Release of list of 477 prisoners to be swapped for Shalit meets opposition

Release of list of 477 prisoners to be swapped for Shalit meets opposition Israel has released the names of 477 out of the 1027 prisoners to be exchanged for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit captured by Hamas in Gaza five years ago. The prisoners include Palestinians involved in several deadly terrorist attacks on Israel. A poll ...

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Release of list of 477 prisoners to be swapped for Shalit meets opposition

Israel has released the names of 477 out of the 1027 prisoners to be exchanged for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit captured by Hamas in Gaza five years ago. The prisoners include Palestinians involved in several deadly terrorist attacks on Israel. A poll conducted by the Dahaf Institute interviewed 500 Israelis and found that 79 percent approve of the deal, while 14 percent oppose it. Critics of the deal have gathered across the country in protest, saying Israel is giving in to terrorists and promoting further abduction. The opposition and families of victims of attacks have filed court appeals against the prisoner swap deal, which will be decided by the Israelis Supreme Court. The opposition is not expected to cause any delay in the exchange, the first stage of which is set to begin on Tuesday.

Headlines  

Release of list of 477 prisoners to be swapped for Shalit meets opposition

Israel has released the names of 477 out of the 1027 prisoners to be exchanged for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit captured by Hamas in Gaza five years ago. The prisoners include Palestinians involved in several deadly terrorist attacks on Israel. A poll conducted by the Dahaf Institute interviewed 500 Israelis and found that 79 percent approve of the deal, while 14 percent oppose it. Critics of the deal have gathered across the country in protest, saying Israel is giving in to terrorists and promoting further abduction. The opposition and families of victims of attacks have filed court appeals against the prisoner swap deal, which will be decided by the Israelis Supreme Court. The opposition is not expected to cause any delay in the exchange, the first stage of which is set to begin on Tuesday.

Headlines  

  • Libyan NTC forces launched a fresh attack on Bani Walid reaching the center, however control of the town is uncertain.
  • Heavy fighting has continued for a second day in Sana’a after Yemeni troops fired upon protesters killing at least 13 activists in Yemen’s capital.
  • Foreign minister says Iran is “ready to examine” evidence provided by the U.S. of an alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador “even if it was fabricated.”
  • While the world is distracted by Shalit deal, Israel revives a plan for construction of a new 2,600 home settlement that will cut off Palestinian East Jerusalem from the West Bank.
  • The Arab League has given President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime 15 days to end the government crackdown or face suspension.

Daily Snapshot

Arab foreign ministers attend an emergency meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on October 16, 2011 to discuss the crisis in Syria where the UN says more than 3,000 people have been killed in a crackdown on anti-government protests (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images).

Arguments & Analysis 

‘Massacre in Cairo’ (Yasmine El-Rashidi, New York Review of Books)

“Whatever is ultimately revealed about what happened at Maspero, many in the Coptic Christian community, which accounts for some 10 percent of Egypt’s 82 million population, regard their position in Egyptian society as increasingly tenuous. The original cause for the Maspero protest, the burning of the El-Marinab Church in Aswan on September 30, was the fifth such assault on a church since the fall of Mubarak, and the sixth in twelve months. Hours before the Aswan church was set on fire, a preacher at a nearby mosque used his midday sermon to incite further anger against the town’s Copts. And in Alexandria the week before the Maspero violence, I heard a Salafi preacher blame the ills of the world on Christians, Zionists, and women.”

‘Syria’s slow slip into civil war’ (Robert Fisk, The Independent)

“Cross-border tank incursions; four Syrian opponents of the Damascus regime kidnapped in Lebanon, supposedly in a vehicle belonging to the Syrian embassy in Beirut; a truckload of ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades destined for President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents on the other side of the Lebanese frontier seized by the Lebanese army — not to mention the mass rally in favour of Bashar in Damascus last week, which Syrians arriving in Lebanon say really — really — did count a million people on the streets. Every tragedy has its mystery, I suppose, but this one is taking on Gone With The Wind proportions.”  

‘Why Hamas is losing Gaza’ (Karl Vick, Time)

“When the islamist movement known as Hamas first took control of Gaza in 2006, the family of Ahmed Ayyash, a third-year engineering student at the Hamas-controlled Islamic University, gave the party their full backing. Like a solid plurality of Palestinian voters, they thought the Islamists would provide clean government, in contrast to the corruption-riddled Fatah that had ruled for years. Then Ayyash’s mother applied for a teaching job. She was offered it immediately: to the Hamas official who interviewed her, all that mattered was that her husband knew people in the new government. A principled woman, Ayyash’s mother turned down the job because, he says, “it was through wasta.” That’s Arabic for connections, and in Gaza it symbolized everything that was wrong with the old administration, everything Hamas claimed to oppose. “This was their slogan at election time, to end the wasta,” Ayyash recalls.”

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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