Wednesday’s newspapers are euphoric about the prisoner swap between Israel and Palestine.
Gulf News said 477 Palestinian prisoners were released by Israeli authorities in the landmark deal that also saw the return of Gilad Shalit, the detained Israeli soldier who spent five years under Hamas’ captivity.
“I hope this deal will promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” Khaleej Times quoted the Israeli soldier as saying. The paper noted that thousand-for-one prisoner exchange brought joy to families but did little to ease decades of conflict.
The National gave details of emotional celebrations, singing and dancing in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank soon after Palestinian detainees were freed from Israeli jails in the first stage of landmark deal. “The people want a new Gilad!” the paper’s foreign correspondent reported crowds as chanting indicating their desire to obtain the release of more than 4,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails.
REGIONAL ROUND UP
Khaleej Times reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed unannounced in Libyan capital and pledged millions of dollars in new aid. The paper quoted US officials as saying that the fresh aid totals about $11 million and will boost Washington’s contribution since the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi began to $135 million.
Meanwhile, Gulf News quoted Syrian Observatory for Human Rights sources which claimed Syrian forces carried out the fiercest raids to date. Reports said snipers have taken positions in villages around Damascus as security forces hunt down army deserters.
The National reported the deaths of 11 Yemeni protestors killed by policemen and security officers in plain clothes in Sanaa.
Both Gulf News and Khaleej Times have discussed the significance of the prisoner-swap between Israel and Hamas.
Gulf News editorial said the prisoner swap between the Israelis and Hamas was not a humanitarian gesture by either side but a political one. “Their release could have happened at any time, but the present moment suited both sides for their own political advantage,” the editor insisted while adding that Palestinian Authority’s going to the UN put pressure on both Israel and Hamas. “The Israelis are pumping out their lies with great fluency,” the editorial alleged while condemning the recent statements issued by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Praising Hamas for the initiatives they’ve taken to reconcile with Fatah, the editor concluded that the release of Shalit allows the Islamist movement to enter a wider field of regional politics outside the narrow confines of Gaza, which may well suit them over the next 12 months.
Khaleej Times editorial noted that the prisoner-swap deal is Hamas’ moment for now which the Islamist movement has decided to share with its rivals, sending a clear message of unity and strength among the Palestinian leadership.”The region?s changed political dynamics makes it imperative for Israel to reconsider its policy and reassess its security priorities,” the editor explained while hoping the Zionist state can move beyond its self-drawn constricting parameters and policies that are deterrent to lasting peace and stability.
By Moign Khawaja ~ Editor – Arabian Gazette