The POW Swap record between the Arabs and Israel “The Jewish Virtual library”

BBC Arabic published a very interesting report about the POWs Swap between the Arab and Israel since 1948. It comes as part of their coverage to the POWs Swap between Lebanon represented by Hezbollah and Israel from three week ago. Of course it is worth to say that the entire report is a complete translation to the Jewish Virtual library based on the IDF numbers and records and so it should not be trusted !!

The report which was translated by Shady El-Kashaf from Gaza traces back the most POWs Swap since the 1948 war,I will summarize it below till year 1967 because already I am having my doubts regarding some numbers concerning the Egyptian POWs , the report claims that the number of the Egyptian POWs were more than the Israeli POWs ,which is untrue according to my humble knowledge in 1973,also it did not mention the number of the Egyptian POWs that actually returned in 1967.

First of all you must know that several Arabic research centers say that Israel captured nearly 800,000 Palestinians and thousands of Arab civilians and soldiers POWs according to the official numbers since the beginning of the conflict where as the Arabic armies captured more than one thousand Israeli POWs not to mention the the Palestinian and Lebanese militias captured many Israelis whether dead or alive. As you can see with my all due respect ,on the contrary to the Israeli propaganda we lost more than they did according to the IDF numbers.

Second This is based on the official records , which means with Israel infamous record in human rights of Arab POWs you expect that there are thousands of Arab POWs who were killed and never found their ways to the records as numbers not even names.

Now the POW Swap started in 1948 between Egypt and Israel , then in 1968 for the first time Israel swapped its POWs with POWs from the PLO in the first recognition to this group and  the last one after 60 years in 2008 ironically was between Hezbollah representing Lebanon and Israel. 1948 then 1968 then 2008 , 8 is very special number far as I see.

Here is a history line to the POWs Swap:

  • Year 1948 :

After the war between the Arab armies and Israel , the Arabs captured a total of “885” Israeli POWs as follows : The Egyptian army “156” Israeli POWs , The Jordanian army “673” Israeli POWs , The Syrian army “48 Israeli POWs” and the Lebanese army “8 Israeli POWs where as the Israelis captured a total of “7116” Arab POWs !! They do not call it Nakba in the Arab world from nothing !! The Arab POWs were as follows: “5021” Palestinian POWs , “1098” Egyptian POWs, “57”Syrian POWs,”36″ Lebanese POWs,”28″ Saudi POWs, “25”Sudanese POWs,”24″ Yemeni POWs and “17” Jordanian POWs .

Israel swapped its POWs with each country alone. The first swap was with Egypt on 27/2/1949 in the famous Fallujah agreement then with Lebanon from 3/3/1949 till 4/4/1949 then the rest of the Arab countries involved. Syria was the last Arab country to swap POWs on the 21/9/1949

  • Year 1954 :

on 30/9/1954 Egypt captured 10 sailors from the ship “Bat Galim” in the Suez Canal,they were released according to the orders of the security council on 1/1/1955.

In December 1954 the Syrians captured 5 Israeli soldiers that were on a secret mission in the Golan heights, one of them “Uri Ilan ” committed suicide in his prison and his remains were sent back to Israel on the 14/1/1955. The other four were swapped for “41” Syrian POWs on 30/3/1956.

  • Year 1957 :

After the Suez War Egypt and Israel had POWs to be swapped.It started on the 21/1/1956 and ended on the 5/2/1956. Israel released “5000” Egyptian POWs for 4 Israeli POWs in the Egyptian Capture , of course there is no mention about the infamous massacre of Sharm El-Sheikh.

  • Year 1961

After the break of the Union ,on the 17/3/1961 the IDF Golani special forces made a military operation on the borders with Israel near Kibbutz “Ein Gev” where they captured two soldiers that were returned later.

  • Year 1963

Another swap operation between Syria and Israel on the 21/12/1963 , Syria released 13 Israeli POWs for 15 Syrian POWs

  • Year 1967

The mother of POWs problems and scandals not to mention defeats

The Arab armies and countries  involved in the war that time Egypt,Syria,Jordan,Lebanon and Iraq managed to capture only 15 Israeli POWs.

Egypt captured 11 Israeli POWs among them 6 Israeli marine commandos who were captured during a fiasco attack on the harbor of Alexandria , it is not our topic here but the one who caught them was actually a kid , it was a terrible operation by all means.

Then there were two pilots from the IAF and the rest were members in a spy ring.

Iraq captured two pilots who were targeting the airport H in west of Iraq ,those two were swapped for 428 Jordanian POWs !!

Syria Captured only one !!

Lebanon Captured only one !!

The IDF captured on other hand a total of 6708 Arab military and civilian , no order they killed our POWs when they thought that they were too much !!

The IDF captured civilians and military members ; here are the numbers for each country :

  • Egypt: 4338 soldiers and 899 civilians. “different from what is mentioned here
  • Jordan : 533 soldiers and 336 civilians.
  • Syria : 367 soldiers and 206 civilians.

The swap started on 15/6/1967 through the red cross and the UN and ended on the 23/1/1968.Jordan and Iraq were the first countries and Egypt was the last one.

Iraq swapped two Israeli IAF pilots Capt. Itzhak Glantz-Golan and Capt. Gideon Dror who attacked the H3 Air basese in West of Iraq for 428 Joranian POWs.

Syria swapped a pilot and 3 dead bodies for 572 Syrian POWs.

It is worth to mention that they only mentioned the number of the Israeli side captured from Egypt but they did not mention how many were exchanged for the Israeli POWs , the 11 POWs including the some member of Lavon terrorist espionage ring

  • Year 1968 :

Jordan on the 2/4/1968 Israel swapped 12 Jordanian POWs for a body of missing solider from the Karameh battle

Again I will stop here because the content of the blog here is concentrating on the 1956 and 1967 ,you can find the rest of the report in the link above

6 thoughts on “The POW Swap record between the Arabs and Israel “The Jewish Virtual library”

  1. Mr.Jacoby You mean Dr. Mohamed , this is a very common name , do yo know his second name ??
    also I was wondering if you can share with us your experience as a POW during that war if you do not mind

  2. To Zeinobia
    I would like to thank you for your response.Dr Muhamed saved my life
    two times during my stay in Abbassiya and for me he always symbolized
    a kind of hope for better future for both our people because if this man could find the time to stay and comfort me and probably other young wounded soldiers long after his regular working hours in the middle of
    the war then we should never give up hope dont you think so ????
    If you’l be interested I will tell you my story in more details in the
    future.
    So now you understand why I’m so keen in trying to locate my friend Dr Mohamed

  3. Dear Mr Eran , I understand and I respect it , I will try to help you as much as I could but it would be great if you can remember his name , I am very interested in more details regarding this period , I know it is unpleasant but it is important to know more about

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