Israel Releases Names of 477 Palestinians To Be Swapped For Israeli Soldier

Israel has†published a list of 477 Palestinian prisoners who are to be released in exchange for an Israeli soldier, Staff Sgt. Gilad Schalit. Schalit was†seized in June of 2005 by a joint force of Palestinian militants and is believed to have held in Gaza since, held by Hamas, the Palestinian faction which rules the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s justice ministry released the†the list of Palestinian prisoners, 450 men and 27 women, on Sunday.The 477 prisoners are to be set free on Tuesday; 550 more are to be released after Schalit returns home. He will be transferred from Hamas’ custody in Egypt before being returned to Israel.

Late on Sunday, the Israeli prison authority began transferring the prisoners to two prisons in southern Israel. On Tuesday, they will be transported to military checkpoints between the Israeli and Palestinian territories after which they will be brought to Egypt. Most of the Palestinian prisoners will be returned to their homes in the Gaza strip or the occupied West Bank; some will be sent “aboard.”†Many were convicted of plotting†suicide bombings inside restaurants and buses or shooting attacks that resulted in the deaths of many Israelis:

  • Ahlam Tamimi, a reporter for a local television station before joining Hamas. She was given 16 life sentences for helping choose sites for suicide attacks and was accused of taking bombers to some places including a Jerusalem pizzeria in 2001, where 15 people were killed.
  • Mohammed al-Sharatha, a leader of the Hamas special elite fighting unit “101″ which kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in 1989. Both were killed and Al-Sharatha was arrested in 1989 and sentenced to three life terms and a separate 30-year-term.
  • Nasser Iteima, who was behind the bombing of a Netanya hotel in 2002 in which 30 people died and 140 were wounded.
  • Walid Anjes, who was sentenced for planning a bombing at the Moment cafe in Jerusalem in which 11 people died and dozens were maimed in 2002

Many in Gaza “expressed surprise at the extent to which Hamas had conceded to Israel,” noting that only one member of the “top brass,” Yihia al-Sinwar, is on the list.†Three key figures who were not on the list are:

  • Marwan Barghouti – militant leader serving multiple life sentences for attacks on Israelis
  • Abdullah Barghouti – Hamas bomb maker also serving multiple life sentences
  • Ahmed Saadat – jailed for role in assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001

More than 6,000 Palestinians are currently imprisoned in Israel now. Writes†Rachel Shabi in Al-Jazeera:

With 20 per cent of the population jailed at some point, prison is a feature of Palestinian life under occupation. From the routine night raids that drag family members away, to the opaque military trials, the detention of children (7,000 since the year 2000) and the torture reported by†Amnesty to take place in Israeli prisons, it all adds up to a system of control and debilitation.

Noting that there have been some “absurd comments” about the exchange of “one Israeli, whose name the world knows, for 1027 faceless Palestinians,” Shabi says

…it is clearly more approachable a task to keep one soldier’s name in people’s hearts and in the headlines, than it is with countless thousands of Palestinian men. And the undertaking is smoothed by a media skew on the subject: taking part in a panel discussion on reporting the conflict last year, I heard a European journalist explain that Shalit was an easier pitch because he seemed innocent and blameless, while Palestinian prisoners didnít generate the same assumptions. Meanwhile, the cold exchange rate of a thousand prisoners to one Israeli obviously doesn’t mean that Palestinians morally agree with this equation; it just points to the brutal asymmetry of forces and capacity in this struggle.

The deal to release Schalit was announced just last Tuesday, after years of on and off negotiations. Israeli President Shimon Peres has reportedly already received the files for hundreds of prisoners, whose pardons he is expected to sign. Israelis who object to any of the prisoners being released have 48 hours to petition Israel’s highest court to intervene, but it is unlikely that the deal will be blocked as it has garnered widespread public support.


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Stephen Brian
Stephen Brian6 years ago

Hi James :)

With a tank-force roughly a third the size of that of the U.S., I have little doubt Israel could level Gaza City in a day or two with little effort. With Palestinians so closely crowded and Israel having a large fully industrial military, I suspect it could complete a genocide of Palestinians in the territories in maybe two weeks, if that.

These sound extreme, but leveling a city before moving in with ground-forces is actually standard practice in conventional war. Until the 20th century (and ending with the Armenian Genocide) massacres and genocide were the standard responses to rebellions engaged in on behalf of some demographic group. Even today, in prolonged conflicts where generations grow up seeing the other side as the enemy, how often is genocide not the way the fighting ends? Watch how the Libyan tribal conflict ends now, and what happens to Ghaddafi's tribe now that the other side is in control of its traditional homeland.

Also, your 100-1 figure is bogus. If that were true, then in the 2nd Intifada, 100,000 Palestinians would have been killed by Israeli forces, not 4900. Yes, judging solely by military power, I do consider Israel's behaviour to be astoundingly restrained.

Charles Temm JR
Charles Temm JR6 years ago

Amazing how much the Israelis value the life of a troop of theirs...the Palestinians on the other hand place virtually no value on theirs with suicide missions and attacks by armed thugs that almost always end in up bad loss ratios (if they dare attack people who can fight back)

Unfortunately Hamas knows this and will try another such op as soon as possible to get more of its murders released to try and kill again...

Catt R.
Catt R6 years ago

All this killing on both sides is blasphemy and not done by those who respect their God over their own egos and greed. Those that have a real connection with their God recognize their brothers and sisters that also have such a connection, no matter what name they may address God by.
As the Muslims of Albania took their brothers and sisters, the fellow children of Israel, the Jews, into their families and protected them from Hitler's troops when Albania became occupied. It was a matter of national pride and of personal duty to the oppressed. The Albania Muslim's stand made it the ONLY country that never allowed a Jewish neighbor to be taken. I am sure that Jewish people who love and respect their God and see him as a loving being would also take extraordinary measures to assist and protect an oppressed population, as would those of the 'Christian' faith who believe in a God of love............ not the God of hatred, fear, and violence against those that do not worship us, so openly embraced today.
The world would be a much better place if extremists were somehow prevented from poisoning minds...... no matter what word the use for 'God' There are just as many wanting to KILL in 'Christ' name as in the name of 'Jehovah' or 'Allah' that does not make them 'believers' only people willing to kill.

AbdulAziz A.
AbdulAziz A6 years ago

Please don't let your soul die like your heart. Every life is precious and Zionists lives are not a THOUSAND times better than others. They are filthy cheating so and so and their propaganda is far superior than anyone elses. They know how to BUY sympathies and are still milking the Hallow Coast nearly a century later.

AbdulAziz A.
AbdulAziz A6 years ago

Dear Beth
You simply forget the atrocities of Isrealis so quickly. Not many years ago an American girl was bulzosed for standing in front of intended demolition of Palestinian houses. Not long earlier a whole village called Jenine was raised to ground with bulldozers while their occupants were inside. Anyone tried to escape was shot dead. Your and the worlds conscience was dead and saying of Isrealis nothing was done and not even UN was allowed to go or investigate.
Butcher of Beruit (now a vegetable Sharon) was busy during the occupation there and succeeded in killing over 8000 men, women and children with the help of Christian militia in Sabera and Shatila refugee camps.
Did you report that? No because you are bigot and narrow minded Zionist. The Isreali army, navy and air force have used cluster bombs, white phosphorus, depleted uranium and people are still dying and suffering illnesses and being blown up many decades later ... with courtesy of US, Zionist arms manufacturers. All given for free but US tax payers paid the price for each bomb and bullet while their population has gone without health, food and education due to lack of funds.
Zionists need to be grateful that a great majority of US population is blind or stupid and can not see or feel what is going on.
Isreali agents wage wars against every one who tries to stop them from the atrocities they commit including US. Mosad is no match for CIA, they are the masters of deception and treachery.
Please don't

Ronald N.
Ronald N6 years ago

The age old feud continues. I find it's beyond an "eye for an eye" between those who want to continue to kill. There is no result for these bad actions on either side, yet presently as for a long while America has favored Israel as our ally as our connections stay firm.

Through all of this we have those who want to find peace through all of this division. I don't think impartiality exists and a peace can be brokered between the militant factions. However, hope lies within those Jews and Palestinians who truly want peace. Regardless of the present situation, I find the present Israeli government hardheaded, stubborn and unwilling to compromise and to allow any of the demands of the Palestinians. For that, the hardline is all that we have seen with no end in sight. The prisoners are far in the Palestinian majority with about 6000 incarcerated for crimes against Israel. What is expected is what any human being will and should feel if they are treated so poorly.

The will of Palestinians is strong, even with the underdog position they possess. They should be aware that they are not alone in the quest for independence and the will to obtain recognition as a state. I truly hope that they can restrain their people from any violence against Israel, and allow Israel to stand in peace. Unless this is done the will of the Israeli government is just as strong and I fear more confrontations and more innocent deaths because of a few hotheads on either side.

Beth S.
Beth S6 years ago

Some of these "poor" prisoners committed such gruseome crimes as the bombing of Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria that killed 15, the bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub that killed 21, and the bombing of Netanya's Park Hotel that killed 29 people attending a Passover Seder.

Just innocent little murderous, blood-lusting darlings.

Ahron E.
Ahron E6 years ago

Marilyn L. doesn't know what she is talking about. Before 1948 there were massacares of Jews by Arabs. The infamous Hebron massacre of 1929 where Arab neighbor attacked Jewish neighbors just for being Jewish. The massacre in Jerusalem instigated by the British.

James F.
James F6 years ago

@Stephen B.
"It's remarkable how few people realize just how restrained Israel has been, given what it could do if it were not."
Hmm... perhaps, if you're judging solely on a scale of military capability.
Since for every innocent Israeli civilian killed, close on 100 Palestinians die in reprisal attacks I'd have a hard time characterising Israel's behaviour as restrained by any civilised standard.

Hilary S.
Hilary S6 years ago

these issues certainly bring all the 'experts' out of the woodwork!
remember, gilad shalit was 19 when he was kidnapped 5 years ago, and NO visits have been by any humanitarian representative, including the red cross.
israel will no doubt need to become even more vigilant to protect the lives of its citizens, which is one of the key tasks of any government. of course, looking at the goings on in syria, iran, libya etc, where leaders evidently take pleasure of late in slaughtering unarmed civilians, one wonders if we are becoming desensitised to that imperative.