Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Learn about the most important prisoner exchange agreements between Israel and the Palestinians


The imminent prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas has brought back to the fore several previous prisoner exchange deals between Palestinians and Israelis. According to a report produced by the Arab World News Agency, it is still…

Some of the details of these agreements are etched in the minds of many who have grown old. They remember Laila Khaled, who tried to hijack an Israeli airliner, and they remember Operation “Nowraz,” which freed dozens of Palestinian prisoners. In exchange for the release of an Israeli soldier, many more actions and agreements.

Below are some of the key events that have led to exchange agreements between Palestinians and Israelis since the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem in 1967:

El Al plane hijacking

In July 1968, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine shot down an Israeli El Al plane, Flight no. Kidnapped 426. The Boeing 707 was carrying about 100 passengers, including several Israelis, when it took off from the airport. From Heathrow in London to Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome and then to Lod Airport in Israel (now Ben Gurion Airport).

An Israeli plane owned by El Al Airlines (Archive – Reuters)

The plane was hijacked and diverted to Algeria.

Later, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine released hostages and Israel released 37 Palestinian women with high sentences through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Laila Khaled

After the success of the first hijacking, the “Popular Front” repeated the same experience in August 1969, and initially the American TWA flight from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, Flight No. Succeeded in hijacking 840.

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As the plane was flying over the Mediterranean Sea near Greece, Palestinian Leila Khalid, a member of the Popular Front, entered the cockpit, took the pilot’s headset and pointed to the control tower, “Here is the front of the Popular Front…Palestine is free and Arab,” ordering the commander to go to Palestine.

Laila Khaled (Archive – Reuters)

Upon entering Israeli airspace, Israeli fighters moved in and surrounded the plane, so the hijackers decided to send it to the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The Popular Front succeeded in freeing several prisoners from Israeli prisons, including two Syrian pilots forced to make an emergency landing in Israel the previous year as a result of a navigational error.

Despite this agreement, Syrian authorities arrested Laila Khalid, then released her several months later. He traveled to Jordan and from there to Germany, where he underwent facial plastic surgery to avoid being identified. Another El Al plane was hijacked there. Between Amsterdam and New York in September 1970, the operation ended with her arrest again.

The Popular Front decided to release Laila Khaled, so it planned another hijacking, but this time it was of a British national. It succeeded in taking the plane to Lebanon, eventually leading to Laila Khaled’s release.

Shmuel Fayez Agreement

In 1969, the Fatah movement succeeded in kidnapping Israeli soldier Shmuel Fayez, and after nearly two years of negotiations, the movement reached an exchange agreement with Israel, which was implemented in January 1971, under which Israel released Palestinian Mahmoud Hijazi. “Fatah” movement, Fatah released the Israeli soldier.

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“Nowras” agreement

In April 1978, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command succeeded in capturing Israeli soldier Abraham Amram in an operation known as “Operation Litani”.

At that time the Palestinian Liberation Organization led by Yasser Arafat entered into negotiations with the Israeli side. To broker an exchange, the “Seagull Deal” was eventually initiated in January 1979, under which the Popular Front – General Command released an Israeli soldier and Israel released 76 Palestinian prisoners.

Mossad spy

Almost a year later, in February 1980, the Red Cross reached an exchange agreement between Israel and the Fatah movement that had been demanding the release of Palestinian Mahdi Bizizo.

At the time, Fatah detained Amina al-Mubti, a Jordanian woman who claimed to be a spy for the Israeli Mossad. After intensive negotiations through the Red Cross, Fatah released the girl, and Israel released Bisso.

Key transfer

In November 1983, Fatah succeeded in passing a transfer agreement, considered a “great treasure”, in which Israel released 4,700 Palestinians and Lebanese held in “Ansar” prisons built in southern Lebanon during the Israeli occupation. Dozens of Israeli prisons were liberated. In return, Fatah released 6 captured Israeli soldiers in September 1982.

Popular Front and Operation Galilee

The “Popular Front” again succeeded in abducting three Israeli soldiers and then considered it had a “priceless catch” on its hands. Negotiations began with the Israeli side to conclude an exchange agreement that actually ended in May 1985, at which time Israel released 1,155 Arab prisoners.

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Assassination attempt on Khaled Mashal

In 1997, Jordanian security discovered that Khaled Meshaal, the head of the political bureau of the Hamas movement, was the subject of a poisoning attempt on Jordanian soil. Jordanian security forces arrested members of the Israeli Mossad who participated in the operation.

Khaled Mishal (Archive – Reuters)

A media frenzy ensued, and Jordan refused to release the Mossad members without paying a price.

Jordan forced Israel to send an antidote to save Meshaal’s life, and Hamas’s spiritual leader, Ahmed Yassin, was also released from Israeli prisons.

Shalit Agreement

In June 2006, Hamas succeeded in kidnapping Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on the Gaza border. Hamas promised at the time that it had a “valuable catch”.

Although Israel was waging war in the Gaza Strip at the time, it was unable to reach Shalit’s detention center and was forced to engage in exchange negotiations with Hamas that lasted for 5 years. In the end, the movement released Shalit in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, and Hamas called the deal the “loyalty of freedom.”

Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
"Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert."

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