Tunisia honors convicted murderer Samir Kuntar
Salafis storm ceremony to protest Kuntar for pro-Assad, Shi'ite position.
Samir Kuntar [file] Photo: Wikimedia Commons
BERLIN – The city of Bizerte in Tunisia last week honored convicted murderer
Samir Kuntar, who carried out a brutal 1979 attack in Nahariya that
killed Israeli policeman Eliyahu Shahar, and Danny Haran and his
four-year-old daughter, Einat Haran.
Kuntar also caused the death of two-year-old Yael
Haran, who suffocated because her mother, Smadar, sought to prevent her from
making noise as she tried to hide her daughter from Kuntar.
Lebanese Druse, was released in a 2008 prisoner swap with Hezbollah. At the
time, Middle East expert Dr. Daniel Pipes termed Kuntar “a psychopath and
the most notorious prisoner in Israel’s jails.”
The Tunisian website
Tunisie Numerique reported that a Salafi mob stormed last week’s ceremony,
accusing Kuntar of a pro-Shi’ite position favoring the Assad regime and its
slaughter of more than 20,000 Syrians. Kuntar, 50, escaped the meeting hall
through a back exit and several people were hospitalized.
In an email to
The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, a political scientist at
Bar-Ilan University, wrote, “This is yet another illustration of the false
religion in the West that simplistically blames the violence and threats in the
Middle East on the myths of Palestinian victimization. Samir Kunter is
one of the worst symbols of brutality and terror targeting Israel, but the
hatred unleashed by the radical Sunni-Shia conflict is far
Steinberg, heads NGO Monitor in Jerusalem, added, “Indeed, as
this incident shows, the internal Islamic religious wars merely use the Arab-
Israeli conflict as another battleground.”
American Mideast experts and
bloggers quickly picked up on the Sunni-Shia violence surrounding Kuntar’s visit
to the northern Tunisian city.
In his blog Pressure Points, Elliott
Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign
Relations, noted, “There is so much dishonor to go around here that there is no
point attempting to distribute it fairly; the conduct of every single party is
But it would be nice to hear a word from the ruling party in
Tunisia, the Ennadha Party, or from its newly elected government, about the idea
that the murderer of children is a fit guest of honor in the new, democratic,
The popular blogger Elder of Ziyon wrote on Friday
“that Samir Kuntar, the disgusting child-murdering terrorist who is considered a
hero to the Palestinian Arabs, visited Tunisia this week,” and ridiculed his
cowardice for fleeing the ceremony.
Michael J. Totten, a contributing
editor to World Affairs and the author of the new book Where The West Ends, also
emailed the Post on Sunday.
“Tunisia is more politically moderate and
mature than other Arab countries, and it’s also more tolerant, but unfortunately
none of that extends much to Israel,” said Totten, who has written extensively
about Lebanon and Tunisia. “I don’t think this by itself will hurt Tunisia’s
chance for democracy – Israel is hated in plenty of democratic countries in
Europe – but no one should expect Tunisia to play a constructive role in
Arab-Israeli relations any time soon.”
Kuntar, who has earned praise from
Arabs as the “dean of the Lebanese prisoners,” was honored by Syrian President
Bashar Assad in 2008 with the country’s highest award. Iran’s President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad honored Kuntar the following year.