Hezbollah Demands Release of Terrorist Murderer In Exhange for Captured Soldiers
"Hezbollah said it will not release two captured Israeli soldiers until Israel releases a Lebanese man jailed for the 1979 murder of an Israeli family.
Mahmoud Kamati, a senior official of the Lebanese terrorist group, told an Israeli Arabic language newspaper that Samir Kuntar’s release was a condition for the release of two soldiers captured on July 12 in a cross-border raid, Ha’aretz reported on Friday. The raid and a series of rocket attacks launched the 34-day Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon this summer."
The picture at the left is a Hezbollah poster of Kuntar, found at a Hezbollah website dedicated to his release. A little reminder of who Kuntar is and what he did is instructive about the motives of Hezbollah, as if we needed the reminder. Here is an account from Bradley Burston in the online edition of the Israeli Newspaper Haaretz, in a column that actually argues for Kuntar's release as part of a prisoner exchange:
In 1979, Kuntar led a group of gunmen on an attack in Nahariya, during which broke into an apartment and took hostage Danny Haran, 28, and his four-year-old daughter, Einat.
"I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades," Danny's wife, Smadar, wrote three years ago in an account in the Washington Post, describing in part how she hid from the terrorists with her other daughter, Yael, just two.
"I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. "This is just like what happened to my mother," I thought.
"As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.
"By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her."
The contrast between Kuntar and the Israeli hostage prisoners, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, could not be more stark. Goldwasser and Regev are soldiers who were kidnapped by Hezbollah in an unprovoked military raid across an internationally recognized border, accompanied by indiscriminate shelling of Israeli towns. The sole purpose of that raid was to take hostages to use in a prisoner exchange to release people such as Kuntar. Kuntar is a cold-blooded murderer who shot a man to death in front of his 4-year old daughter, so that would be her last living sight, and then bludgeoned her to death.
I hope that I feel as much compassion for the Goldwasser and Regev families as anyone else; but to release such a man will simply invite more such kidnappings and hostake taking.