By Middle East correspondent Anne Barker,

Gilad Shalit

Israel has offered to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive in Gaza for more than four years.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the offer earlier this month in a televised address to the nation.

He says Israel will release 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails if Hamas agrees to release Sergeant Shalit.

But he says Israel is not prepared to pay any price because too many Palestinians released in the past have returned to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel.

He says dangerous terrorists will not be allowed to return to the West Bank, while “top” terrorists will not be freed at all.

Israeli television says Hamas has already rejected the deal, saying it is nothing new.

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