(JTA) The State Department said it was aware of reports that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Lebanese murderer Samir Kuntar on his release. Kuntar, whose victims in a 1979 terrorist raid into Nahariya included a 4-year-old girl, was released last week as part of an Israeli-Hezbollah prisoner exchange. We are aware of the reports that [Abbas] congratulated Kuntar and his family, a State Department statement said Monday. The United States condemns the abhorrent crimes of Samir Kuntar, including the murder of an Israeli policeman as well as the killing of Danny Haran and his 4-year-old daughter in a raid on April 22, 1979, in Nahariya, Israel.
The Zionist Organization of America this week quoted lawmakers from Abbas party as congratulating the families of the terrorists, alive and dead, who were released in the exchange. To Samir Kuntar, the outstanding commander, who always set his eyes on Palestine, the ZOA quoted Najat Abu Bakr as saying, To Samir Kuntar, who always united the PLO factions in the prisons, and to whom people listened more than to the Palestinians themselves… I say to him: Congratulations to you, and congratulations to Palestine for your [release], Samir. We pledge to continue calling you son of Palestine, rather than son of Lebanon.