ZOA: Release Of Jew-Killer Kuntar A Victory For Hizballah & Islamist Terror
July 18, 2008

Abbas congratulates family of Jew-killer



The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has described the release of infamous terrorist AND Jew killer Samir Kuntar and other jailed terrorists by Israel in return for dead body parts of two Israeli servicemen kidnapped by the Lebanese Islamist terror group Hizballah, as a huge victory for Hizballah and Islamist terror. Kuntar, who in 1979 murdered members of the Haran family and an Israeli policeman, was exchanged for the corpses of Israeli servicemen, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who were kidnapped and later murdered by Hizballah, an event that precipitated the 2006 Lebanon War.


Samir Kuntar, of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), is serving multiple life terms for the killing of three members of the Haran family and policeman Eliahu Shahar in Nahariya in 1979. Kuntar was captured in Nahariya and jailed in April 1979 when he and other PLF terrorists seized Danny Haran, 28, and his 4-year old daughter, Einat, in their home and removed them to the Nahariya beachfront where Kuntar shot Danny Haran in front of his daughter, then drowned him in the sea to ensure he was dead, before smashing the 4-year-old’s skull with a rock and crushing it with the butt of his rifle. Danny Haran’s wife, Smadar, managed to hide with her other daughter, 2-year-old Yael, whom she accidentally suffocated in an effort not to betray their whereabouts while hiding in another part of their apartment when her husband and other daughter were seized by Kuntar. Kuntar has never expressed remorse, justifies his multiple murders and said that he would join Hizballah upon his release, which received him with massive celebrations in Beirut.


The release has been widely criticized as contrary to all paramount Israeli interests and a victory for terrorism at home and abroad.


·         Former Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Arens: the decision to release the terrorists showed a “complete lack of judgment” and was a “mistake that is forbidden to make,” as it encourages the enemy to kidnap more soldiers.

·         MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud): “This is a tragic end for the families [of the soldiers], and it is also a very bad end for Israel’s fight against terrorism … The celebrations of the terrorist organizations in Lebanon – and they have reason for celebration – conclude two years of a failed Israeli battle against terrorism … Hizbullah has come out of these two years stronger militarily and stronger politically. With our help, Hizbullah has mislead us for two years regarding the condition of the abducted soldiers, as to whether they are dead or alive … We have become the only country in the West and perhaps in the entire world, which is ready to release terrorist murderers in exchange for bodies and body parts … This is a dangerous precedent… and I must say that the entire country has derailed … The media has a part in this … A prize was awarded today to terrorism. It reflects a general policy of surrender to Hizbullah and to Hamas in Gaza. We have given Hamas a de facto authorization to continue to rearm and build itself into a Hizbullah II in Gaza

·         Shifra Hoffman, founder of Victims of Arab Terror International (VAT): VAT “strongly condemns the government of Israel for agreeing to release Samir Kuntar, the bestial child killer and other Arab terrorists with ‘blood on their hands.’ This obscene exchange with Hizbullah, has, in effect, murdered the Jewish victims twice, and has opened the door for future terrorist attacks by Arab killers, who see that they have nothing to fear in perpetrating these horrendous acts on innocent Israeli men, woman and children.”

·         Naomi Ragan, best-selling novelist and distinguished columnist: “I am deeply ashamed of being an Israeli today. To lead the world in ever more despicable acts of appeasement is nothing to be proud of. If we cared about our soldiers, we would not be showing our enemies that kidnapping and terrorism pay. We would not be setting the stage for the next murderous terrorist raid and hostage stand-off. We would be passing laws with a mandatory death penalty for a convicted terrorist with blood on his hands as well as their accomplices and make these laws retroactive.”

·         Ulrike Putz and Holger Stark, German journalists: “a deal negotiated by German intelligence led to Hezbollah handing over two coffins with their remains. In exchange, Israel turned over a brutal murderer — and a bit of its dignity.”

·         “The prisoner swap of Israel boosts the standing of Hizballah,” (Daily Star [Beirut], July 16, 2008).

·         Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, Hizballah expert: “Israel has set a very dangerous precedent, it actually confirms that the only way Israel understands is force and violence. The lesson was that abduction works, it is effective and diplomacy is futile.”

·         Nabil Boumonef, political analyst for the pro-government Lebanese daily, An-Nahar: “The deal is undoubtedly a victory for Hizballah because it was made according to its conditions while Israel gained nothing. Hizballah has surely become more powerful.”



Three Olmert government ministers also opposed the release:


·         Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann: “Approving the deal sends a message of weakness … this is a terrible deal. The price is too high. We mustn’t release Samir Kuntar because that would be an enormous victory for Hezbollah.”

·         Finance Minister Ronni Bar-On: “After Kuntar is released, who will prevent the release of Marwan Barghouti? … anyone who says that Samir Kuntar is not a bargaining chip in talks with Hezbollah on the topic of [missing Israeli airman] Ron Arad is wrong. A government promise was made to the Arad family, and it mustn’t be broken … [releasing jailed terrorists in exchange for Israelis would] “give [Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan] Nasrallah patronage over the Palestinian cause as well, and that is dangerous in my view. In addition, [releasing Palestinian prisoners] would raise the ransom in the Shalit deal.”

·         Housing Minister Ze’ev Boim: “preventing terror is of the utmost importance – no less than that of returning the [abducted] soldiers … If Nasrallah rejoices, that will be burned into the Arab psyche. [Kuntar is] a lowly despicable terrorist, whose stock we elevated in 2004, will become a symbol. We mustn’t underestimate symbols – they are the cause of rivers of bloodshed throughout human history” (Barak Ravid, ‘Minister opposed to deal: Swap victory for Hezbollah,’ Haaretz, June 29, 2008).


Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas congratulated the family of Samir Kuntar and sent his condolences to the Lebanese families receiving their loved ones’ bodies as part of the deal. In Gaza, Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh congratulated Samir Kuntar on his impending release from Israeli prison and his triumphant return to Lebanon, praising “the great victory the resistance has had, which proved the righteousness of our ways … From the al-Bureij camp, the camp of strong standing, I once again congratulate Lebanon,” proclaimed Haniyeh. “We tell them that this operation is the best lesson that can be achieved – a victory over the occupation, liberating lands and liberating prisoners … This is a precedent.”


Abu Mujahed, a spokesman for the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, said that the deal “even after the images of the Israeli soldiers’ coffins, proves that kidnapping soldiers will continue to be the most efficient, favored and ideal way to release Palestinian prisoners, particularly those defined by the enemy as having blood on their hands.” (Ze’ev Ben-Yechiel, ‘Prisoner Swap: Israel Mourns, Hizbullah and PA Celebrate,’ Israel National News, July 16, 2008).


A 2006 detailed report issued by the Almagor Terror Victims Association (ATVA), shows that between the years 1993-1999, Israel released 6,912 terrorists within the context of “confidence building measures” and prisoner deals. Of that number, 854 (14%) were arrested subsequently for lethal terrorists acts which claimed the lives of 123 Israelis. The ATVA report concluded, “The mass killing due to these attacks included … a huge number of victims with disabilities due to the attack and many other victims. In all the previous death-bargains, the overwhelming majority of those released returned to terrorist activities, at the cost of a huge destruction of life.”


Col. (Res.) Meir Indor, Director of ATVA, disclosed in April 2007 that 177 Israelis killed in terror attacks in the last five years were killed by Palestinians who had been previously released from Israeli jails on the basis that they were “without blood on their hands” (Jerusalem Post, April 10, 2008).


Examples of released terrorists who subsequently murdered Israelis in further terrorist acts:


  • Karim Ratteb Younis Awisreleased in the context of a ‘good will gesture’:
    * November 27, 2001: Carried out shooting attack near Afula, murdering Michal Mor and Noam Guzofsky.
    * March 21, 2002: Dispatched a female suicide bomber to Jerusalem’s King George Street, murdering three Israelis, Yitzchak Cohen and Gadi and Tzipora Shemesh – 81 more were wounded.

  • Nasser Abu Hamiyadreleased as part of the Oslo Accords:
    * Took part in Ramallah lynch, mutilating bodies of IDF reservists Vadim Norzitz and Yossi Avrahami.
    * February 25, 2002: Initiated attack on Jerusalem‘s Neve Yaakov neighborhood, murdering a female police officers and wounding 10.
    * March 5, 2002: Responsible for attack on Seafood Market in Tel Aviv, murdering Israelis Eliyahu Dahan and Yossi Havi, wounding 31.

  • Abbas ibn Muhammad Alsayd released in 1996; had a part in three Netanya attacks:
    * March 4, 2001: Dispatched Herzl street suicide bombing, murdering Naftali Din, Shlomit Ziv, Yvgeni Malkin and wounding 56.
    * May 18, 2001: Responsible for suicide bombing of HaSharon Mall in Netanya, murdering Miriam Wachsman, Yulia Tartiakov, David (Moti) Yarkoni, Vladislov Sorokin and Tirza Tishbi, and wounding 86.
    * Helped plan and carry out Park Hotel Passover massacre, murdering 29 and wounding 155.

  • Ramez Sali Abu Salimreleased February 20, 2003:
    * Just seven months after release, on September 9: Blew himself up at Jerusalem’s Café Hillel, murdering David Shimon Avizdris, Yehiel Emil Toubol, Shafik Karem, Alon Mizrachi, Gila Moshe, Dr. David Yaakov Appelbaum and his daughter Nava – on the eve of her wedding.

  • Fuad Kawasme released December 2002:
    *Less than half a year later, on May 18, 2003, shot Kiryat Arba residents Gadi and Dina Levi to death near Gross Square in Hevron.

  • Jihad Alamrinreleased as part of the Jibril deal in 1985:
    * Founded the Al Aksa Brigades terror group in Gaza
    * Planted explosives that killed IDF soldiers Cpl. Asher Zagori, Cpl. Moshe Peled, Cpl. Ron Lavi, Cpl. Matan Biderman and others.

  • Salah Shahadehreleased in 2000:
    * January 9, 2002: Oversaw infiltration into IDF’s Africa Lookout, killing four soldiers.
    * March 7, 2002: Shooting attack at Atzmona pre-military academy, murdering Ariel Zaga, Baruch Marcus, Eran Pikar, Aharon Krugliak and Tal Kutzweil.

  • Iyad Sawalha released as part of the Wye Agreement in 1998:
    * June 5, 2002: Responsible for bus bombing at Megiddo Junction, murdering 17 and wounding 42.
    * October 21, 2002: Blew up jeep near Egged bus at Karkur Junction, murdering 14 and wounding 42.

  • Khalil Hamza Abu Roubreleased the final time in 1996:
    * September 18, 2002: Organized Umm El Fahm Junction bombing, murdering officer Yossi Ajami and wounding one seriously.
    * December 26, 2002: Tried to shoot and kill IDF soldiers attempting to apprehend him. He was killed in the process.

  • Mahmoud Hamdanreleased after serving just 14 months of a lengthy sentence in July 2003:
    * September 26, 2003: Two months after his release, he infiltrated the Hevron Hills town of Negohot, murdering Ayal Yaverboim and slaying a baby, Shaked Avraham.

  • Nidal Salamehreleased during Israel-PA talks in 1999:
    * Following his release he took leadership role in PFLP terrorist group – responsible for southern Gaza. Oversaw dozens of attacks.

  • Louei Raad Barghoutireleased August 2003 as “good-will gesture” to Mahmoud Abbas:
    * Planned and oversaw attack at Tzrifin IDF base bus stop, murdering eight.
    * Involved in planning of Café Hillel attack.

  • Morad Kawasmereleased January 29, 2004 in return for kidnapped Israeli Elchanan Tenenbaum and the bodies of three missing soldiers:
    * Became senior Hamas commander in Hebron and shot at soldiers who came to arrest him after he oversaw several attacks.


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The Olmert government has made a monumental mistake whose terrible consequences will be apparent in the months to come. In deciding to proceed with this exchange of jailed terrorists for the remains of kidnapped Israeli soldiers, considerations of justice, morality, prudence and security have been cast aside.


“All past experience indicates that exchanging jailed terrorists for kidnapped Israeli soldiers is liable to cause more kidnappings, strengthen terrorist groups and result in more innocent Jewish life being shed. The ZOA has consistently opposed the release of Palestinian Arab prisoners by Israel, not merely because doing so provides excellent incentives for kidnapping more Israelis and thus freeing more terrorists held by Israel, but because, as the ATVA report has clearly shown, such exchanges have been proved in the past to result in further massive loss of innocent Jewish life. Tragically, more innocent Jews may well be murdered in the not too distant future by some of the terrorists Prime Minister Olmert has decided to release this week. Samir Kuntar, for his part, has said that he will return to terrorism.


“A further vital consideration that arises from a case like this in which Israel releases live terrorists for the remains of dead soldiers is that the lives of other present and future kidnapped Israeli servicemen will be further jeopardized. Hizballah and other terror groups will draw the message that, as Israel will release the biggest murderers like Kuntar in exchange for corpses, then they need not even keep kidnapped Israeli servicemen alive. It is not impossible, in fact it is even likely, that the two Israeli servicemen whose corpses are to be released were murdered by Hizballah after capture because of this sort of calculation. This release makes it likely that there will be more kidnapping of Israelis by terrorists in the future while endangering the lives of Israelis kidnapped.

“I want to make it clear, as I have on previous occasions, that the ZOA deeply sympathizes with Israeli families when their sons are kidnapped by bloodthirsty terrorists. We would support virtually any efforts to bring them home safely. But when the record clearly shows that prisoner releases bring only more terror, more murder and more kidnappings of Jewish people, we must painfully accept the fact that we will save more Israeli lives by not rewarding kidnappings through prisoner releases.”



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