Israel and Hamas have agreed a prisoner swap deal. Gilad Shalit, a captured Israeli soldier, is to be freed in exchange for 1,027 Palestinians.

Although no list of detainees to be freed, nor the exact dates of the swap, has yet been announced, many Palestinians have started preparations for the possible return of their imprisoned family members.

Shalit was captured by Hamas in a cross-border raid in 2006, but with the revelation that more than 300 of those being freed in exchange for his return are serving life terms for murder and other violent attacks, some Israelis have questioned the seemingly lopsided deal.

So what does the deal mean for the Palestinians and the Israelis? Will it help draw attention to the plight of the more than 5,000 Palestinians held by Israel?

Inside Story discusses the deal with Marcus Sheff, the executive director of Israel Project; Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary-general of Palestinian National Initiative; and Abdullah Al Ashal, a former assistant to the Egyptian foreign minister and a professor of International Law at Cairo University.

Source: Al Jazeera