A poll released today by the Rafi Smith polling company on behalf of the campaign to release Gilad Shalit and published in Haaretz newspaper shows that a majority of the Israeli public, 63%, believes 1,000 Palestinian prisoners should be swapped in a prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit.
Those polled were asked ‘do you support or oppose a deal to free Gilad Shalit in exchange for the release of 450 prisoners, some of whom have blood on their hands, to their homes, along with another 550 more minor offenders of Israel’s choosing, who will be released after Gilad comes home?’
63% of the 600 polled agreed with the deal while 19% opposed and 18% expressed no opinion. The deal showed a greater support among those who classify themselves as left wing, among secular Jews and among those with a higher income.
Shalit was captured in 2006 by Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, during a raid from Gaza using underground tunnels. He has been refused visitation by the Red Cross or visitation rights given fears they will expose his whereabouts in Gaza to the Israeli military.
Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza in response to Shalit’s capture.
There is a large degree of public pressure in Israel on the government to secure the Israeli soldiers release.
Gilad Shalit is the only Israeli military captive held by Palestinian forces. Israel holds 6,000 to 7,000 Palestinian prisoners, many of them minors, often held without charge under administrative detention.