A few days after Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted in 2005, GERSHON BASKIN got a phone call from a Palestinian professor and colleague asking for his help in negotiating the soldier’s release. Gershon was put in touch with a spokesman for the Hamas government and for five years, as an intermediary between senior Hamas and Israeli officials, Baskin worked through back channels to broker a deal for Shalit’s freedom in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Baskin is a member of Israeli’s Green Movement Party, is the founder of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information and has been active in increasing understanding and promoting peaceful dialogue between Israeli’s and Palestinians. He has been involved in peace process as an outside advisor to Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak and writes a column for the Jerusalem Post. While he is visiting the U.S., Baskin joins us in the studio to talk about his role in the release of Gilad Shalit, the prospects of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Israel’s role and safety in the broader Middle East.