UN, Arab League welcome Israeli-Palestinian prisoner swap
The chiefs of United Nations and the Arab League, Ban Ki-moon and Nabil al-Arabi, welcomed the Israeli-Palestinian prisoner swap, RIA Novosti reported.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, the UN Secretary General praises the deal as a "significant humanitarian breakthrough."
"In the aftermath, the Secretary-General hopes that more far-reaching steps will be taken to end the closure of Gaza and enable reconstruction. He continues to call in the same context for an end to the smuggling of weapons and a sustained calm between Israel and Gaza," the statement reads.
The Arab League chief called to release "all Palestinian and Arab prisoners still held by Israeli occupation forces."
"Some prisoners have spent more than 30 years in jail, in difficult and inhumane conditions, some were put to jail without trial. This is a blatant violation of the international humanitarian law," al-Arabi said.
Shalit, a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, was captured in June 2006 near the Gaza Strip.
Israel agreed to release 1,027 Palestinians kept in Israeli prisons in exchange for Shalit last week. The first group of 477 prisoners was released on Tuesday, including 287 sentenced for life, while the remaining 550 will be freed in two months.
According to Palestinian estimates, about 8,200 Palestinian and Arab prisoners were kept in Israeli jails before the prisoner swap, including 62 women and over 200 children.