U.S. Rep Keith Ellison (D-MN) on Monday praised the deal struck between Israel and Palestine that will release a young Israeli soldier in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
As previously reported by Patch, that young solider, , was captured by Hamas militants more than five years ago, and since then, Israelis have rallied for his freedom.
On Sunday, Israel released the names of the first 477 Palestinian prisoners to be freed.
Ellison said in a statement that the deal demonstrates "mercy and compassion."
This is a great day for Gilad Shalit and his entire family, as well as the families of the other prisoners who will be released.
During the holy month of Ramadan I joined several Muslim-American leaders and scholars to call on Hamas to release Corp. Shalit as a way to demonstrate mercy and compassion.
It is my hope that the release is carried out as negotiated and that the Shalit family and families of Palestinian prisoners will be able to enjoy being reunited very soon.
Now, it is time for Hamas to put down its arms and reflect on how peaceful negotiations can have excellent results. This successful negotiation should be used as a pattern for broader discussions between the Palestinians and the Israealis. I hope it is a harbinger of the peace to come.
Ellison also recently wrote an op-ed for the Huffington Post in which he said he understands why people are taking part in the Occupy Wall Street protests across the country. He added that the protests are a sign that Americans want Congress to pass a jobs bill.
Occupy Wall Street's anger is justified, and Washington bears significant responsibility for letting Wall Street run wild before and during the crisis. But we in Washington should not pretend we are part of the movement or that it is directed toward one party. We must avoid acting as usual, which means talking instead of listening.
If we really listen to the Occupy activists we will learn that regular Americans are fed up that Wall Street was not held accountable for the economic debacle they triggered. Regular Americans are frustrated by continued income disparities and the inability of Congress to invest in jobs.