Historic prisoner deal is the 40th between Arabs and Israel

Historic prisoner deal is the 40th between Arabs and Israel
(Photo: Twitter/X)
GAZA – At 7am, local time  on Friday, 49 days of Israel’s war on Gaza came to a standstill as a Qatari and Egyptian brokered temporary truce and prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel came into action. اضافة اعلان

By Friday evening, the first images of Palestinian prisoners uniting with their families and Israeli detainees being handed over to the Red Cross in Gaza began to circulate in what was a rare reprieve from the horror and destruction of the last two months. 

According to Al-Mamlaka TV, 13 Israeli prisoners and 39 Palestinians have been released so far, following the Israeli government’s reluctant acceptance of the exchange deal. Extreme-right Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, described the deal as a "historic mistake," while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated it was a "difficult but correct decision."

Nevertheless, at least 50 Israeli prisoners, including women and children under 19, are set to be released. In return, three Palestinian prisoners, including women and children, will be released for each Israeli with an estimated 150 - 300 set to be released.

There are an estimated five to eight thousand Palestinians in Israeli prisons, many held without a conviction.

The temporary ceasefire is set to hold for four days, with a chance of extension if more prisoners are released.

The historic deal represents the 40th deal of its kind in a long line of prisoner exchange deals which has seen thousands of Palestinians and Arabs released over the years.

Timeline of Prisoner Exchange Operations between Arabs and Israel:
1- After the catastrophe of 1948, Israel conducted exchanges with Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Egypt held 156 Israeli soldiers, Jordan had 673, Syria 48, and Lebanon eight. Israel detained 1,098 Egyptians, 28 Saudis, 25 Sudanese, 24 Yemenis, 17 Jordanians, 36 Lebanese, 57 Syrians, and 5,021 Palestinians. Israel also carried out exchanges with Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon in 1949.

2- In September 1954, Egyptian forces captured ten Israeli sailors aboard the ship "Bat Galim" in the Suez Canal. After intervention by the UN Security Council, the ten were released in 1955.

3- In December 1954, Syrians captured five Israeli soldiers on a mission in the Golan Heights. One committed suicide in a Syrian prison, and the remaining four were returned in January 1956, in exchange for Israel releasing 41 Syrian prisoners.

4- Between January 21, 1957, and February 5, 1957. 5,500 Egyptians captured by Israel during the tripartite aggression of 1956 were released. Cairo released four Israeli soldiers in return.

5- In June 1961, Israeli soldiers seized positions in the northern Kibbutz of "Ein Gev," and Syrians captured two Israeli soldiers during the attack. The exchange occurred on December 21, 1963, with Israel releasing 11 soldiers and civilians in exchange for 15 Syrian prisoners.

6- On December 21, 1963, an exchange took place between Israel and Syria, with 11 Israeli soldiers and civilians released in exchange for 15 Syrian prisoners.

7- In the June 1967 War, Arabs (Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon) captured 15 Israeli soldiers, while Israel detained 4,338 Egyptian soldiers, 899 civilians, 533 Jordanian soldiers, 366 civilians, 367 Syrian soldiers, and 205 Syrian civilians. The exchange began on June 15, 1967, and ended on January 23, 1968.

8- On April 2, 1968, an exchange took place with Jordan, with Israel releasing 12 prisoners, and Jordan delivering the body of a soldier killed in the Battle of Karameh. Two other soldiers remain missing to this day.

9- On July 23, 1968, the first exchange between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel occurred after Palestinian fighters successfully hijacked an Israeli plane. The deal, facilitated by the Red Cross, resulted in the release of passengers in exchange for 37 Palestinian prisoners.

10- In late 1969, A group from the PLO hijacked an Israeli plane, detaining it in the UK and arresting militant Leila Khaled. Subsequently, a British plane was hijacked, leading to an exchange in which Leila Khaled was released.

11- In 1970, 12 Israeli soldiers fell into Egyptian hands, and three others into Syrian hands. On October 16, 1970, Egypt returned a wounded pilot to Israel. On March 29, 1971, Egypt released another soldier in exchange for the release of several Egyptian soldiers and civilians.

12- On December 28, 1971, an exchange took place between the Israeli government and the Fatah movement, resulting in the release of prisoner Mahmoud Bakr Hajazi in exchange for the release of Israeli soldier Shmuel Fais, who had been abducted by Fatah in 1969.

Hijazi is considered the first Palestinian prisoner in the contemporary Palestinian revolution, which began on January 1, 1965. He was arrested on January 18, 1965. The exchange took place in Ras al-Naqoura under the auspices of the Red Cross. After the exchange, Hajazi went to Lebanon and returned to Gaza after the Oslo Agreement in 1994.

13- In March 1973, an exchange took place with Syria. Israel released five Syrian officers who were captured in southern Lebanon during a military reconnaissance mission, including former Syrian People's Council member Kamal Kinj Abu Saleh. In return, Damascus released four Israeli pilots.

14- On June 3, 1973, Syria released three Israeli pilots after three years of captivity in exchange for the release of 46 Syrian prisoners.

15- In the 1973 war, Egypt captured 242 Israeli soldiers, Syria captured 68, and Lebanon captured four, while Israel detained 8,372 Egyptians, 392 Syrians, six Moroccans, and 13 Iraqis.
The deal with Egypt took place in November 1973, with Egypt releasing 242 Israeli soldiers and officers in exchange for Israel releasing a large number of Egyptian soldiers and officers.

16- In 1974, an exchange between Syria occurred and Israel released 392 Syrians, six Moroccans, and 10 Iraqis in exchange for Syria releasing 58 Israeli prisoners.

17- In March 1974, Israel released 65 Egyptian and Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of two Israeli spies held in Egypt.

18- On April 4, 1975, Egypt returned the bodies of 39 Israeli soldiers, which were released in exchange for the release of 92 prisoners from its jails.

19- On March 14, 1979, the Litani operation took place between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO's General Command released an Israeli soldier, and Israel, in return, released 76 prisoners from various Palestinian factions, including 12 Palestinian girls.

20- On February 13, 1980, the Israeli occupation government released detainees Mahdi Bseiso "Abu Ali" and William Nassar in exchange for the release of an Arab spy working for the Israeli Mossad.

21- On November 23, 1983, an exchange took place between the Israeli government and Fatah. Israel released all detainees from Ansar prison in southern Lebanon, numbering 4,700 Palestinian and Lebanese detainees, and 65 prisoners from Israeli prisons. In return, Israel received six Israeli soldiers from the Nahal special forces who had been captured by Fatah.

22- On June 26, 1984, Israel received three soldiers and the bodies of five others captured by Syrian soldiers. In return, Israel released 291 Syrian soldiers and 85 Lebanese detainees from the Lebanese National Resistance, as well as 13 Syrian detainees from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, who had been held since 1973 (with the condition that they remain in the occupied Golan). Additionally, 74 other bodies were returned.

23- On May 20, 1985, Israel conducted the Jaleel operation with the PLO - General Command. Israel released 1,155 prisoners, including 883 who were held in various Israeli prisons, 118 who were kidnapped from Ansar prison in southern Lebanon during the 1983 exchange with Fatah, and 154 prisoners transferred from Ansar to Atlit prison. In return, three Israeli soldiers were released by the PLO.

24- On September 11, 1985, Israel released 119 Lebanese detainees from Atlit prison, bringing the total number of released Lebanese detainees since June 4, 1985, to 1,132. This was in exchange for the release of 39 American hostages held by the Islamic Jihad Organization, who had seized them aboard an American Boeing plane belonging to TWA in June of the same year. Militias affiliated with the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army also released 51 Lebanese detainees from Khiam prison. Additionally, Israel returned the remains of nine Hezbollah fighters.

25- In 1991, two exchanges took place between Hezbollah and Israel. The first on January 21, 1991, resulted in the release of 25 detainees from Khiam prison, including two women. The second on September 21, 1991, led to the release of 51 detainees from Khiam prison. In return, Israel received the body of an Israeli soldier held by Hezbollah.

26- On September 13, 1991, Israel received the body of a soldier held by the PLO since 1983. In return, Israel allowed the return of Ali Abdullah Abu Hilal from Abu Dis, who was expelled by Israel in 1986.

27- On October 21, 1991, the Islamic Jihad Movement released Jessie Turner, a math professor at the American University in Beirut, in exchange for Israel releasing 15 Lebanese detainees, including 14 from Khiam prison.

28- On July 21, 1996, Israel received the remains of two soldiers, and in return, Israel released the remains of 132 Lebanese who had died in clashes with Israeli occupation forces. Hezbollah also released 17 soldiers from the South Lebanon Army, and the latter released 45 detainees from Hezbollah Khiam prison. The deal was mediated by the Germans.

29- In 1997, an exchange agreement took place between Jordan and the Israeli government. Jordan released Israeli Mossad agents who had been arrested in Amman after a failed attempt to assassinate Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashal. In return, the Israeli government released Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who had been held since 1989 and was serving a life sentence.

30- On June 26, 1998, the Israeli authorities returned 40 Lebanese bodies and released 60 Lebanese detainees. One of the bodies was the remains of Hadi Nasrallah, the son of Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. In return, Hezbollah handed over the remains of Corporal Itamar Eliya from the Navy's Commando Unit, who was killed along with 11 other Israeli officers

31- In 2003, Israel released the remains of two Hezbollah members, a prelude to the German-mediated release of Colonel Elhanan Tannenbaum, detained by Hezbollah.

32- On January 29, 2004, a deal brokered by Germany saw the release of 462 Palestinian and Lebanese detainees, including prominent Hezbollah figures Sheikh Abdel Karim Obeid and Mustafa Dirani. The agreement also involved the return of the German citizen Stefan Mark, accused of Hezbollah affiliation. In parallel, Israel disclosed the fate of 24 missing Lebanese individuals, handed over minefield maps, and released 431 Palestinians.

In reciprocation, Hezbollah released Colonel Elhanan Tannenbaum and the remains of three Israeli soldiers killed in October 2000.

33- On December 5, 2004, the Egyptian government released Israeli spy Azzam Azzam in exchange for six Egyptian students held by Israel, and on December 28, 2004, Israel released 165 Palestinian detainees.

34- On October 15, 2007, Hezbollah and the Israeli government engaged in a restricted exchange. Israel recovered the body of one of its citizens, while Hezbollah retrieved the bodies of two fighters and a Lebanese citizen.

35- On June 8, 2008, Israel released Nissim Nasser, accused of spying for Hezbollah, in exchange for the remains of four Israeli soldiers killed during the July war.

36- On July 15, 2008, A new deal between Israel and Hezbollah saw the release of Arab prisoner Samir Al-Qantar and four Lebanese prisoners. Additionally, Hezbollah regained 199 bodies held by Israel, known as the "Numbers Cemeteries." Israel later released five Palestinian children, and in return, regained two Israeli soldiers considered dead since July 12, 2006.

37- On October 1, 2009, Israel released 20 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for information about the captive soldier Gilad Shalit. A two-minute video showing his well-being was considered part of larger negotiations.

38- In 2011, Gilad Shalit was released on October 18, with 1,027 prisoners freed in exchange.

39- In 2014, Hamas detained four Israelis, including two soldiers, after the 2014 war. The fate of Hisham al-Sayed and Avraham Mengistu remains undisclosed.

40- On October 7, 2023, In a recent development, Hamas executed "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood," capturing over 240 individuals, both civilians and military personnel, marking a new chapter in the volatile history of regional conflicts.

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