Comprehension of what is going on — or, rather, WHY it is going on — eludes me, my friends.
Announcement has been made of the Cabinet vote of 22-3 in favor of releasing Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, Palestinian prisoners, and bodies of Hezbollah guerillas for the bodies of Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev — who at this point are clearly thought to be dead. The ministers who voted against were Roni Bar-On (Finance), Ze’ev Boim (Housing) and Daniel Friedmann (Justice).
For the details of the agreement, see:
This vote came in spite of the advice of top security officials (the heads of Shin Bet and Mossad) that this was a bad move and would encourage further abductions. It even gives the message that it’s OK to kill those Israelis who are abducted, and Israel will still trade.
Olmert’s statement on the matter before the vote was that "…I came to the conclusion that as the prime minister of Israel I should recommended approval of the resolution that will bring to an end this painful chapter, even at the painful price that it extracts from us."
In the course of his statement, he indicated that release of Kuntar was probably the reason that Goldwasser and Regev were abducted in the first place. And we give them what they were seeking??
It must be noted that the families of Goldwasser and Regev have received a lot of publicity regarding their right to have their loved ones returned to them, and the pleading they’ve done to make sure the government would make this possible. Olmert and company undoubtedly hope to capitalize on popular sentiment in this regard.
Amongst leaders and potential leaders here, it was only former Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon who raised the question of the price being too high.
And Samir Kuntar? We held this Lebanese Druse — who was a member of Palestinian Liberation Front — in prison for years, but the death penalty would have been more appropriate (if we routinely levied a death penalty, which we don’t).
In 1979, he entered Nahariya, Israel, from Lebanon, by boat, with a group of three fellow terrorists. Entering the apartment of the Haran family, and knowing the police were on the way, they took Danny Haran and his four year old daughter, Einat, hostage and brought them down to the beach. When a shoot-out with police erupted, Samir Kuntar shot Danny in the back at close range in full view of his four year old daughter. Then he drowned Danny in the sea to make certain he was dead, and proceeded to smash Einat’s head against the rocks, while she screamed, "Mommy, Daddy help me!" Then he crushed her head with the butt of his rifle.
This subhuman we release from prison? A great deal has been made of the feelings of the Goldwasser and Regev families, but what of the feelings of the Haran family?
It should be noted, by the way, that Kuntar is a declared recidivist. He has already announced that he will return to terrorism. And this we release from prison.
Wrong, shamefully, pathetically wrong.
So the Kuntar family and other despicable beings in Lebanon are celebrating tonight.
The Israeli government should collectively hang its head in shame.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Media Watch reports that the PA, our alleged partner in peace negotiations, has made the claim that Kuntar represents "heroism." PA TV has broadcast a picture of Kuntar alongside a map of Israel completely covered with the Palestinian flag.
A correction: The link to the piece on the Hamas truce from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs was incomplete on Thursday, and I offer here the full link (with thanks to Cheryl Hoffer for calling my attention to this):