On October 11, 2011, the Israeli government and top Hamas officials confirmed that a deal has been struck between Israel and Hamas that would lead to the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.
Since Shalit's kidnapping in 2006, his parents, Israeli media outlets and celebrities have campaigned for his release. The news about the deal were welcomed by most Israelis, but not all. As Noam Sheizaf and Noa Yachot described on +972 Mag:
Spontaneous celebrations took place at the Shalit family’s protest tent in Jerusalem. Counter-protesters demonstrated outside the tent against the release of Palestinian prisoners “with blood on their hands” – a term denoting those charged with deaths of Israelis.
Israeli tweeps also commented about the identities of some of the Palestinian prisoners set to be released who were convicted of carrying out terror attacks that resulted in the death of Israelis:
מזכירים פה כבר שמות של משוחררים. אין שום ספק שמדובר באוסף נאה של חארות. האלטרנטיבה של להפוך אותו לרון ארד רעה יותר
Other tweeps discussed the results of this release of prisoners:
The deal passed the vote in the Israeli government, with only three ministers voting against it. Dahlia Scheindlin explained on +972 Mag the results of the vote:
In my assessment, the government vote is a pretty good indicator of how the public feels at this moment: 10% against the deal, and the rest – 90% for it.
The public mobilization for Shalit has been massive. There has hardly been a single major public forum that has not been leveraged to call for Shalit’s release.
Due to the public support for the deal, it is seen in Israel as a victory for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who used the opportunity to send a celebratory tweet:
@IsraeliPM: I am bringing #Gilad #Shalit home !
The Israeli twittersphere, however, was not impressed.
Many tweeps saw the Gilat Shalit deal as a ploy to increase Netanyahu's popularity, after it had suffered a significant hit as a result of the #j14 social justice protest movement during the summer.
In a twittersphere known for its cynicism and dark sense of humor, a few Israelis used the news as an opportunity to crack jokes:
Others used the prisoner swap deal to criticize the Israeli government's policies with regards to the Palestinians:
Eyal Niv wrote a critical post on his Blog, Truth from the Land of Israel [he] about Israel's policy with regards to Gaza:
רק דבר אחד לא ניסו. לעצור לרגע ולחשוב, למה בכלל מחזיקים אלפי אסירים פלסטינים בישראל, אם רובם אינם טרוריסטים, וכמה זה עולה למשלם המיסים, והאם זה לא מזמין אלימות בתביעה לצדק. …
ועכשיו שישוחרר, בשעה טובה, יש להוסיף ולשאול עוד – מה הלאה: האם עכשיו יוסרו ההגבלות? יפסיקו את הפגיעה בכלואים הפלסטינים בישראל? המצור? הבידוד מהגדה? הגבלות השיט? החקלאות? הייצוא והייבוא? היתרים לנסוע לחו”ל? לטיפול רפואי? ללימודים? הלוא שליט היה העילה כביכול. אולי צריך לחשוב מחדש: את מי משרת המצור – אותנו או את חמאס?
Only one thing they didn't try. To stop for a minute and think, why are we holding thousands of Palestinians prisoners in Israel, if most of them aren't terrorists, and how much this costs the taxpayers, and does it invite violence [kidnappings] in a demand for justice [release of prisoners]. …
And now that he'll be released, finally, we must also ask – what's next? Will now the restrictions [on Gaza] be lifted? Will now they stop punishing the Palestinians incarcerated in Israel? The siege [of Gaza]? The isolation [of Gaza] from the West Bank? The fishing limitations? The agriculture? The export and import? The permission to travel abroad? [The permission] to get medical treatment? [The permission] to study [abroad]? Shalit, after, was the excuse for this. Maybe we need to rethink, whom does the siege serve -us or Hamas?