Sgt. Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who has been imprisoned by Hamas since 2006, was released on Tuesday in Egypt as part of a prisoner trade between Israel and Hamas. In exchange for Shalit's release, Israel freed 477 Palestinian prisoners, the first group of what will be more than 1,000. "I very much hope that this deal will advance peace," Shalit told Egyptian television before he was released. The deal is seen as a major political victory for Hamas, which Israel considers to be a terrorist organization. While Shalit may be on his way home, what the prisoner swap means for the future of the Palestinian leadership and the Middle East peace process is far from clear.