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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Hezbollah demand to release child killer for soldiers shows need for terrorist death penalty

Hezbollah demand to release child killer for soldiers shows need for terrorist death penalty

July 19, 2006

Aftermath of a terrorist shooting

By Beila Rabinowitz, special to PipeLineNews.org


July 20, 2006 - Philadelphia, PA - PipeLineNews - In a recent speech broadcast by Al-Jazeera, the head of Hezbollah - Hassan Nasrallah - praised the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers and declared, "This is a day of loyalty to Samir Kuntar and the rest of the Lebanese prisoners in Israel...A promise has been kept"

Nasrallah added that it would be an "illusion" if Israel thought a military campaign could win the release of the soldiers and that the prisoners would not be returned except through "indirect negotiations and a trade."

Nasrallah however appeared to backtrack when he stated in an address late last week that "the battle today is no longer a battle over prisoners or the exchange of prisoners."

Although Hezbollah's goals may have shifted, make no doubt that Israel has gone to war over the hostages taken in Lebanon and Gaza. As Dr. Daniel Pipes observed in "Israel's Unnecessary War."

"...the Gaza and Lebanon operations are focused not on defeating the enemy but on winning the release of one or two soldiers - a strange war goal, one perhaps unprecedented in the history of warfare..."

Nasrallah's prominent mentioning of Samir Kuntar as one of the prisoners which Hezbollah hopes to receive in trade for the Israeli hostages provides an opportunity to examine both the reason for his present confinement as well as the nature of Hezbollah's terror war against Israeli civilians.

The following in the words of Smadar Haran, the wife and mother of Kuntar's victims:

"Abu Abbas, the former head of a Palestinian terrorist group who was captured in Iraq on April 15, is infamous for masterminding the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. But there are probably few who remember why Abbas' terrorists held the ship and its 400-plus passengers hostage for two days. It was to gain the release of a Lebanese terrorist named Samir Kuntar, who is locked up in an Israeli prison for life. Kuntar's name is all but unknown to the world. But I know it well. Because almost a quarter of a century ago, Kuntar murdered my family.

It was a murder of unimaginable cruelty, crueler even than the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, the American tourist who was shot on the Achille Lauro and dumped overboard in his wheelchair. Kuntar's mission against my family, which never made world headlines, was also masterminded by Abu Abbas. And my wish now is that this terrorist leader should be prosecuted in the United States, so that the world may know of all his terrorist acts, not the least of which is what he did to my family on April 22, 1979.

It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Nahariya, a city on the northern coast of Israel, about six miles south of the Lebanese border. Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists, sent by Abu Abbas from Lebanon, landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away. Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us as the terrorists burst into our building. They had already killed a police officer. As they charged up to the floor above ours, I opened the door to our apartment. In the moment before the hall light went off, they turned and saw me. As they moved on, our neighbor from the upper floor came running down the stairs. I grabbed her and pushed her inside our apartment and slammed the door.

Outside, we could hear the men storming about. Desperately, we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door to take refuge in an underground shelter when the terrorists came crashing into our flat.

They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael, knowing there were more people in the apartment. 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. 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 monstrous nature of Kuntar's individual act - integral in the terror war that Hezbollah is carrying out against innocents - should punctuate any discussion regarding Israel's decision to crush the group.

Recognizing that Kuntar represents the essential nature of Islamist terror also demonstrates the absolute folly of the prisoner exchanges that Israel has engaged in the past:

1. The exchanges are always lopsided, one or a few Israelis for hundreds, sometimes more than a thousand terrorists and terror suspects who are then swiftly cycled back into the fight. In 1985 as Reuters points out, the Israeli government "swapped more than 1,100 Palestinians for three missing soldiers. Seven hundred Arabs were allowed to stay in the occupied territories and many later became leaders of the Palestinian uprising that erupted in 1987."

2. Such exchanges signal weakness on the part of the Israelis, weakens their resolve and emboldens the enemy. As Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader has stated on the occasion of previous exchanges, "the evil Zionist regime is defeatable by the strong wills and concrete faiths of the Mujahadeen of Islam."

3. Prisoner exchanges inflates the value of hostages and give those groups taking them huge and disproportionate leverage.

Israel's lack of a death penalty has allowed the Palestinian Authority to deify Kuntar. His picture has been repeatedly shown of PA television as he was proclaimed a "model warrior...brave...[a] leader...[and] head [of the prisoners..]"

In an August 15th, 2004 television broadcast, PA Minister of Prisoners Hisham Abdul Raze, defined Kuntar as the leader of the prisoners.

"The torch of freedom [that] was lifted by our heroic prisoners and headed by the great warrior Samir Kuntar... our thanks to you."

On August 24th of the same year, prominent PA television broadcaster Muhammad Alba told his audience, "A thousand blessings to the warrior Samir Kuntar [the audience claps] and to his family in Lebanon and to this hero who was sentenced to 576 years [in prison]. This is the evil, and this is Israeli democracy."

On August 18th, 2004, PA TV termed the murder of the father and girl as an act of bravery: "He was sentenced to 542 years in prison for committing the brave Nahariya action in Palestine [note how the Israeli city of Nahariya is defined as Palestine.]

On the same day, Arab demonstrators supporting a prisoner hunger strike singled out Kuntar as a model to be followed: "We bless the family members of Samir Kuntar, we are with you. He is your son but he is also our son, the son of Palestine. We ask of Allah, that there will be 100 more Samir Kuntars, 1,000 more Samir Kuntars, 1,000,000 more Samir Kuntars, that do and act for the Palestinian issue." The speech was broadcast on PA television - Militant Islam Monitor

The jailing of Samir Kuntar has haunted the world for three decades and is costing countless lives, there is only one solution. The death penalty - for convicted terrorists.

Failure to execute the Samir Kuntar's of the world only produces more terrorism and bloodshed. That Samir Kuntar lives while Smadar Haran, the Klinghoffers, and the bereaved families in Israel are burying their dead is an affront to civilization. A terrorist who murders others forfeits their humanity. They cannot be permitted to remain in our midst.

We are reminded of the ancient Midrash, "He who becomes compassionate to the cruel will ultimately become cruel to the compassionate."

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