Prisoner swap fueled tensions, created little goodwill

Israel fears more soldier kidnappings to come

Monday’s Middle Eastern prisoner swap, in which Hamas officials returned Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to Israel in exchange for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, may have increased tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, rather than promoting good will. Shalit’s release after six years of captivity in the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip was bittersweet for the Jewish nation, as the Palestinian group said that it won’t rest until all Palestinian prisoners are released from Israeli prisons. Many in Israel fear the pledge will result in the capture and imprisonment of more Israeli soldiers to be used as bargaining chips in future prisoner swaps. And the successful release of Shalit did nothing to convince the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiating table. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Thursday excluded progress on the peace talks until Tel Aviv imposes a complete freeze on Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

New York Times

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