Palestinian prisoners on a bus before release [file] 311 (R).
(photo credit: Yannis Behrakis / Reuters)
If there are no last-minute changes, Gilad Schalit will return to Israel next
week, possibly as early as Tuesday.
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On Saturday, David Meidan, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s mediator in the negotiations, will meet with
senior Egyptian officials in Cairo to finalize the logistics of the prisoner
Schalit will be taken across Gaza’s southwestern border into
Egyptian territory – likely via the Rafah crossing – where he will be met by
Egyptian security officials and a small Israeli delegation, which will verify
his identity and ensure he is healthy.
He will then be taken by plane to
an IDF base, while groups of Palestinian prisoners are transferred from the
Ketziyot Prison in the South – where they will have gathered the day before – to
the Gaza Strip, Egypt and the West Bank.
Israel is expected to publish
the list of the released Palestinian prisoners
’ names on Sunday morning, in line
with Israeli law which requires that the government provide citizens with 48
hours to petition the High Court of Justice against the deal.
At the IDF
base, Schalit will meet his family and undergo more comprehensive medical exams. Chief of General
Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz met with the Schalit family on
Thursday night to coordinate the release.
The International Committee of
the Red Cross, which has facilitated other prisoner swaps, has offered its
and is discussing this with Israel and Gaza’s Hamas
Before being released, the convicted Palestinian terrorists will
sign a document pledging that they will not engage in terrorist activity in the
Israel has denied guaranteeing Hamas that it will not hunt down
the released prisoners in the future.
“If they engage in terror they will
pay a price,” one official said.
At the same time, the IDF is concerned
that Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip will increase rocket attacks
against Israel in the coming days as part of an effort to torpedo the
On Wednesday, Gantz convened the General Staff to discuss the
ramifications of the deal for the IDF, and instructed the regional commands to
raise their level of alert ahead of the swap.
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