Negotiating for Prisoners

You may recall that when Hizbollah first kidnapped the soldiers Nasrallah said that the only way to get them back would be a prisoner exchange. Well we all know where this led and now we find ourselves in a poor position.

There is a questionable ceasefire in place and the soldiers still haven’t been returned. There are rumors that they spent the war locked in the Iranian embassy in Beirut or that they were spirited off to Syria and or Iran. It is not clear, at least not to the best of my knowledge.

Not unlike so many others I very much want them to be safely returned to their homes and families, but I am quite concerned about what message would be sent by this. In fact I am not sure that there is any real way to support this.

Israel went to war and did not come back with them. Their kidnapping is not the only reason for the war, but it is part of it. What I am most concerned about is whether negotiating their return serves as an incentive to the terrorists to continue conducting these operations. Somehow, someway there has to be a solution that doesn’t involve giving that kind of hope and incentive away.

Beyond that, let’s take a look at who Hizbollah wants released. One of the main guys is Samir Kuntar:

“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’s 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.

A man like Kuntar does not deserve freedom. The cost is too high.

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  1. Jack's Shack August 22, 2006 at 6:12 am


    Words are not adequate. If there is real justice in the world he will face it, or so I pray.

  2. RR August 21, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    Every time I read about what Kuntar did, I want to cry. That vile piece of garbage doesn’t deserve to get out of jail. He doesn’t even deserve to live in the pretty darn good conditions Israel provides its prisoners- even the utmost scum of the earth like him.

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