18/10/2011 GMT with George Alagiah


With Naga Muchetty. A report from Israel and the Palestinian territories bringing you reaction to a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel.

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You're watching GMT on BBC World news. We've seen Binyamin Netanyahu,


the Israel leader speaking, about the release of Gilad Shalit, the


Israeli prisoner, who has been released in scaiping for 1,000


Palestinian prisoners. -- exchange. Welcome to this


special edition of GMT. I'm Naga Munchetty. We welcome our viewers


in the UK toe our extended coverage of events in the Middle East, where


Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been released from Hamas captivity


and reunited with his family. And I'm Geeta Guru-Murthy. The


Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been released and is now on Israeli


soil. He'd been held captive in Gaza for more than five years. His


release is in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.


TransI always believed that the day will come when I will find myself


It's lunchtime in London, 7.30am in New York and 1.30pm in the


Palestinian territories and Israel, and this is where Gilad Shalit, the


young soldier kidnapped by Hamas in a cross-border raid five years ago


has just made his way home. He was released in exchange for more than


a thousand Palestinian prisoners. The first few hundred of those have


already been welcomed back do Gaza and ram la. We'll bring you full


story of this remarkable day. We'll be live at the Israeli air base,


but first this report from Rupert Wingfield-Hayes.


This fleeting glimps the first the outside world has seen of Shalit in


more than five years. The young Israeli soldier looks tired and


thin and had trouble speaking. Obviously I missed my family a lot


and my friends, and I missed might normal people to talk to, to tell


them about my experiences through captive. Very a lot to do when I'm


free. In Gaza City huge crowds gathered from early this morning to


welcome back the Palestinian prisoners. Buses loaded with some


of the 477 Palestinians wait for the swap to begin. Some of these


prisoners were serving multiple life sentences, convicted of taking


part in murders and bombings of civilian targets inside Israel.


Some now will be allowed to stay in Gaza. But a few, those Israel


considers most dangerous, are being sent into exile A village in the


far north of Israel Gilad Shalit's family are told it is time to go.


Finally they are on their way to meet their son. This is what we've


all been waiting for today, this is the helicopter carrying Gilad


Shalit back from the Egyptian border back to be reunited with his


family at the Tel Nof air base. That will end a five-year trauma


for him and his family, and close an open wound for millions of


Israelis who send their sons and daughters to the military and live


in fear of something similar happening to them Gaza there is


real joy at the return of hundreds of men and a few women who've spent


years or decades in Israeli prisons. Their release will not bring an end


to that conflict which has gone on for more than 60 years.


Let's speak now to Arnold Roth, whose 15-year-old daughter Malka


was killed ten years ago, when a pizzeria was blown up in Jerusalem.


The woman who drove the bomb tore the location is being released


today. Of course, this is going to spark high emotions among this


gentleman, Arnold Roth will be speaking to us from our Jerusalem


studio. Can you hear me? Yes, I can, thank you. Thank you for joining me


today. This is a highly emotional day for you, I imagine. How do you


and your family feel today about the events? There's a considerable


amount of emotional turmoil watching the prisoners go free, and


in particular knowing that our daughter's murderer, who was


sentenced to 16 life terms and has been in jail for 8 years saying the


whole time she is going to go free is going to go free today. She's


never regretted anything she did, so the feeling today is awful.


heard Binyamin Netanyahu justifying and explaining the process of this


deal and how he arrived at the conclusion that this is a


reasonable deal - 1 Israeli soldier for 1,000 Palestinians. Have you


heard his reasoning? Yes, I have heard the reasoning before and I


think you would probably have to be a politician to be able to come to


terms with that kind of reasoning. I remember a book on the art of how


you manage government in the face of terrorism. The conclusion that


books reachs are the opposite of what Mr Binyamin Netanyahu has been


speaking about. He wrote that book. If you are not a politician and are


simply the father of children, as I am, and one of your children has


been murdered, blown up in an act of hatred, you look at this


differently. I'm sitting here not because I expect to get my daughter


back, and not because I'm emotional, but because having experienced this


I'm sufficiently motivated, as is my wife, so get up and say, "Ladies


and gentlemen, this was never about one soldier alone, it was something


much larger, which involve it is our entire society." If the Prime


Minister thinks we are better off now, that is something that would


be worth discussing. No-one from the Government has discussed


anything with us, or anyone else I know, throughout this process.


Roth, can I ask you how you feel seeing the pictures of the


celebrations that have been taking place, with the Palestinian


prisoners being released? Do you think that's a really inappropriate


reaction or is it just human emotion? It goes well beyond


inappropriate, but the real question is whether the


appropriateness is inappropriate to the centre of London or some other


civilised place, or to the context in which it was happening. When


high daughter was murdered in 2001 we were sent pictures of men


dancing on the streets of many capitals can. And then we saw a


replica of the restaurant where my daughter was killed, complete with


tomato sauce on the walls and body parts made out of I don't know what.


Inappropriate is not really part of our lexicon. It is clear we are


dealing with a profound hatred which scact rises terrorism


wherever it o curse, and there is no point in expecting civilised


behaviour or even behaviour that the rest of us can understand.


Arnold Roth, thank you. Earlier we got a sense of the


celebrations under way in Gaza and also of the mixed feelings in


Israel, following the release of Gilad Shalit. Israelis who are


opposed to the exchange pointed out the background of some of the


Palestinian prisoners released One of the 27 women freed, a former


TV journalist, drove a suicide bomber to a restaurant, part of an


attack which killed 15 people. Walid Abdel Hadi Aqel was charged


with murder and other offences for with murder and other offences for


which he was serving 16 life innocences. We are joined by the


Israeli ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub. Thank you for joining


us. Not at all. Why has Israel agreed this release? It's been, as


the Prime Minister said, an agonising decision, a decision


that's accompanied us over five years and four months since Gilad


Shalit was taken into captivity. One of the reasons it is so painful


is precisely what you've been talking about, the fact that the


people going free are people who are responsible for some absolutely


brutal atrocities. They are going into if arms of people who are


welcoming them as heroes. In Arabic I heard the chants, "We want


another Gilad Shalit.". Is this should not just political gain for


the Government? I don't think it's a political decision at all, but a


human decision. On the other side toef equation, pretty much everyone


in Israel has been touched bay terrorist atrocity, friends and


family and so on, we have a society where sadly everybody is also


touched by the need to serve in the armed forces. The fact is the only


thing between these terrorists and our homes and our children are our


young men and women who have to defend ourselves. The message that


we send, that we will do everything possible to bring these people home,


is an extremely important message for the young people in Israel to


hear. How you strike to balance between sending that message


between doing everything you can to fulfil your commitment to those


young people but not endanger future potential victim victims of


terrorist attacks is exscruesiating. Is Israel backed into a corner


because of the changing glds the region? Hamas, the reason that


Hamas changed its criteria for the deal and became more flexible is


because they were really under pressure. The fact is the people of


Gaza see their neighbours with the Arab Spring claiming basic rights


and freedoms they would like to have for themselves. We see Hamas's


popularity was in a down slide. That's the reason why they agreed


to terms Israel had been sinnisting on for a number of years and that


deal became possible. We heard the leader, Binyamin Netanyahu, talk


about Egypt this this deal. How important has that role been?


did play a very important role. After different international


mediators tried to move this ahead, Egypt, which does have a


relationship with Hamas and has concerns about Hamas, was able to


put the pieces together. Obviously we would like to to be a


springboard for deepening our relations with Egypt. It's a


crucial potential partner for news the region. Because things are so


much in a state of flux in Egypt we have to hope for the best.


power of negotiation going forward between Israel, Hamas and Fatah.


That again is another important part of the pulz. Ideally we don't


want to give any additional legitimacy to Hamas, which is


totally opposed to any peace deal. We have no interest in giving


legitimacy to them. If we could, we loo like to strengthen the


Palestinian Authority leader, President Abbas, who we like like


to join us at the negotiating table. The fact is this is really a


demonstration of the fact that as much as President Abbas would like


to claim to be the head of what he would like to be a state, large


areas in the Gaza Strip are not under Palestinian control but Hamas


control. You can tell us more about the security deal that's been done,


allegedly? Binyamin Netanyahu is warning that any of the militants


freed will be punished if they return to violence. How is that


going to be policed? One of the aspects of the deal is that a lot


of these releases are not blanket releases but are subject to various


conditions. There are some people that are going to remain under


various forms of house detention or within particular areas, some are


going to be expelled from the area and not allowed back These are the


reasons why I think Israel's defence establishment, the Chief of


Staff, the head of intelligence, have come out in support of the


deal. As difficult as it is, I think that's one of the things that


have given the Israeli people... They are 100% sure this deal can be


enforced with 100%? The situation we are facing is so complex that we


have to made difficult, calculated risks. We have to try to do that


where on the one hand we are giving consideration to the genuine


security concerns of victims of terrorism and society as a whole,


and on the other hand recognising the fact that here is an Israeli


young man who at the request of his society went out to defend his


country and we have an obligation to try and bring him home. You are


talking about trust now between the two parties. Gilad Shalit said


during an interview earlier that he wanted all Palestinian prisoners


released. I actually heard that interview. What he did say, he


would love to see all Palestinian prisoners released if there was a


situation where they couldn't revert to terrorism and attack


Israel. That's something that reflects the broad feeling of all


people in Israel. We don't have any interest in arresting people trying


to kills and keep them in prison. We would like to have two


prosperous neighbouring societies. Unfortunately that isn't the


situation at the moment. At the moment 07% of Israelis are in


support of this deal and 30% against. How are you going to


reassure them that future imbalanced deals aren't on the


cards? I don't think the statistics reflect the complexity of the issue.


I think every Israeli is torn about this. I think every Israeli today


is thinking on the one hand of their children, of young people


they know who are defending the country, and on the other hand


thinking of people they know killed in acts of terrorism, and trying


too find the most responsible way of moving ahead in this environment.


Mr Netanyahu said he feared if a deal wasn't being done they could


have lost Gilad Shalit forever. What did he mean by that, do you


know? Every Israeli has in the back of their mind and Binyamin


Netanyahu said explicitly, we have Israelis captured by organisations


in the past who've disappeared from the face of the earth and we have


never heard of them again. An Air Force person was lost. One of the


shock Hamas techniques was to show a film of Gilad Shalit's face


turning into that one, sending a There was massive reaction in the


region. Is this not an opportunity for a springboard, for the Israeli


government to do something big, to say we will come back to talks. You


know we need that to break -- bring Fatah back to the talks. We need to


recognise that Hamas as it is is not interested in a peace process.


The head of their foreign relations recently said they will only be an


end to the conflict when there is an end to the state of Broe Israel,


that is not a basis for negotiations. -- state of Israel.


We need to do everything we can to try to work with the Palestinian


Authority to get them to come back to the negotiating table. But of


this is seen as a successful move does that not give you an example


to follow and move things forward? I think it shows that Israel has a


leadership that is prepared to make tough decisions. It is prepared to


try to deliver and the people are prepared to live with tough


decisions as well. I hope it sends a message to Palestinians that if


they come back to the table they will find a government and people


that wants peace and is prepared to move ahead towards that. It has


been a remarkable day. Thank you Mahmoud Abbas paid tribute to the


prisoners and delivered a special message to Egypt. TRANSLATION: We


would like to salute our brothers in Egypt. They have worked


tirelessly for the release of our brothers and sisters. We would also


like to salute Egypt for its role in the Palestinian reconciliation


process. It is a process started by you inside the prisons, you have


worked hard for reconciliation and that reconciliation will happen, no


matter what. Let's go live and speak to an adviser to the


Palestinians Authority president. Thank you for joining us. Your


reaction to the deal and Exchange today? Maybe you can hear the noise


around me, people are still celebrating in the streets. Behind


me is a compound where people are expressing joy not only for the


release of the President's -- prisoners but also for the great


speeches we heard mainly emphasising the importance of


reconciliation and promising the Palestinian people that the


existence of people behind it and those working behind it will see


the light at the end of the tunnel. Give me your reaction to families


in Israel who have had a family members are murdered or victims of


violence who see the celebrations, do you understand how this might


stick in their throats? celebrations are also underway in


Israel. Gilad Shalit has been released and people are celebrating.


I no conflict has its claims on people and what we saw over decades


of conflict can be ended and ended soon. This is the longest Israeli


occupation in a modern time, but it is finished and ended when all the


people in Palestine can rest in peace and Israel will be more


accepted in the Arab and Muslim worlds in accordance to the Arab


initiative. I you confident these prisoners who have been released,


those who were responsible for violence will not impose this


violence again -- are you Apologies, we appear to have lost


our guest. Technical difficulties. If we can get him back, we will.


Now to the Tel LAUGH airbase in I'm terribly sorry we have lost the


sound there. We know that Gilad Shalit has been reunited with his


family. We heard from the Prime Minister that he was delighted to


say to the parents of Gilad Shalit I have returned your son home to


you. He was fearful that he would have lost him forever if this deal


was not done. Gilad Shalit was any 19 when he was abducted in June in


2006. He was taken by a joint force of Palestinian militants who


tunnelled under the Gaza at Israeli border. The moment Gilad Shalit was


captured, he was seized from his tank just over the border from Gaza.


Two Israeli soldiers and two Palestinian militants were killed


in the raid. That was June 2006. Soon after Israel launched an


offensive aimed, it said, at securing Gilad Shalit's release and


ending rocket fire from Palestinian militants. 300 Palestinians died in


the next few months. And several Israelis. An Israeli blockade was


also imposed on Gaza. Gilad Shalit remained in captivity. Across


Israel the campaign group for his release. The demand was for the


government to do what Israel had done before, to agree an exchange


of prisoners. The strength of our army, of our society, our belief


that we are not leaving anyone in the field, in prison, or elsewhere,


we will do all we can to bring him home. And then in 2009 the first


glimpse of staff to Sergeant Shalit for more than 1200 days as Hamas


released a video. Their prisoner looked gaunt, but managed a half


smile. He says I hope the current government when waste the chance of


a deal so I can finally realise my dream. Four Palestinians the issue


of prisoners is hugely important. Over 5000 are held in Israeli


prisons. Some have been convicted by his records of murder, some have


been detained without charge. -- Palestinian society regards


prisoners as people who have acted on behalf of society and sacrifice


themselves for Palestinian society. The whole society feels indebted to


them. The Gilad Shalit's release and is a trauma for Israel, a


country where almost every Jewish family as someone in the army. The


prisoner swap will also be celebrated by Palestinians. But


tensions with Hamas remain high, for the optimism generated by this


event, the conflict has not been changed.


Let's go live now to the Rafah Crossing. We have seen some


incredible scenes in the last two hours. What is happening now?


it has been extremely emotional and quite chaotic today as these


Palestinian prisoners were brought in from Egypt on buses. Most of


them have been transferred now by bus either home to their families,


or money will go to Gaza City where a huge rally is being planned by


Hamas later today where we could see up to 100,000 people in the


main square in Gaza City. Very emotional today, many of the


family's meeting their relatives have not seen their husbands, sons,


brothers for 10, 20, maybe 30 years. One elderly gentleman pulled me


aside, he was waiting for his nephew and he said just remember


one thing today - Palestinians have mothers, too, and those mothers


today are feeling the same as Gilad Shalit's mother. Any sense thereof


worry about where this politically takes us forward? A huge imbalance,


some see it, and the numbers of people released. Over 1000 released


for the sake of one Israeli soldier. Politically where does that leave


us? I think Israel wanted to get their soldier home, we heard in


that piece there the importance of the Israeli army and reservists for


ordinary Israeli citizens. Most people in Israel have a relative in


the army. I think Hamas will make political capital from this. They


will portray this as a victory. 1000 visitors for -- prisoners for


one man seems in their favour. I think Hamas negotiated this from a


vision -- a position of weakness because they were worried about


their popularity. They will get a short-term boost from this but they


have played their big carp now. One ominous thing we had here was we


had prisoners, relatives and Hamas supporters shouting we want a new


Gilad Shalit. That would be ominous We have seen momentous scenes there


behind you. Things have quietened down a bit but huge numbers of


people still gathering in Gaza. Those scenes of celebration are


expected to continue long into the day. There have also been seen as


of celebration in Israel where the 19 year-old soldier was released.


He has arrived back on Israeli soil, he has been reunited with his


family. We have had the Israeli leader describing long days of


negotiation in Cairo with Hamas saying he did stand their ground


but when the main demands of Israel were met and accepted the decision


With Naga Muchetty. We report from Israel and the Palestinian territories bringing you reaction to a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel. The deal saw Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit freed from Hamas captivity after more than 5 years, in exchange for the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

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