Mid-East prisoner swap: Your reaction

Writing on wall of Gilad Shalit's family protest tent Gilad Shalit has been held hostage for five years

Israel and Hamas have agreed a deal for the release of Sgt Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held hostage by Palestinian militants for five years.

Israel will release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange.

Israelis and Palestinians have been contacting the BBC with their reaction to the news:

Gila, Beit Shemesh, Israel

I've been following this story, it has caught the popular imagination here in Israel.

This is a really difficult case. Obviously if I was in the family's shoes I would be trying to get Gilad Shalit back at all costs.

There has been huge pressure on the government to get him back and the family have kept up the momentum.

Whenever anything happens in Israel it is usual that someone will know someone else who's involved, so it's understandable that people here feel close to this case.

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I think this decision could provoke similar attacks”

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However I feel that the focus is wrong.

This person has been taken hostage, kept without visits from the Red Cross, kept without access to family and friends. This sort of wrongdoing should be punished, not rewarded with the release of 1,000 prisoners.

The conditions he has been held in violate all norms of international law. Why has there not been more of an international outcry against this?

You also have to think of justice being done to the families of the victims of terrorist outrages. What will they feel to hear that all these people have been freed?

I think this decision could provoke similar attacks.

As to the balance of numbers, I would say that life is very important in the Jewish religion. A Jew should only give up his life rather than commit blasphemy, adultery or murder.

Apart from this, we would do anything to preserve life.

I do not believe this is the case in the Muslim religion.

I think the popular opinion here in Israel will differ on this matter. I'm sure there will be other people who feel the same way as me. The most important issue, I think, is what message will this release give?

Mohamed Al Sharif, aid worker, Gaza City

This is great news for everyone. Out of 11,000 Palestinian prisoners still held in Israel, we are getting 1,000 back.

This is happy news for everyone - especially for the mothers and fathers who will have their children back.

I think this is a step in the right direction and I hope there will be more releases to come.

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When we heard the news yesterday people started celebrating”

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I know that there is a disparity between the numbers released, but you can't compare the two figures.

The nature of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis means that many more Palestinians have been imprisoned than vice versa.

This swap reflects the nature of the power struggle between the two nations and shows who is occupying whom, who is imprisoning whom.

However this is certainly not a sign that relations between the two countries will improve.

The media is reporting that this has been brought about by internal politics - both sides are trying to increase their popularity. Luckily innocent people will benefit.

When we heard the news yesterday people started celebrating. You could hear the sound of people on the street. There was a sense of achievement everywhere.

Regardless of the political agendas, all Israelis and Palestinians would like to have their children back at home.

So I hope that more prisoners will be released. How this might happen, I can't imagine, but that is what every Palestinian wishes and dreams.

More of your comments

First I would like to say that this deal is a huge victory not only for the Palestinians but also for free people all over the world. There are about 9,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, so it is not enough for us Palestinians to stop here. The rest of the prisoners must be released. Tens of years of negotiations have achieved nothing but more settlements, prisoners and war. However five years of negotiations have achieved an enormous achievement for people who have never dreamed for a while to see the Gaza sea and sun. To be honest, what was taken by force does not come back by peace. Ali, Gaza

You did not name one Palestinian prisoner, yet you name the lone Israeli prisoner, his parents, siblings, girlfriend etc. Why not put a human face on Palestinian prisoners too? Are they not human? Don't they have families? Keep in mind that Palestinian prisoners are mostly prisoners of conscience, while Shalit is a volunteer soldier who willingly signed up to serve his government. Ahmed Abutayeh, Kafr Sur, West Bank

Hundreds of Palestinians died due to the Israeli retaliation after Shalit was captured by Hamas. It is good deal, God willing, although the Palestinians have paid very dearly. Ali T Masri, Nablus

While I am happy that Shalit is being released I find the picture a bit lopsided as usual. Now I would like to see Netanyahu become more imaginative and begin moves or initiate strategies toward peace with Hamas in the image of Sadat and Begin or Rabin and Housein etc or does he feel his image and political position would be in jeopardy? Robert Menzies, Ashkelon, Israel

I am delighted about the liberation of Gilad Shalit - though will not be celebrating until we actually see him in the flesh - but am devastated that his return needs to come at the cost of my own personal security and that of other Israelis. I will not feel safe knowing that over 1,000 people, most of whom have blood on their hands and the rest being suspects, will now be back in Gaza and the West Bank, ready to strike again. As much as I wish this exchange were a genuine step towards peace, I know that Hamas sees this as a first step towards their ultimate goal - the complete annihilation of Israel, as they say themselves. Tamar, Jerusalem, Israel

I think it is very important to mention that these Palestinians are not just ordinary citizens in Gaza. In these 1,000 prisoners there are some of the most dangerous and deadly terrorists Israel and some of the other western countries can know. This deal was necessary. The peace process is necessary, but this is not a day to celebrate in the streets. Not Israelis and not Palestinians. Jonathan, Israel

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