More than a thousand Palestinian prisoners found freedom when Hamas released a single Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, at the end of 2011. Hundreds of them headed to Gaza, even though many had never lived there before. A few weeks after their return, our reporter found out what became of three of these former prisoners.
Last year, on October 18th, scenes of joy broke out in Israel but also in the Palestinian territories, and in Gaza in particular. Israelis and Palestinians were celebrating a historic swap agreement: one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, was freed in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Benjamin Netanyahu's government had finally come to an agreement with its arch-enemy Hamas, which had been holding the young soldier for more than five years.
The deal thrilled many, but it also shocked and angered others within Israel because of its disproportionate nature - 1,000 for 1 - and also because some of the detainees who were about to be freed had "Israeli blood on their hands." That was the expression used by those who opposed the deal, arguing that some of the prisoners would go back to the activities for which they had been arrested in the first place.
We decided to head to Gaza to follow three of these released inmates, all of whom had been sentenced to life in jail by the Israeli justice system.