Israel names Palestinians to be freed

2011-10-16 18:11

Jerusalem - Israel on Sunday released a list of 477 Palestinian prisoners to be released as part of the deal to secure Gilad Shalit's freedom, many of whom were involved in bloody militant attacks.

Hundreds of them are serving life terms after being convicted of involvement in attacks, including the 2001 bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub that killed 21 people and an attack on a Netanya hotel where 29 people died a year later.

Details of the prisoners' identities were made public just 48 hours before the exchange was expected to take place, although the specific details of the handover were still being worked out, officials said.

Under the agreement signed last Tuesday, Israel is to free a total of 1 027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of the 25-year-old soldier, who has been in captivity in Gaza for more than five years.

If the deal goes through, it will be the largest number of Palestinian prisoners ever freed by the Jewish state to secure the release of just one person.

It will also be the first time in 26 years that a captured soldier has been returned to Israel alive.

Israeli President Shimon Peres received the files of the prisoners on Saturday evening to begin working on their official pardons, which must be signed before the exchange expected on Tuesday.

Israelis now have 48 hours to challenge the prisoner release, with the court system saying two new petitions against the deal would be heard at noon on Monday.

One group representing victims of attacks filed a two-part petition on Friday, challenging the principle of releasing so many security prisoners, and also filing suit against the release of individual prisoners.

The Israeli High Court has never overturned any government decision to free prisoners involved in militant attacks.

Israel was expected to celebrate Shalit's long-awaited return, although the 25-year-old was likely to be kept far from the public eye in the face of concerns about his mental health after being held incommunicado in Gaza since his capture in June 2006.

  • phathuchicos - 2011-10-16 18:29

    Does Israel even realise how isolated it is becoming with its actions towards its neighbours...the only neighbour they have right now is USA, even europe is thinking twice right now...the world is not the only testament they should know that.

      Dayaan - 2011-10-17 10:55

      To all those that have given this post a thumbs down please note that the US SEC Defense Panetta said it himself that Israel is becoming more isolated. " ON BOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated in the Middle East, and said Israeli leaders must restart negotiations with the Palestinians and work to restore relations with Egypt and Turkey. In a blunt assessment made as he was traveling to Israel, Panetta said the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East makes it critical for the Israelis to find ways to communicate with other nations in the region in order to have stability. "There's not much question in my mind that they maintain that (military) edge," Panetta told reporters traveling with him. "But the question you have to ask: Is it enough to maintain a military edge if you're isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena? Real security can only be achieved by both a strong diplomatic effort as well as a strong effort to project your military strength.""

  • Dirk - 2011-10-16 19:45

    Israel is only isolated on earth. Although I feel for Shalit, I am not sure that Israel is doing the right thing by releasing these murderers. But in terms of quality, I think that 1 Israeli soldier is worth more than 1027 arabs

      phathuchicos - 2011-10-16 23:12

      only jews are the people who live on another dimension in this world.

  • Jaba - 2011-10-17 09:57

    I can appreciate the joy of the Shalit family that they will have their son home again. However, many lessons have come out of this. A. An Israeli life is worth 1027 Arab ones. Let's remember the equation next time there is a war and Israel is accused of "over-reacting" Note; Israel didn't set this ratio, Hamas did!!! B, Hamas has already said that these terrorists will murder again - and unfortunately, I believe Hamas at this juncture more than I do Netanyahu. C. The danger to IDF soldiers near Gaza and Lebanon has just gone up 1027 times. Israel is showing time and time again that it is worthwhile to kidnap and hold soldiers in a hidden location without access to the red Cross/Crescent. Thus Targeted assassinations of Hamas officials should begin IF these terrorists go back to a life of terror and violence.

      zbamete - 2011-10-17 20:56

      well done Jaba! at least now you know the difference between 'assignation' and 'assasination'....but why do you like repeating yourself over and over again?!

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