News from Israel was dominated today by the announcement that Israel had reached an agreement with Hamas to release 20 Palestinian women prisoners in return for receiving a video showing Gilad Shalit alive and well. This is the first time that Israel agreed to a release of prisoners in return for “a sign of life”. None of the prisoners that are being released fall into the category of “blood on their hands” and the worse of them was scheduled to be released in less than two years. The cabinet supported the decision unanimously, but two key Likud ministers made it clear that they would not agree to the much wider prisoner exchanges that have been talked about. This decision is clearly the first step along the way to some larger agreement; although there is no guarantee that one will be reached. In addition, the Israeli government hopes that by getting a current video of Shalit it will increase pressure on Hamas to keep Shalit safe. Of course, a current video of Shalit if released by of Hamas will no doubt increase the pressure within Israel to make a deal at any price.