According to a report in Israeli media sourced only from anonymous Israeli government sources, the Palestinian government led by the Hamas party may accept a plan by the Israeli government to exile 123 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in prison camps.The banishment of these prisoners from their homes in the West Bank would be within the framework of a large-scale prisoner swap in which up to 1,000 imprisoned Palestinians would be released in exchange for the one Israeli soldier who is being held prisoner by the Palestinian resistance (over 7,000 Palestinians are currently being held by Israeli authorities in prison camps, while just 1 Israeli is held prisoner by Palestinians).
According to the anonymous source reporting to Israeli newspapers, most of the 123 ‘banished’ prisoners would be exiled to the Gaza Strip, while a few would be sent to Arab countries or to Europe. They would never be allowed to return to their homes in the West Bank.
In addition, Israeli authorities have refused to budge on the release of certain key leaders of the Palestinian resistance, including senior members of the Hamas party, and Marwan Barghouthi, the founder of the armed wing of the Fateh party. Critics say that the charges against Barghouthi were never proven, but he continues to be held for political reasons, as his release would likely result in a run for President that could challenge the Israeli-supported Fateh leader Mahmoud Abbas.
During the 2006 Palestinian Presidential elections, Barghouthi was the leading candidate until he dropped out of the race before the election.