1000 to 1 in prisoner exchange
A huge prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas began this morning, as a kidnapped Israeli soldier was returned home for the first time in 26 years. Gilad Shalit is being exchanged by the Israeli authorities for over 1000 Palestinian prisoners, many of them convicted of bloody terrorist crimes in Israel. Alltid Nyheter spoke to student Rana Baker, resident in Gaza, and the activist and blogger Elizabeth Tsurkov in Tel Aviv about reactions to the prisoner exchange.
The now 25-year-old Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by militant Palestinians on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel in the summer of 2006, he is now being released in exchange for over one thousand Palestinian prisoners.
On a poor telephone line from Gaza, student Rana Baker spoke about the reactions there about the prisoner exchange. She says that people are extatic that the Palestinian prisoners are now being freed. Local media are constantly updating the situation as the prisoner exchange develops. At the same time the general opinion is that the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is part of an occupying force which has been involved in killing Palestinians, and that was why he was captured back in 2006.
Listen to Rana Baker here:
Israeli Elizabeth Tsurkov is a recent graduate in international relations and media, and is an activist and blogger in Tel Aviv. She told Alltid Nyheter about the reaction in Israel. She says most people support the deal, but that many Israelis are concerned about the consequences of the exchange. Many wonder what will happen when over 1000 convicted Palestinian terrorists are released by Israel. She herself doesn't support the deal, she says, and thinks it is a dangerous way to deal with a kidnapping. She adds that the agreement is seen by many as a success for the Israeli government, but some see it as a trick to get the Israeli population to support them.
Listen to Elizabeth Tsurkov here: