Israel to Release Palestinian Prisoners for Shalit Tape

By JTA

Published September 30, 2009.
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Israel’s Security Cabinet will release 20 female Palestinian security prisoners in exchange for a recently recorded videotape of Gilad Shalit.

The proposal was presented to the Cabinet by the Egyptian team responsible for negotiating the release of the captive soldier, who has been held for the last three years by Hamas, most of the time in Gaza. The video will give Israel “updated and unequivocal proof” that Shalit is alive and well, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

German mediators have already viewed the one-minute tape, Israel’s Channel 10 reported.

“The Security Cabinet decided to respond to the Egyptian initiative as a confidence-building measure in the framework of the indirect negotiations,” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office. “All of this is ahead of the decisive stages in the negotiations for Gilad Shalit’s release and on the basis of the Government of Israel’s determination to bring him back home quickly while upholding the State of Israel’s vital interests.”

All but one of the Palestinian women to be released is from the West Bank and none were directly involved in the killing of Israelis, according to reports.

The prisoner release and the handing over of the videotape are set to occur on Friday, according to reports.






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