kuntar prep 224 ap.
(photo credit: AP)
Preparations are in full swing in Lebanon to celebrate the return of Samir Kuntar.
Kuntar, who is serving multiple life sentences for one of the most brutal terrorist attacks in Israel's history, is due to be released tomorrow as part of a prisoner exchange with Hizbullah for Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the two soldiers abducted in a July 2006 cross-border raid that triggered the Second Lebanon War.
According to the Lebanese media, Kuntar will be given a festive reception by Hizbullah at its headquarters in southern Beirut, and welcomed personally by its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. He will then travel to Aabey, the mountain village where he was born on July 20, 1962, and, according to village leader Nazih Hamza, there will be a huge celebration for him there.
Lebanon has just formed a national unity government under a Qatar-brokered deal, in which Hizbullah has two ministers and veto power. Lebanon's prime minister, Fuad Saniora, has indicated that his government supports the festivities planned for Kuntar. A recent statement issued by Saniora's office said he shared with the Lebanese people the joy of the upcoming release of prisoners by Israel, including that of Kuntar.
The media will doubtless have a field day. Kuntar's homecoming will likely be broadcast live on Lebanese television and, via Al-Jazeera, all over the Arab world.
However, the Lebanese people and government - and those others in the Arab world, including among the Palestinians, so delighted by Kuntar's release - might want to ask themselves whether this monster is worthy of such glorification. Is he the kind of man they want as their idol? And if so, what does that say about them?
KUNTAR, a Lebanese Druse, was 16 when he led "Operation Nasser." On April 22, 1979, he and three other members of Abu Abbas's Palestine Liberation Front sailed on a rubber motor boat under the cover of darkness from Tyre to Nahariya.
Arriving at about midnight on Shabbat, they first encountered policeman Eliyahu Shahar and shot him.
They then entered an apartment building on Rehov Jabotinsky 61, where they took Danny Haran, 28, and his four-year-old daughter, Einat, hostage. Haran's wife, Smadar, hiding in a crawl space above the bedroom, muffled the cries of her two-year-old daughter Yael, accidentally smothering her. As police arrived on the scene, the terrorists pulled Danny and Einat down to the beach, where Kuntar shot him in the back at close range and threw his body into the sea, and crushed her head on the rocks with the butt of his rifle.
Two of Kuntar's men were killed during a shootout on the beach with police, while Kuntar and Ahmed Abrass were captured. Abrass was released in the May 1985 Ahmed Jibril prisoner exchange deal.
During his 29 years in an Israeli jail, according to his Israeli attorney, Kuntar has learned fluent Hebrew, married and divorced an Israeli Arab woman (who received a monthly stipend from the government and conjugal visits), and completed a social science degree via the Open University.
He has never expressed remorse, and, according to the Palestinian Authority newspaper al-Hayat al-Jadida, wrote a letter recently to Nasrallah promising not to abandon the jihad against Israel. "I give you my promise and oath that my only place will be in the fighting front soaked with the sweat of your giving and with the blood of the shahids, the dearest people, and that I will continue your way until we reach a full victory," the paper quoted him as writing. The newspaper, incidentally, carried an article calling Kuntar "a beacon of light" and an "authentic role model."
PERHAPS Kuntar's supporters should read the eerie recollection of Smadar Haran Kaiser, now remarried with two children, of his terror cell.
"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," she wrote in an article for The Washington Post. "I emphasized the joy and hatred in their voices for a reason.
"It is hard for anyone with normal sensibilities to comprehend how someone can feel joy and hatred while smashing in the head of a four-year-old child. What kind of pathology can cause a society to celebrate such evil?"
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>