Timeline: 1934 Days In Captivity – From Gilad Shalit’s Abduction To A Prisoner Swap Deal


shalitSeptember 2006

Reports emerge from Israel and the Palestinians of progress in negotiations for Shalit’s release. IDF arrests dozens of Hamas leaders in the West Bank which Hamas says are to be used as “bargaining chips” in a future deal for his release

October 2006
A Qatari proposal for a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal includes a Palestinian unity government that would free Shalit

December 2006
Noam Shalit releases a letter to his son in the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, which is published in Jerusalem. “Our son Gilad, stay strong, dont break”

January 2007
Hamas senior officials say there has been significant progress in contacts on a prisoner swap, involving then Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman

August 2007
After a six week freeze, negotiations between Israel and Hamas are renewed, with Egyptian mediation. Four months later, in the wake of a new Hamas proposal, a row breaks out between Israeli negotiator Ofer Dekel and Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin over the release of prisoners “with blood on their hands.”

June 2007
Shalit’s captors release an audio tapoe in the which the soldier is heard begging the Israeli govermnetn to bring him home

April 2008
Hamas poltical leader Khaled Meshal is alive and being well looked after. In June of the same year, on the eve of a Hamas-Israeli agreement to calm tensions, the Shalit family petitions the High Court against it, but the petition is rejected.

June 2008
The Shalit family receives the last of three letters from Gilad, who has not been permitted a visit by the Red Cross.

December 2008
Israel launches Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. At the end of the fighting some three weeks later, the Shalit family receives word via a French mediator that Gilad is still alive.

February 2009
The Israeli cabinet agrees to condition the opening of the crossings into Gaza on Gilad’s release. Several days later, Israel hands Hamas a new list of prisoners it is willing to exchange for the soldier, which Hamas rejects.

March 2009
To mark Gilad’s 1000th day in captivity, the Shalit family moves into a protest tent opposite the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem. The government headed by Ehud Olmert again fails to reach a deal, despite last ditch efforts. A statement released by Hamas following the breakdown in talks claims that Israel had “cold feet.” Israel counters by claiming that Hamas “toughened its stance and went back on understandings reached during the last year and made extreme demands.”

June 16, 2009
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter gives Hamas a letter for Gilad from his family. Following his meeting with Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh Carter says he received the impression that Gilad was alive and well.

October 2009
A video recording is released in which Shalit appeals his family and the PM to free him from Hamas captivity.

December 2009
Top ministers, known as Forum of Seven, convene to discuss draft Shalit deal. Shalit family protests in front of Prime Minister’s Office, but the meeting ends without any results.

April 2010
Noam Shalit sends a personal message to Hamas chief Khaled Meshal asking him to approve Israel’s latest offer.

May 2010
Hamas deputy chief Mousa Abu Marzuk accuses the German mediator of hiding details from Hamas and of bias. He announces a freeze in continued talks, blaming Israel for the halt.

Four years following Shalit’s capture his family embarks on a massive march from their home in Mitzpe Hila to Jerusalem. Thousands of people accompany the family members.

Netanyahu, addressing widening protest, warned of repeating past errors in regards to prisoner exchange deals, saying: “Israel is willing to pay a heavy price for Gilad Shalit’s release. But it cannot say: ‘At any price.’ That is the truth and I’m saying it here.”

April 2011
Top Shalit negotiator Ofer Deke is replaced by Haggai Hadas.

June 2011
Netanyahu says he intends to pressure Hamas prisoners and that “the party is over for terrorists in Israeli prisons.”

July 2011
In a rally marking five years since Shalit was taken captive, Shalit family members criticize Netanyahu for the lack of negotiations progress. “The damage which Netanyahu is doing to Israel by not saving the soldier Gilad Shalit is greater than an injury to national morale.”\

August 2011
Media reports claim Meshal arrived in Cairo to discuss the Shalit deal, without any significant breakthrough. The sides are reportedly bridging the gap between their respective demands.

October 2011
Netanyahu: Shalit will be home in a matter of days.

{Haaretz/Matzav.com Newscenter}