Prisoner Swap

The headlines today are full of the prisoner exchange between Israel and the Palestinians. But behind the names there is a story and there are emotions you might not expect.

Part One of The Current


It's Tuesday, October 18th.

A Montreal man is finally home after an 11-year, 75,000 km walk around the world to raise awareness about children who face violence.

Currently, he has some competitive friends who say they could have walked it in ten.

This is The Current.

Prisoner Swap - Arnold Roth

We started this segment with the sounds of celebrations among Palestinians. The first of what will be a thousand Palestinian prisoners are being released from Israeli prison as part of a swap for one Israeli soldier. Sgt. First Class Gilad Shalit had been held by Hamas since he was taken in a cross border raid near Gaza in 2006.

Today, the complex deal to secure his freedom began. Sgt. Shalit was handed over through Egyptian officials because Egypt helped broker the deal. By the end of the day, more than 450 Palestinians will have been freed - some to return to Gaza or the West Bank, others to be exiled. The remainder will be released in the coming months.

Polls suggest most Israelis approve of this swap but they also show concern that some of those freed could return to violence. And there is sadness and anger as some families watch the killers of their loved ones released long before their sentences would have run out.

Arnold Roth's daughter Malka was 15 when she was killed in a 2001 suicide bombing, which left a total of 15 dead and 130 injured. A woman named Ahlam Tamimi was sentenced to 16 life sentences for her role in orchestrating that suicide attack. The Palestinian has served 11 years in prison, but under this prisoner exchange deal, she is being released and deported to Jordan.

Arnold Roth had been lobbying the government to take Ahlam Tamimi's name off the release list. Late yesterday, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled the prison swap was a political decision and it had no jurisdiction. Arnold Roth was in Jerusalem.

Prisoner Swap - Robi Damelin

Robi Damelin's son David was in the Israeli army reserve in 2002, manning a checkpoint near a West Bank settlement when a Palestinian sniper killed him and 9 others. A man named Ta'er Hamad received 11 life sentences for that attack.

Robi Damelin thought Ta'er Hamad would also be freed today and struggled with that all weekend only to learn today that her son's killer will stay in jail. Robi Damelin was at her home in Tel Aviv.

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