[JURIST] Israel is reviewing the names of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners that Palestinian militants have demanded freed in exchange for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit [Times backgrounder; JURIST news archive], Israeli officials said Sunday. Shalit was captured in Gaza [JURIST report] on June 25, and his detention helped spark the latest round of violence [JURIST news archive] in the region over the summer. Palestinian militants have demanded the large scale release of Palestinian prisoners from the beginning but negotiations have not been successful to date. In November 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [official website; BBC profile] said that Israel was willing to release many Palestinian prisoners [speech transcript; JURIST report], even long-term detainees, in exchange for Shalit's freedom. Israel says Shalit's release is a precondition to any serious peace negotiations. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile] said last week that he believed Shalit would be freed soon.
The Israel Defense Forces said in July 2006 it would support a deal to release some Palestinian prisoners [JURIST report] in exchange for Shalit, and Egyptian negotiators have also been involved [JURIST report] in prisoner trade talks. The Boston Globe has more.