At a rally organized in Gaza City on Monday commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, a number of activists and former prisoners vowed that Palestinian resistance movements would capture more Israeli soldiers until all Palestinian political prisoners were freed from Israeli custody.
Monday’s rally, organized by the Hamas movement, was held in front of the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and was attended by officials of various political movements along with former prisoners who were freed as a result of the deal.
One of the prisoners freed in the exchange, Iyad Abu Fnoun, directed a message to Palestinians incarcerated by Israel, assuring them that they had not been forgotten.
He argued that Palestinian prisoners could only be freed by force, saying that “what was taken by force, can only be restored by force.”
He said that the message of the resistance was the same message delivered by Misbah Abu Sbeih, Muhammad Faqih, and Muhannad Shafiq Halabi, three Palestinians who were all killed by Israeli soldiers or police after carrying out or allegedly carrying out deadly attacks against Israelis over the past year.
The first phase of the Shalit prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel was carried out on October, 18, 2011, when Israel released 477 Palestinian detainees in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive by Hamas for five years.
The deal was completed in December 2011, when 550 further Palestinian detainees were released from Israeli prisons.
However, since their release, Israel has initiated mass detention campaigns to bring hundreds of former prisoners released in the exchange back into Israeli custody, in violation of the agreement.