Israel on Sunday revealed that it will set free 980 jailed Palestinian terrorists in exchange for abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip since June 25, 2006.
If the deal for Shalit goes through it will happen in two stages. First, Shalit will be moved to Egypt and Israel will set free 450 terrorists specifically demanded by Hamas. In the second stage, Shalit will be returned to Israel and an additional 530 Palestinian terrorists of Israel's choosing will be released as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinians.
The number of prisoners involved in the swap was revealed during a Supreme Court hearing on a petition by bereaved Israelis who have lost loved ones in Palestinian terror attacks. The victims of past terror attacks insist that the state disclose the names of the terrorists it plans to release, but so far have met a brick wall.
State prosecutors say that publicizing the names of those to be traded for Shalit poses a security risk and could undermine the deal. Lawyers representing the bereaved family members noted that if Israel can give the names to Hamas, then publicizing them is clearly not a security risk. Furthermore, if there are objectionable names on the list, then scuttling the exchange could save lives.
According to organizations representing the victims of Palestinian terror, prisoners released by Israel in past exchanges or gestures of goodwill have gone on to kill 180 Israelis.
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