The declaration of a humanitarian ceasefire in the ongoing Gaza Strip conflict has shifted focus towards discussions of hostage exchange agreements between Israel and Palestinian factions.
The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared early Wednesday the success of joint mediation efforts with Egypt and the United States between Israel and Hamas. This resulted in a pause agreement that included the exchange of 50 Israeli prisoners, including civilian women and children from Gaza, in the first phase. In return, 150 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons will be released.
According to the deal, the number of those released will increase in subsequent stages of the deal.
On Oct. 7, Hamas captured 239 Israelis, including high-ranking military personnel, intending to exchange them for over 7,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Since then, the Israeli military has waged a devastating war on Gaza, resulting in over 14,128 Palestinian fatalities, including 5,840 children and 3,920 women, and over 33,000 injuries, 75% of which are children and women, according to the Gaza government’s media office.
Hamas and other Palestinian resistance factions claim to have enough prisoners to “empty Israeli prisons of all Palestinian detainees.” The Palestinian Prisoners Club data indicates that Israel holds approximately 7,000 prisoners, including 200 children, 78 women, and hundreds of sick and injured individuals.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, Israel has arrested 3,000 Palestinians since Oct.7, only in the West Bank.
Since the establishment of the state of Israel on occupied Palestinian land in 1948, Palestinians and Arab governments have sought to free the largest number of prisoners from Israeli jails.
Hostage swap deals have been the most common and effective means throughout the conflict. The following highlights the top 10 hostage swap deals between Palestinian factions and Israel from 1968 to 2011.