Why Israelis believe one soldier is worth 1,000 Palestinian prisoners

Israel is freeing more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including hundreds serving life sentences for attacks on Israelis, in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was captured by Hamas in 2006. How and why has the controversial deal come about?

Why is Shalit considered important enough by the Israelis to be exchanged for so many Palestinian prisoners?

Militants captured the young sergeant in June 2006 after tunneling into the Jewish state and attacking an Israeli army outpost. Israel immediately launched a military incursion into Gaza to rescue Shalit, then 19, but failed to free him.

As the Israeli attacks continued, the Palestinians death toll steadily grew -- hundreds killed, many militants, but also, according to Palestinian sources, innocent men women and children.

Shalit's captors, affiliated with the Islamic Hamas government, demanded a prisoner swap, but the Israeli government said no -- at least in public.

Since then, he has been held incommunicado by Hamas, which controls Gaza.

Efforts to free him have become a rallying cry for thousands of Israelis who have urged the government to secure his release. Shalit's supporters feared that if a deal was not reached soon, his fate could be similar to that of Israeli Air Force Navigator Ron Arad, who crashed his warplane in Lebanon 25 years ago. He was captured by a local Shiite Amal militia and later handed over to Hezbollah, Shiite militants strongly influenced by Iran and now in de facto control of Lebanon.
Prisoner swap deal stirs up debate

Despite reported attempts to negotiate his return, Israel failed to free Arad and the trail went cold. Over the years he became a symbol of the failure of successive Israeli governments to strike a deal that would bring him back alive. In June 2008 Hezbollah announced Arad was dead.
Gaza prepares to receive prisoners

Who are the Palestinians being freed by Israel?
Outrage over prisoner exchange

Israel Monday announced it will release 1,027 prisoners and it identified the first 477 to be freed Tuesday. The group includes two prominent female prisoners: Ahlam Tamimi, serving life terms for being an accomplice in the 2001 bombing of a Sbarro pizza restaurant that killed 15 people; and Amneh Muna, who plotted the killing of a 16-year-old Israeli boy in 2001 and received a life sentence. Twenty-five other women will also be freed.
Gilad Shalit to be freed

The most notable name not on the list is that of jailed Palestinian lawmaker Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences for murder and other charges related to his role in planning attacks on Israelis during the second Intifada.

He had been considered by many Palestinians the most important prisoner who might have been released in exchange for Shalit.

How will the handover take place?
Mixed emotions on Israel, Hamas deal

The first swap is expected to take place Tuesday, with a second stage scheduled for later this year. Israel's Prisons Authority said the Palestinians on the list will be taken to two facilities -- one for the 27 women, the rest for the men -- from which the process of their release will begin.

Once freed, they will be under various restrictions on a case-by-case basis: Some will not be allowed to leave the country, while others will have restrictions on their movement or be required to report their whereabouts to local police according to Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe Cohen.

Shalit, meanwhile, will be transferred back into Israeli territory via the Kerem Shalom border crossing and will undergo medical tests and debriefing at an air force base, the Israeli military said.

Once that is complete, he will be flown to his home at Mitzpe Hila, north of Haifa.

Why is this happening now?

Speaking to his Cabinet this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that with so much change sweeping the region, he did not know whether a better deal for Shalit was possible, and warned that he didn't act during this window of opportunity, it could close indefinitely.

It represented a vast change in outlook and rhetoric for the combative prime minister, who seems to have calculated that a softer approach was the more politically expedient road to follow.

Whether it was the prospect of going down in history as the Israeli leader who missed the chance to free Shalit, the calculation of larger geopolitical changes in the region, or a mere reflection of public sentiment, Netanyahu has chosen a path that has taken him away from much of what he has spent decades preaching.

The Hamas rulers of Gaza also felt pressure to make the deal now. The rival Palestinian Authority that governs parts of the West Bank is enjoying increased popularity following its recent United Nations bid for recognition of an independent state and a large scale prisoner release was seen by many in Hamas as a way of seizing back the political initiative. Hamas is also contemplating moving its headquarters out of Damascus and concluding the Shalit deal would make it easier to negotiate a possible relocation to Cairo with the post-Mubarak Egyptian government.

What is the reaction in Israel and the Palestinian territories?

The deal to free Shalit was backed by a commanding Israeli Cabinet majority of 26-3 and enjoys wide support from the Israeli public, but there was extensive debate about whether so many Palestinian prisoners should be freed.
Any movement in the stalled peace process might be enough to get the wheels of this heavy cart out of the rut in which it is trapped.
Ronald W. Zweig

Families of victims of terror, as well as some members of the Israeli government, have expressed fierce opposition to the deal. One minister who voted against the agreement called it "a great victory for terrorism," and there are fears that the release of convicted murderers will lead to further attacks on Israeli civilians -- a fear that, critics say, is borne out by statistics. According to the Israeli association of terror victims, Almagor, 180 Israelis have lost their lives to terrorists freed in previous deals since 2000.

For Palestinians the issue of prisoners in Israeli prisons cuts deep. For several decades human rights groups estimate that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have spent time in Israeli prisons for a wide range of alleged crimes. In many cases Palestinians face incarceration without any formal charges, and children under the age of 18 are frequently detained for offenses like rock-throwing. Most Palestinians see these inmates and those convicted of violent crimes against Israeli citizens as political prisoners detained within the course of an ongoing liberation struggle.

Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza welcomed the prospect of so many prisoners being released but there are reservations about the conditions requiring many of them to be exiled from their homeland.

One Palestinian in Ramallah told CNN, "If I was a prisoner and I am released, I need to go to my family, my country, to my city. Why send me to Turkey or Venezuela whatever -- why?"

How will this affect the peace process?

Israelis are equally split on whether "the release of terrorists" will harm Israeli security, with 50% saying Yes and 48% saying No -- a statistical deadlock given the margin of error for the number of people polled.

One expert, Ronald W. Zweig, the Taub Professor of Israel Studies at New York University, said the deal showed that both sides had made concessions. "And that is a sign of hope."

"Pessimists will point to the dangers of rewarding terror -- both the terror of those released from jail and the act of kidnapping Israelis to have future terrorists released. Cynics will ask if Israel's willingness to conclude the deal was not an attempt to punish (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud) Abbas for pushing ahead with his policies in the U.N., despite Israeli and American opposition," Zweig wrote in a recent commentary for CNN.

"But there are other considerations which give grounds for optimism. Any movement in the stalled peace process might be enough to get the wheels of this heavy cart out of the rut in which it is trapped. It appears that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a role in the final deal, perhaps indicating a return of Turkey to constructive dealing with Israel. And the fact that Israel and Hamas have talked -- albeit indirectly -- is a welcome development. Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza might have had more positive long-term effect had this channel of communication been used then.

"Even more significant, the release of these prisoners removes a major obstacle from any future peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians."

CNN's Jerusalem Bureau Chief Kevin Flower and Guy Azriel contributed to this report

KCSE 2011 Exams Starts as Exam Chiefs Monotors Six Sheating ‘hot spots’

The national examiner has identified six regions it says have a likelihood of cheating in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education tests, which start Tuesday morning.

Knec chief executive Paul Wasanga told reporters in Nairobi that security officials had spotted some exam centres in Nairobi, Eastern, North Eastern, Rift Valley, Coast and Nyanza with “preparedness to commit irregularities”.

Mr Wasanga said officials will be more vigilant to make sure cheating does not occur.

“The government has assigned the council enough security personnel to monitor the Knec examination processes and officers involved in its administration,” he said.

Knec said some of these areas were noted as far back as July when a suspect was caught soliciting money, claiming he could provide exam papers.

“A teacher was arrested in July by anti-corruption police officers in Garissa after he asked a candidate for money so that he can be assisted with genuine examination materials. The teacher was charged in an anti-corruption court in Embu,” Mr Wasanga said.

The council could not reveal the exact centres, but said they were in Malindi, Lamu, Wajir, Marsabit, Moyale, Meru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Nakuru and Nairobi.

In Nakuru, Knec warned the public to beware of a man said to be peddling fake exam papers.

“Cheating is as old as history itself and the public should understand that it is the business of us all to eliminate it,” he said.

Cheating has been a major challenge in guaranteeing the credibility of national exams. Normally, Knec cancels the results of the cheats.

However, in the 2010 KCSE exam, the government announced that the vice had declined significantly from 1,711 cases in 2009 to 534.

This had followed a government directive to ban cheats from re-sitting the exam until after two years. The ban was later lifted after intense lobbying.

On Monday, the Anti-Corruption Steering Committee announced that it would start educating the public to equate cheating with corruption.

The committee’s chair, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, told reporters: “We can never find a better assessment of learning than through examinations. But we have to find a credible way of conducting them without cheating.”

This year, 413,177 candidates who joined high school shortly after the post-election violence in 2008, will sit the exams.

Source Nation Media

Ali meets Ocampo today | ICC Trials at the Hegue

Maj-Gen Ali would be the sixth suppose from the Kenyan event for the International Criminal Court  (ICC) for taking this have.
Deputy Primary Minister Uhuru Kenyatta in addition to Scalp connected with Open Services Francis Muthaura testified a couple weeks ago

Eldoret To the north MP William Ruto, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey in addition to airwaves presenter Joshua Sang shown up prior to a family court judges beginning past thirty days.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo states of which Maj-Gen Ali, who's going to be struggling with this less accusation of being some sort of co-perpetrator on the violations next to the human race, seemed to be carrying out an insurance policy hatched by means of Mr Kenyatta in addition to Mr Muthaura to help keep PNU’s hold on electric power at all cost.

Maj-Gen (Rtd) Ali will show witnesses who were from the dense connected with steps with a lot of the 'hang-outs' on the post-election physical violence to help difficult task states of which police force were being within guidance not to ever affect this Mungiki reprisal violence.

“The prosecution will probably make use of this accounts connected with various witnesses, public federal studies in addition to studies connected with separate people proper rights communities, ” claimed prosecution law firm Adesola Adeboyejo over the launching.

This prosecutor states which the ex- police force fundamental brought towards commission rate connected with violations within a three-fold approach.

Primary, that she commanded safety measures aids that had been within his or her management not to ever stop this mobility on the Mungiki in addition to pro-PNU childhood into your Rift Valley with getting ready with the violence next to understood ODM fans with Naivasha in addition to Nakuru.

Minute, that she ascertained which the police force respond to this violence seemed to be substandard.
Finally, that she never public court or maybe set off this prosecution connected with from any of the key perpetrators on the violence with Naivasha in addition to Nakuru.

With his or her support, Maj-Gen Ali will likely be confident to demonstrate that she was a student in whole management on the police force in addition to wouldn't carry guidance by everyone. This prosecution argues which the police force commissioner had taken guidance by Mr Muthaura.

Top 32 Hotels in Nairobi, Kenya.

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Top 23 Hotels in Mombasa

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