gaza, and affirmed that the resistance fights for the liberation of its
people, and has achieved victories.
Meanwhile, Cairo declared a
state of emergency at the Cairo International Airport, as 40 of the
released detainees will be flown out to Turkey, Qatar and Syria, as
Israel stipulated in their release agreement.
It is worth
mentioning that clashes were reported at the Betunia terminal leading to
Ramallah, after the Israeli army closed the terminal when thousands of
residents gathered there to welcome the detainees home.
used waste-water cannons and tear gas, to force the residents away, just
after they removed the Red Cross from the scene.
approximately 5000 detainees who are still imprisoned by Israel; dozens
of whom have been imprisoned for twenty years or more.
Shalit In Egypt, Interviewed By Egyptian TV
Tuesday October 18, 2011 12:35 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
Egyptian TV has published an interview with released Israeli soldier,
Gilad Shalit, after he was safely handed over to Egypt as part of the
In his interview, Shalit said that he was
informed of his impending release only one week ago.
added that he would like to tell people about his years in captivity.
He further stated that Egypt's good relationship with the Hamas
movement in Gaza, and the Israeli government, played an important role
in the success of the deal.
When asked about what lessons he had
learnt during his years of captivity, Shalit said that the most
important lesson that could be learnt is that "achieving a prisoner-swap
deal in a short time is..." and he stopped there. He seemed to be in
good health, but seemed slightly overwhelmed.
When reminded about
the thousands of Palestinians held by Israel for so many years, while he
was held for five years, the interviewer asked directly: "Is it possible
that you would lead a campaign to release all Palestinian detainees who
are still in captivity?"
"I will be happy if they are released,
to be able to go back home to their land and their parents; I will be
happy if that happens," Shalit replied.
When asked about his
plans for the future, Shalit expressed that he hoped this deal will help
bolster the peace between Israel and Palestine.
Waleed Al Omary,
head of the Al Jazeera TV office in Palestine, said that Shalit will
first undergo a check-up, before being airlifted to a military base,
where Israeli officials and his family will be waiting for him.
Afterwards, he will be flown to a military base in Tel Aviv, before he
finally heads back home.
Al Omary added that several buses and
vehicles have transported the freed Palestinian detainees to border
terminals, and that all 477 released detainees are either with the Red
Cross, or with the Palestinians and Egyptians.
Hamas, the Al Qassam brigades, and various other factions and armed
groups, welcomed the freed men and women, after the first bus carrying
them entered the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas movement stated that any
of the West Bank detainees who will not yet be allowed back home, will
be staying in Gaza until such a time that they are finally allowed to
Clashes were reported at the Betunia terminal leading to
Ramallah, after the Israeli army closed the checkpoint when thousands of
residents, along with families of those released, gathered there to
welcome the detainee's home.
The army said that nobody will be
allowed to greet the detainees at the terminal, before forcing the Red
Cross out of the area and proceeded to attack those who had gathered to
welcome the freed men and women.
The army used waste-water
cannons and fired tear gas to force the residents away, stating that the
freed West Bank detainees will be sent to the Palestinian Authority
headquarters in Ramallah, to be welcomed by President Mahmoud Abbas and
other senior officials.
A total of ninety-six West Bank detainee
men, and twenty-one women, arrived in Ramallah for the official
ceremony. Sixteen detainees originally from Jerusalem were returned home
The first phase of the swap-deal includes the release of
477 Palestinian detainees, but the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
(PCHR) reported recently that there are still more than 5000 Palestinian
prisoners currently held in Israeli jails, including some 400 from the
Prisoner-Exchange Deal Officially Kicks Off
Tuesday October 18, 2011 09:49 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
The prisoner-swap deal, signed between Hamas and Israel, has overcome
the final hurdle after the Israeli High Court rejected all appeals filed
against the deal by Israelis. Hundreds of detainees have been loaded
onto buses and taken to various locations in preparation for their
release, Egyptian sources have reported that Shalit is now in Egypt, and
the freeing of the detainees can now get underway.
The deal will
set 1,027 Palestinian detainees free in two phases in exchange for the
release of Corporal Gilad Shalit. Media sources have reported that
Shalit arrived in Egypt, when an SUV loaded with Palestinian fighters
crossed the border and handed him over to Egyptian security forces,
before returning promptly to their own lines.
Shalit will be
returned home to Israel after the release of the first 477 detainees has
been completed and confirmed.
The second phase will ensure the
release of 550 detainees two months after the first phase is concluded.
The implementation of the first phase of the deal started at on
Tuesday at dawn, when 96 detainees were moved from the Negev Detention
Camp to the Ofer Prison, in preparation to be released into the West
Over 300 detainees were loaded onto buses that will drive
them to the Karm Abu Salem Crossing between Israel and Gaza.
Tuesday, around 4 AM, a bus loaded with 27 female detainees, sixteen
detainees from Jerusalem, and three from the 1948 territories, drove off
on its way to release them. Four female detainees were sent to Karm Abu
Salem Crossing, while one detainee from the Golan Heights was moved to a
local police station. Three detainees from the 1948 territories were
moved to Majiddo Prison in preparation for their release.
Monday evening the Israeli High Court rejected four appeals filed by
Israelis against the deal, stating that the swap-deal is totally legal,
and granting the deal a green-light.
Palestinian Minister of
Detainees in the West Bank, Issa Qaraqe', stated that the Palestinian
President, Mahmoud Abbas, will personally welcome the freed West Bank
residents at his headquarters in Ramallah. Leaders of various factions
and institutions will be attending the ceremony.
movement in Gaza also concluded its preparations for welcoming the
detainees who will be sent to Gaza. Around 163 detainees will be sent to
the Rafah Border Terminal first, before heading into Gaza.
Unfortunately forty detainees will be forced into exile, while Hamas'
Political Bureau head, Khaled Mashal, will be holding an official
ceremony in Cairo to welcome them.
Israeli military and security
sources reported that the army is preparing to counter any scenario that
could jeopardize the deal, especially after Shalit is handed over to
Egyptian security forces.
Before being sent back home, Israel
intends to conduct a comprehensive medical checkup on Shalit. He will
then be airlifted to a military base in Israel, where his parents will
be waiting for him. He will likely receive another checkup, and undergo
a thorough debrief at the second base, before his extensive ordeal will
finally be over, and he is taken home to be with his family.
Israel will impose media restrictions at the base, in order to ensure
privacy for Shalit and his family.
Shalit will be meeting Israeli
Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu; Defense Minister, Ehud Barak; and
Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz.
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