Gilad Shalit returns to Israel
Gilad Shalit, the Israeli Defense Force member captured in a border crossing incident 2006 by Hamas and held as a pawn for the last five years, crossed over from Egypt to Israel at 11 a.m. on October 18. According to reports, Shalit, 24, is in good health despite over five years of imprisonment. The Israeli and French national reportedly expressed happiness at regaining his freedom and regret on missing his family members. Shalit’s release was secured by The Israeli Cabinet in a 26-3 vote, which approved a prisoner exchange of approximately 1,000 security prisoners. The deal follows years of indirect bargaining on both sides between Israeli officials and Hamas, the terror organization elected to serve as a fledgling government in Gaza. The first wave of 479 prisoners to be released, many of whom are convicted murderers, will coincide with Shalit’s release. Several Israelis have openly questioned the move by Israel and what effect it might portend for the security of the Jewish state. Israeli officials have countered that given the present instability in the area, especially the uncertain status with Egypt at present, the deal was probably the most opportune.