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MOSCOW, October 19 (Itar-Tass) — Russian newspapers broadly covered the exchange of Israeli serviceman Gilad Shalit, who has been held by the Palestinian Hamas group since 2006 for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Analysts offered opposite views.
Despite the euphoria in Israel, the deal with Hamas might become a severe headache for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” the “Kommersant” writes. Inspired by the release of their associates, Palestinian radicals have already announced that the abductions of Israeli soldiers henceforth would become "a strategy of resistance."
Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens welcomed the news that Shalit's five-year trial ended happily, experts believe the deal raises many questions and that it can have far-reaching consequences for Israel, the newspaper stresses. Palestinian radicals drew their own conclusions from the deal. "We began with Shalit, and he is not the last one. The Palestinian resistance will continue the strategy of abductions of Israeli servicemen until complete liberation of all the Palestinian prisoners," said Popular Resistance Committees spokesman Abu Mudjahed. The group participated in the abduction of Gilad Shalit together with Hamas.
Russian experts showed cautious optimism in connection with Shalit's release, the "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" writes. In an interview to the newspaper, Yelena Melkumyan, Professor of modern oriental studies department, faculty of history, political science and law at Russian state university for humanities, pointed out that the exchange had created favorable conditions for settling the issue of stopping the Gaza blockade and further negotiations. "Weakening the blockade was part of the deal. The main thing is that it shows that Israel may reach a compromise even with Hamas radicals, when there is an interest for the parties." The professor added that HAMAS was not homogenous and that it contained both the supporters of use of force and those calling for dialogue. “The political leadership of Hamas has long leaned on the military wing of the organization, but with elections ahead, they need to demonstrate the capability for achieving progress, including through negotiations with the Israelis," she said.