So lets take a concise look at how this deal went down to release the Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit for 1027 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
Many factors contributed to the release. The main breakthrough came in July. All this has been going on for five years, but this main breakthrough basically started with yet another letter between Hamas and Israel.
The negotiations picked up where they left off back in 2009, when the German government created a mediation plan and proposal.
Hamas, it is said, was apparently the one who showed flexibility first. Bottom line, 450 prisoners will be released that Hamas demanded – though not all, as Israel said they would not release prisoners with high Palestinian symbolic value.
The new Egyptian government wanted to conclude the deal that was done during the Mubarak era and demonstrate to the international community that, in the face of all the perceived anarchy, they are functional and in control and have influence in the Middle East.
It is being reported that the second round of 550 prisoners released from Israeli jails – Egypt has a say in who is to be released.
So a series of meetings took place between Israel and Hamas with Egypt's mediation.
These all culminated in a marathon 24 hour meeting were there was at the end, an agreement the parties signed off on.
Clearly we reached a point in time where the release of Schalit was in both parties interests and thus the situation on the ground was ripe as well.
Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu needs public and international legitimacy due to his handling of the domestic issues in Israel and his continued avoidance of peace negotiations and the policey of expansion and annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
For it's part, Hamas had manage to hold on to Schalit for more than five years, and now with Palestinian President Mohmoud Abbas having been crowned with rock star status at the UN this month, Hamas wanted to show that they can deliver – in this case prisoners held in Israeli jails.
The Israeli's dropped their demand that many of the prisoners be deported to third world countries – thus Hamas secured what they wanted – homecomings. This scores them big points – even though there are a number who will in fact be deported to third countries.
Israel in the past has been reluctant to release 'terrorists' back into the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem for fear of future terrorist activity. Also, Israel had previously refused to release Israeli Arabs in their custody – but now reciprocated flexibility to Hamas by releasing six.
As of this hour, Schalit should be on Israeli soil, after having been in interim Egyptian custody for the release of the first 450 Palestinians, and the 27 female prisoners, on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Be sure to join me Monday as I bring you all the latest from Jerusalem with my live news update on the Harvest Show.
Middle East Correspondent