October 14, 2011- After six long years in captivity; Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, will return home to Israel on Tuesday, October 19. This will complete a long process of negotiations between Hamas and the Israeli government. As Shalit crosses the border into Israeli territory, the Israeli government will release 450 prisoners as part of the deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
A spokesman from the office of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister said the first group of prisoners would be released as soon as Shalit is in Israeli. Details of the swap will be finalized on Saturday in Cairo. David Meidan, the chief negotiator for Israel, will return to Cairo to iron out the details of the swap with Hamas. Israel and Hamas have been negotiating the deal with the help of mediators from Egypt.
Over the weekend, the Prisons Authority in Israel will publish a list on its website of the Palestinian prisoners who will be released. This will leave 48 hours for the public to file any legal appeals against the release in the country’s Supreme Court. A challenge is not expected by the court, as it has never done so in the past when prisoners have been exchanged.
Local newspapers reported that Shalit would be taken to the Sinai Peninsula at which time Israel will release 27 women that are detained. Once he crosses into Israeli territory at one of the crossings, 450 other detainees will be released.
Shalit has been a prisoner since 2006 when militants seized him. Once he is back in Israel, he will be flown to an unannounced military base to reunite with his family and have his first medical checkup. He will then return home.