Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Strategic Notes on the Gilad Shalit Prisoner Exchange

By Barry Rubin

There are some substantial misunderstandings on the nature of the Gilad Shalit exchange deal. I should stress that the list of those Palestinian prisoners being given in exchange for him has not yet been released. But note the following:

--The number 1000 is impressive but most will be chosen by Israel, meaning they will be prisoners with the lightest sentences and crimes, in other words, people who would have been released anyway during the next year or two.

--Israel rejected Hamas's demand to release those being called "arch-terrorists" who were major organizers of attacks or responsible for a larger loss of life.

--Of the most serious terrorist prisoners only a bit over 96 will be released into the West Bank and 14 to east Jerusalem where they could cause direct trouble for Israel The rest will be sent to the Gaza Strip or deported altogether. Those with lighter sentences who live in the West Bank would have been sent there anyway when their sentences were finished.

--Hamas did a politically clever thing by demanding that half of the named prisoners be non-Hamas people. The goal is to make Hamas more popular among Fatah supporters and on the West Bank.

The plan is as follows:

Read it all:

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