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Copyright 2004 Jerusalem Post
January 25

HEADLINE: History of Arab-Israeli prisoner swaps


Israel has carried out many prisoner swaps with Arab countries since declaring independence in 1948, almost always giving more prisoners and bodies than it got in return. Here is a list, according to the Israel Defense Forces, of some major prisoner exchanges.

1948 War of Independence: Israel exchanges thousands of prisoners for 885 Israelis captured by various Arab countries.

1956 Sinai campaign in Egypt: Israel captures 5,500 Egyptian soldiers. Two months later, Israel trades all the Egyptian soldiers for four Israeli soldiers.

1967 Six Day War: Fifteen Israeli soldiers are taken prisoner by Arab countries. Israel trades 428 Jordanians and 572 Syrians in subsequent exchanges. In one instance, Jordan fills two coffins with dirt; the two soldiers who were supposed to be in there remain unaccounted for.

1973 Yom Kippur War: Arab countries capture 314 Israeli soldiers, while Israel takes about 9,000 Arab soldiers. Prisoner exchanges take place in November 1973.

November 1983: Israel releases 4,765 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for six soldiers held by Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction.

June 1984: Israel gives Syria 291 soldiers, 13 civilians and the bodies of 74 soldiers in exchange for three soldiers, three civilians and the bodies of five other soldiers.

May 1985: Israel releases 1,150 Arab prisoners in exchange for three soldiers captured in Lebanon in 1982.

August 2003: Israel hands over the bodies of two Hizbullah guerrillas in a goodwill gesture as German mediators negotiate a larger swap between the sides.

January 2004: Israel and Hizbullah reach agreement on exchanging an Israeli businessman for 400 Palestinians, 23 Lebanese, five Syrians, three Moroccans, three Sudanese, one Libyan and one German. Also included in the deal are the bodies of three Israeli soldiers and 59 Lebanese

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