News

    Israel Attaches New Conditions to Prisoner Swap with Hamas

    More than 11,000 Palestinians, including women and children, reportedly remain in Israeli jails. The possible deal could include the release of 1,000 Palestinian detainees in exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who is being held in Gaza.

    Robert Berger

    A German mediator has brought Israel's latest proposal on a prisoner swap to the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

    Israel has attached tough new conditions to an emerging prisoner swap with Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip. 

    According to state-run Israel Television, Israel is demanding the deportation of 125 Palestinian prisoners to Gaza or abroad.  The 125 are among 1,000 Palestinian detainees Israel is prepared to release in exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who is being held in Gaza.    He was captured by Hamas gunmen in a cross-border raid three and a half years ago.

    Palestinian women hold portraits of relatives held in Israeli jails during a protest calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners, in the West Bank city of Nablus, Tuesday 6 Oct. 2009
    Palestinian women hold portraits of relatives held in Israeli jails during a protest calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners, in the West Bank city of Nablus, Tuesday 6 Oct. 2009

    The prisoners slated for deportation were involved in deadly attacks on Israelis.  Israel does not want them to return home to the West Bank because they are perceived as a terror threat to nearby Israeli cities.  Gaza, by contrast, is under a tight blockade.

    Israeli counter-terrorism expert Yossi Melman says Israel is swallowing a bitter pill.

    "We are going to release terrorists who have been involved in horrific acts of murder and violence and terrorism," he said.

    Therefore, he believes deportation makes the deal more palatable to the Israeli public. 

    "This is a reasonable, sensible demand by Israel," he said.

    Hamas officials say they will need several days to study the Israeli proposal.  But Melman does not expect a positive response.

    "I do not think that Hamas would change its spots, would compromise," he said.

    It is a charged issue on both sides.  Hamas wants to win points with the Palestinian public, which sees the prisoners as freedom fighters who should be allowed to return home.

    Israelis, on the other hand, are divided.  Many say it is part of the national ethos to bring captive soldiers home at any price.  But others see the prisoner swap as a mockery of Israeli justice and a reward for terrorism.
     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora