It has been 17 years since the Palestinian resistance captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit near the border of the besieged Gaza Strip, keeping him for five years.
On June 25, 2006, three factions of Palestinian resistance, including Hamas, cooperate in an operation inside an Israeli military site east of Rafah city, south of the Gaza Strip.
The operation ended with Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, in the grip of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas. Two Palestinian freedom fighters were also killed by Israeli gunfire during the same incident.
Shalit in Gaza
For five years, the resistance in Gaza managed to hold Shalit in a secret place while making external negotiations for a swap deal.
Al-Qassam brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, revealed videos of Shalit receiving humane and pleasant treatment while in detention by its Shadow Unit, used to secure Israeli prisoners in Gaza.
Shalit was seen grilling meat on Gaza Beach in a clip and eating Indomie noodles in another clip with a group of Hamas fighters.
While Israel has been always holding Palestinian prisoners under harsh conditions, Hamas’ videos delivered a soft message and triggered demands for Israel to improve the condition of Palestinian detainees.
After 5 years of Shalit’s detention, many negotiations took place outside Gaza. A prisoner exchange deal came to light in 2011.
On October 11, 2011, an agreement was reached between the Palestinian resistance and the Israeli occupation with an Egyptian meditation to release 1027 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.
Wafaa Al-Ahrar was the name of the swap deal reached after long negotiations. Under the deal, 1027 Palestinian prisoners including 27 women were released from Israeli prisons.
Palestinian-released prisoners were sent to Gaza Strip, West Bank, and 1948-occupied lands. 203 others were deported outside Palestine.
4 Soldiers Still Held in Gaza
Four Israeli soldiers are still captured by the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas in besieged Gaza, including two soldiers captured during the Israeli aggression on Gaza in the summer of 2014.
Official talks about a new swap have not been raised yet. However, Palestinian demands continue to release Palestinian prisoners and improve their detention conditions.
Israel currently holds up to 5000 Palestinian detainees, including 31 women and 160 children, according to statistics by Addameer.