Gilad Shalit – the young Israeli soldier who was captured by Hamas five years ago – is on the brink of being released.
There have been several false dawns in efforts to free him, but now the Israeli government and the ruling Palestinian faction in Gaza, Hamas, have agreed on a prisoner swap. His parents, who have lobbied tirelessly for their son, are praying that the deal brokered by Egyptian and German mediators will bring success.
But it is controversial. After much deliberation, the Israeli cabinet has agreed to hand over more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange.
Israel’s prime minister has been criticised by some, who say the release of so many Palestinians will bring more casualties. However, the government is defending its decision.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman, Mark Regev, said: “We think the deal that is on the table has the right balance, that it minimises the security risks involved, and of course brings home expeditiously Gilad Shalit to his family, back to Israel.”