Friday, June 20, 2008

With blood on their hands.

By Ami Isseroff

Israel is under attack and requires your help. Israel is being bombarded by a pernicious propaganda barrage, which threatens to undermine the IDF, the state and everything we stand for, and to imperil the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser and their comrades, living and dead, fought for a great and just cause, defending Israel against an implacable enemy, Hezbollah, which is sworn to destroy us. Goldwasser and Regev were kidnapped, and most likely killed, starting the Second Lebanon War . Over 150 other Israelis died, many perhaps needlessly, but all in support of a cause that we all thought was correct at the time and which must in fact be correct: never to give in to the extortion of terrorists. Surrender to extortion only leads to more extortion. The Second Lebanon War could have been avoided entirely, if Israel had simply agreed to release murderer Samir Kuntar and whatever other terrorists were demanded by Hassan Nassrallah, in return for the kidnapped soldiers or their bodies. But almost all agreed that this course would be perilous, and would lead to more kidnappings.

If my own sons had been kidnapped, I would surely not rest a minute. I would raise hell all over the world to ensure that the Lebanese government, of which Hezbollah is a part, abides by international law and allows visits by the red cross. I would stage demonstrations at the White House, at the UN, at appearances of American officials in the Middle East, as well as imploring Israeli officials to act for their release. I would not let them or the public forget their duty. I would, if it were practical, hire private detectives, the Mafia, other Lebanese groups to free them or at least to get word that they are alive. I would do anything, except to undermine the cause for which they and their comrades fought, or to undermine the IDF and the state of Israel.

But now Israel is under attack. The cause for which Regev and Goldwasser fought is being trampled in the mud. The source of the attack is not the Hamas or the Hezbollah, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud Abbas or British Jewish anti-Zionists. The source of the danger is in Israel. The people guilty of undermining the security of the state are not disloyal Arabs or anti-Zionist Jews. They are well meaning and worried parents, and their unscrupulous lawyers and public relations firms. What would all those soldiers, the dead and the kidnapped, think of this campaign? What does it say about their sacrifice?

The Israeli media are filled with pleas to release convicted murderer Samir Kuntar, and perhaps hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, in return for what is almost certainly the dead bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. They are filled with imprecations and threats against the Israeli government.

It is not a matter of putting "honor" or "justice" or "revenge" above human compassion. The problem is not the release of prisoners with "blood on their hands." Rather, it is the blood of our soldiers and civilians that will be spilled in the next kidnapping. The success of the Goldwasser-Regev kidnapping will certainly engender yet another one, just as the success of the previous kidnapping, in which Hezbollah traded the degenerate Elhanan Tannenbaum and some dead soldiers for many live prisoners, was probably the decisive factor in motivating the kidnapping of Goldwasser and Regev. How many people will die because of the next kidnapping, and how many will be kidnapped? Those who are applying pressure for this deal, those who write op-eds, the parents and families of the kidnapped soldiers and their army of PR people, will all have blood on their hands - the blood of hundreds of Israelis. If we are silent, they will make us all accomplices in murder.

Miki Goldwasser, mother of Ehud Goldwasser, reasons:

"On the claim that if Kuntar is returned, more will be kidnapped in the future, I can only say that had he been returned in the [Elhanan] Tennenbaum deal, you would not be reading my letter today,"

Grief obscures reason. Miki Goldwasser would be right if the Hezbollah had been formed in order to free Samir Kuntar, and if the Hezbollah had no goal other than freeing Samir Kuntar.

But Samir Kuntar is only an issue that is used to further the real goals of the Hezbollah, one among many. If Kuntar is freed, the next round of soldiers would be kidnapped in order to free Palestinian prisoners, or to force Israel to give up Sheba farms, or some villages in the Galilee claimed by the Hezbollah. And when all these issues are exhausted, the Hezbollah will send more terrorists to be caught, so they can kidnap more Israelis, and gain more prestige by striking more deals. Kidnapping was exploited in the 1980s against the Americans as a terrorist device. The Americans don't hold Kuntar. Had the Israeli government never done the Tannenbaum deal, Goldwasser and Regev would have been far more likely to be safe today. Israel and the Regev and Goldwasser families should be using every ounce of leverage they might have to determine if Goldwasser and Regev are alive. If they are alive, which is not likely, then perhaps it would be much harder to refuse a deal. Even then, there are ways to pressure Hezbollah without returning Kuntar.

Goldwasser and Regev were severely, probably fatally wounded in the attack. Miki Goldwasser argues that Hassan Nasrallah said that he captured live soldiers. Of course, Nasrallah is a man of his word and never lies. Assuming he is telling the truth, he is probably telling the exact truth. The soldiers were still living when captured. It is noteworthy that he doesn't warrant that they are still alive now. Nasrallah could surely make easy propaganda by trading a tape of a live Regev and Goldwasser, holding today's newspaper and "confessing" to their "crimes" for a quantity of Palestinian prisoners. He doesn't do it, and that should tell us what we need to know about the case of Regev and Goldwasser. Miki Goldwasser cites the case of a previous detainee, whose fate was unknown and turned out to be alive. But that case is probably not relevant. Hezbollah is no longer a tiny persecuted underground group afraid of publicity. It is part of the Lebanese government, tacitly accepted as "legitimate" by most of the world. i

Today, most Israelis, perhaps because they have been bombarded with op-eds begging for the release of Samir Kuntar without any conditions, with quotes from the Goldwasser family and a well focused PR campaign, Agree with the Goldwasser and Regev families. A Dahaf poll shows the following:

If, forefend, it turns out with certainty that Goldwasser and Regev are dead, should we agree to the deal?
For 61% Against 32% No reply 7%

That is only a small percent less than those who favor the release of Goldwasser and Regev if they are alive. The logical thing for Hezbollah to do, then, is to kill any kidnap victims, current or future.

Those who oppose the deal are largely silent. If we had all spoken out against the disastrous trade of Elhanan Tannenbaum, perhaps this new catastrophe that led to the Second Lebanon War would have occurred. If we had spoken out against negligence and incompetence and corrected it, perhaps the war would not have occurred either. But if nobody speaks out against this folly, there will be a much worse one. The future war will be the fault of all those who were silent, but primarily it will be the fault of the lawyers, the PR people and the poor grief-stricken and anguished families, who are directing their efforts in the wrong direction, and getting the ear of a weak and unpopular government.

"Never leave anyone behind" and "Bring our boys" home reflect some of the finest aspects of Israeli battle ethics, if "battle ethics" is not an oxymoron. But glorifying a bloodthirsty enemy and rewarding their crimes in order to retrieve dead bodies is criminal folly. The "dignity of the dead" is not enhanced by selling out the cause for which they fought and by creating more "dignified" dead.

Who dares to stand against the grief of mothers bereft of their sons? Of separated young wives, loves, fathers, brothers? Not many, surely!

But who can dare to remain silent in defense of those who cannot speak, because they are dead, and on behalf of those who do not know they will be the victims of future kidnappings or casualties in the next war? It is our duty to prevent this tragedy.

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2008.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Murder of Jewish Toddlers!

On July 12, 2006 Lebanese Hezbollah militants crossed the border with Israel in an operation dubbed "Operation Truthful Promise," which was aimed at nabbing Israeli soldiers in exchange for Lebanese prisoners. Hezbollah succeeded in the operation and successfully took hostage two Israeli soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. During the operation, eight Israeli soldiers were killed. This ignited the sequence of events which led to the Israel/Lebanon summer war.

The story goes further back than July of 2006. It really began in April 1979! On Sabbath day, April 22, 1979, Danny and Smadar Haran met up with a monster named Samir Kuntar.
Danny and Smadar were a loving Israeli couple. They had everything they could ever hope for... love, marriage and two precious daughters, Einat, 4 and Yael, 2. That day Smadar was home anticipating Danny's return from work and preparing for the Sabbath. She had just picked up their two toddlers from day care. Danny, on the other hand, was looking forward to nothing more than getting home and spending time with his wife and his two young daughters.

Traditionally, the Sabbath is the most special day of the week, the day the family gets to spend time together and celebrate their bond to Judaism. It was especially important for Danny who, as a young father, had to work extra hard in order to provide for his wife and young children. Little did Smadar know that this would be the last Sabbath she would celebrate with her family because of a man named Samir Kuntar. Around midnight the nightmare began!

(Samir Kuntar; also spelled: Sameer Kuntar, Kantar, Qantar, Kintar, Quntar, Qintar, Cantar)

What's the deal with Samir Kuntar?

Since April 22, 1979 Samir Kuntar has been incarcerated in an Israeli prison. Samir Kuntar, a Druze from the Lebanese mountain village of Aabey , who currently holds the dubious distinction of being the longest held Lebanese prisoner in Israeli jails. Kuntar is currently ONE of THREE Lebanese prisoners still serving time in Israeli jails. Kuntar was convicted and sentenced to a 542 years prison sentence by the state of Israel . Israel even almost tried to pass a bill to have him executed! What did he do? What was his crime? The crime Kuntar committed was one of the most sickest, heinous, barbaric crime ever committed on Israeli soil.

The crime took place on April 22, 1979 when Kuntar led a group of 3 other terrorists, all members of Abu Abbas PLF (Palestinian Liberation Front), infiltrated the Israeli coastal city of Naharya and broke into the Haran family apartment and took Danny Haran and his 4 year old daughter Einat Haran hostage. When Kuntar and his gang broke into the apartment, the wife, Smadar Haran and her 2 year old daughter Yael, were also present in the apartment. Smadar managed to find a crawl space into which she, her younger daughter, 2 year old Yael, and a neighbor all hid. To prevent Yael from crying and giving away their hiding place, Smadar covered the child's mouth with her hand.

Kuntar and his group took Danny and little Einat down to the beach. At the beach Kuntar shot Danny in the back. Danny survived the gun shot but moments later was drowned personally by Kuntar. All this was witnessed by the young daughter. Kuntar forced her to watch her father's murder so that [in Kuntar's words] "his death would be the last sight she would ever see." Kuntar then laid the little toddler down on a rock and smashed her head with the butt of his rifle. She didn’t die right away, so Kuntar beat her with his rifle repeatedly, over and over again (all this done, while she was screaming and crying), to ensure that she was dead.

Meanwhile in the apartment, Smadar's attempt to muffle her daughter's whimpering proved fatal. Yael was accidentally suffocated and died within the hiding space.
And on July 12, 2006, the ONLY reason why Ehud Goldawasser and Eldad Regev were kidnapped by Hezbollah, was to force Israel to release/surrender Samir Kuntar.
Now the dilemma is, should Israel release Samir Kuntar in order to gain the release of Goldwasser and Regev? Unfortunately Kuntar might be freed in the next couple of days in exchange for these two soldiers, or their caskets, since there hasn’t been even one sign of life since their kidnapping on July 12th. For those who didn’t know, Samir Kuntar was the only reason that’s been holding back the release of Goldwasser and Regev, for almost a year and a half.

[Image of Einat Haran]
[Image of Yael Haran]

According to Smadar Haran, her last memories of Danny and Einat, that day, were when they were being led away at gun point by Kuntar. She could hear from her closet space Danny telling Einat, "Don't be scared, my baby, it will be alright" and Einat replied to him in her little voice, "Dad, where is Mommy? I want Mommy." Smadar's last memory of her 2-year-old daughter, Yael, was when her little daughter was taken to the apartment hiding space. Right before Yael had her mouth covered by her mother, she asked her mother "Where is my little pacifier." There was no time to search for the pacifier. Minutes later Smadar covered Yael's mouth to keep her from revealing the hiding space. Smadar soon felt her daughter's tiny tongue licks and lip sucking on the palm of her hand. She didn't know what to make of it at first but hours later was told by doctors and paramedics that the reason Yael was licking her palm while she covered her mouth was because she was gasping for air.

A Sad Gruesome Reality

After drowning Danny in the sea in front of little Einat, Kuntar, the brave Lebanese freedom fighter, then turned his attention towards the frightened little 4-year old. He took his rifle and then swung it across the little toddler's head, knocking her to the ground. As little Einat was knocked to the ground, she was screaming and crying hysterically "mommy daddy help me," while thrashing her little legs around in the sand. But unfortunately Einat was alone, and no one was there to save her. Kuntar then dragged the little toddler a couple of feet to the closest rock he could find, this was while she was begging him not to hurt her. Kuntar, then laid her head down on a rock, with the intention of crushing it with the butt of his rifle. Einat, instinctively covered her head with her little arms, Kuntar struggled with the little toddler until he finally managed to clear her arms out of the way so that he could aim for her head. Once her arms were out of the way, Kuntar proceeded on beating her on the head over and over with the butt of his rifle, and repeatedly stomping on her little body as hard as he could as well, until blood rushed out of her ears and mouth, and her little cries faded away as she was knocked into unconsciousness. Then, to ensure she was dead, Kuntar continued on beating her over the head, as hard as he could, several more times until her skull was crushed and she was dead.

The nerve of Hezbollah to honor a child killer like Kuntar. The nerve of Hezbollah to kidnap two Israeli soldiers in order to force Israel to release a child murderer from jail! This is what Hezbollah is all about.

The July 12, 2006 abduction was originally named "Operation Freedom Samir Kuntar," by Hezbollah. But days before the kidnapping Hezbollah changed the name of the operation to "Operation Truthful Promise," due to the fact that Nasrallah made a true promise to the family of Samir Kuntar to have him freed from jail.

In September 2000, three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbollah, along with an Israeli businessman, Elhanan Tennenbaum. Nasrallah immediately demanded Israel release all its Lebanese prisoners INCLUDING Samir Kuntar. In 2004 Israel was holding a TOTAL of 26 Lebanese prisoners. That same year, 23 out of those 26 prisoners were released, in order to secure the release of those 3 IDF (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers as well and Elhanan Tennenbaum. This prisoner exchange also had a second phase, which involved Hezbollah providing solid evidence on the fate of Ron Arad (the Israeli pilot who went missing in Lebanon in 1986) and in exchange, Israel would release the 24th Lebanese prisoner, Samir Kuntar! Hezbollah failed to deliver the information on Arad, and the deal was off.

In 2006, when Goldwasser and Regev were kidnapped Israel was out of bargain chips, its only choice in order to gain information on the fate of these two soldiers is the release Samir Kuntar. Who even knows if Goldwasser and Regev are alive! Let’s not forget, the four years prior to the "infamous Israel-Hezbollah prisoner exchange of 2004," Israel had no idea on the fate of their soldiers until the day of the exchange. Only on the day of the exchange Israel found out, they would receive 3 caskets instead of 3 soldiers.

It is beyond sickening, a man who beat to death a little toddler is celebrated for his glorious deed. Kuntar has been dubbed by some parts of the Arab world as the "Dean of World Prisoners." Who would imagine? Hezbollah crossing the border into Israel, killing four Israeli soldiers and kidnapping 2 more, going through all this trouble, JUST to free a child killer!

There is another point worth mentioning. Hezbollah has never claimed that Kuntar was innocent or that he may have been framed. They only demand his release as if he were being held unlawfully and that Israel had no right to imprison him.

Kuntar is probably the most hated person by the Israeli public. He is known as the "killer of Nahrya" instead of "terrorist of Nahrya." And to think that this person is being released under the context of threat, extortion, and blackmail! If it wasn’t for kidnapping of soldiers, Kuntar would have continued to serve out his sentence.

Israel has an extensive history of releasing prisoner with blood on their hands, it has been done in the past and most expect that, it would happen again. This time with Kuntar. It is important to keep in mind that prisoners who are in Israeli jails are serving time for something. Israel is not a "gangster" or "lawless" state that imprisons people based solely on a whim. Every prisoner was charged, stood trail, convicted and properly sentenced. They were not kidnapped simply because they were Arabs. Hence, there is no justification in comparing the kidnapped Israeli soldiers to Samir Kuntar.

There is a fine line between a humanitarian release of prisoners or releasing prisoners for the sake of peace AND knuckling under to unadulterated extortion. There is also a huge difference between someone with hatred in his head and he who has blood on his hands! Nobody expects that someone like Kuntar who is released will become Lovers of Israel! But someone and others like Kuntar who have committed murder or collaborated in the planning of that murder should be considered an unacceptable risk. It goes beyond forgiving terrorism. It becomes an abetting in any future terrorism carried out by those released. Israel will viewed as a weak state that can be brought to its knees by extortion.

If Israel was to release Kuntar it would be the biggest thing they ever surrendered! The Sinai Peninsula, Israel gave back under negotiations, the West Bank and Gaza Israel also gave back under negotiations of the Oslo Accords. In 1985 during the famous "Ahmed Jibril Exchange" Israel released 1200 prisoners for the release of 3 IDF soldiers, some of those prisoners who were released had blood on their hands including Kozo Okamoto who killed 22 Israelis. BUT even all those 1200 prisoners put together, cannot compare to the savage murderous act committed by Samir Kuntar. Israel also currently holds 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, some of which have been incarcerated for conspiring, carrying out, and masterminding murderous terrorist attacks (suicide bombings, shootings, etc…), which targeted Jewish civilians in Israel. BUT even all those 10,000 prisoners put together cannot compare to Kuntar.

Kuntar could have shot little Einat or blown her up, but instead he took his loaded gun and just bludgeoned her on the head repeatedly for several minutes until she was dead! Lets not also forget, the fact, that several minutes prior to murdering Einat, Kuntar drowned her father in front of her, and forced her to watch.

Anyone, who reads this article and does not shed a tear, is not a human being.
What kind of country is this to release a child murderer from jail under the context of threat and extortion? If we release Kuntar, we know what message it sends to Hezbollah and other terror groups like Hamas, etc… But what obscene messages does it send to the families of those Israeli murdered, especially Smadar Haran whose daughter was beaten to death by a man who hates Jews. What Kuntar did was not only a terrorist act but should also be considered a criminal act. And what demoralizing message does it send to the Israeli troops and security services who risked their lives in order to capture and arrest the terrorists?
There is no doubt that Goldwasser and Regev need to be unconditionally released from Lebanon, Syria, Iran or from wherever they are now being held. Olmert's "good will gesture" has disaster written all over it. Appeasement didn't work with Hitler and it will not work with Hezbollah. "Negotiations" will not work either for over what exactly is there to negotiate? How far will Israel go to assure its own disappearance?

There will be nothing positive coming out of the release of Kuntar. There is no worst context of releasing prisoners than under the context of threat. But today October 15, 2007 there is chatter within Israel to drop the demand for Ron Arad for the exchange of Kuntar.

The Official Website of Samir Kuntar
Israel moots Kuntar prisoner swap
(AL-JAZEERA 9/17/2006)
Free the monster Samir Kuntar
(Haaretz article 09/04/2006)
Plot to free terrorist (Kuntar) may have led to fight
(Washington Times 8/8/2006)
Nasrallah says no deal without Samir
(9/12/2006 BBC article "Nasrallah Demands Militant Free")
"Hizballah Wants Israel to Free Child-Killer"
(Cybercast News Service, 7/18/2006)
More than 25 years later, militant still atop Hezbollah's list for swap
(Seattle Times 8/16/2006)
Why Hezbollah Attacked Israel
(Mens News Daily 8/09/2006)
Samir Kuntar to be released very soon
The Jerusalem Post 1/6/2007
Video of an interview with Smadar Haran on CBC
(RealPlayer required)

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