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Monday, January 21, 2008 

The plight of Gaza.

The old maxim goes that a society can be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. Those imprisoned and at the mercy of the state are by definition the most at risk of ill-treatment.

By that definition, the enclave of Gaza is to all intents and purposes a prison, albeit an open air one patrolled from the air by helicopter gunships and remote-controlled drones. The two main exits from the strip, into Egypt and Israel respectively, are almost always shut, despite previous promises from Israel to keep them open, and even then exit is only possible through applications for visas, which are seldom issued. The irony is not lost on the people of Gaza that one of the few things guaranteed to get you out of the Strip is to be so seriously injured that the hospitals within the territory cannot cope with your injuries and so request a transfer to a hospital across the border.

For a number of months now Israel has been slowly but inexorably cutting the amount of power it allows into the Strip, ostensibly in response to the continuous fusillade of home-made rockets fired into Israel by the various militant groups, including Hamas, although strictly it is meant to be maintaining something approaching a ceasefire. Gaza's only power station, which was previously bombed by the Israelis during the 2006 incursion into Gaza which some argue prompted Hizbullah to launch its own raid into Israel, killing and capturing two soldiers, which in turn set-off the summer war between Hizbullah and Israel, cannot provide full power to the roughly 1.4 million Palestinians that live in the territory, and so the people partly depend on the supply into the Strip from Israel's own stations. Israel's move over the past week to an almost complete blockade meant that the station's dwindling supplies were almost down to nothing yesterday, and from being able to supply power for around 12 hours a day, those operating the station had no option but to plunge the territory into darkness. Combined with the economic blockade which has left farmers unable to sell their crops, the massive rise in unemployment and the relentless poverty that goes with it, Gazans are increasingly left to rely on food aid from charities and the UN.

Even this is now threatened by Israel's actions, which almost certainly constitute collective punishment, a war crime under the Geneva Convention. The sheer brazenness of Ehud Olmert, making clear that while live cannot go on as normal in the areas of Israel threatened by the sporadic, ineffective, impotent mortar fire, he'll make certain that life will also "not go on as usual" in Gaza, is the kind of bravado and belligerence which makes it incredibly difficult to believe that there's any chance of peace for years still yet to come. After all, what is exactly "usual" about life in Gaza? The only thing truly regular that we in the West see there is the protests and funerals; it's far too dangerous now for anyone other than local journalists to report on the territory, after Alan Johnson's kidnap last year, and so we hear very little about the crushing helplessness, the constant anger and fear, or the despair of a people that have long had all their hopes and dreams obliterated, of any kind of progress or improvement in their harsh lives.

But, says the neutral observer, wouldn't all this be ended and lifted if the Palestinians sorted themselves out and put a stop to the rocket fire? It would be lovely if things were so simple. The very firing of the Qassams is a sign of the weakness of the Gazans; they're the equivalent of a placebo, a weapon that makes those who fire them imagine that somehow it's resisting the Israelis, while all its doing is in fact contributing to the siege mentality. Even if Hamas decided to halt all the rocket fire tomorrow, the occupation itself would not be lifted, nor would the checkpoints be opened, or probably even the crops allowed through. The people would be back where they started, no better for anything that's occurred since the settlements were evacuated and the current policy of blockading the Strip was decided upon. Since Hamas seized the strip last year, the stranglehold has only tightened as Israel has tried to put pressure on the movement and dismally failed. Fatah's decision for its workers to strike in response only further put popular sentiment behind Hamas as the services disintegrated.

For the moment, Israel's casual inhumanity has been put checked somewhat by the international outcry, the only force which ever makes it so much as think twice,
with Ehud Barak agreeing that the curbs will be diluted tomorrow so that fuel, food aid and medicines can be delivered. Then it will doubtless be back to the same old, with Israel making certain that Gaza cannot sleep, work or just exist while Sderot is threatened by fireworks that occasionally injure or kill, but do cause significant psychological distress. The same fear and anxiety that Gazans live with their entire lives. As Israel continues to make their short existence as miserable as possible, there will never be a shortage of the young ready to take the places of those killed or arrested in their small acts of defiance. For a young country that is meant to feel existentially threatened from all sides, it is remarkably cavalier about those within that, without a settlement to satisfy them, will only continue to fight.

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Q: Wait a minute! Why did Hizbollah kidnap the two Israeli soldiers in the first place?

A: The Murder of Jewish Toddlers!
What HEZBOLLAH is "ALL ABOUT!"

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/7487

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.

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
http://SamirKuntar.net

Israel moots Kuntar prisoner swap
(AL-JAZEERA 9/17/2006)
http://english.aljazeera.net/News/Archive/Archive?ArchiveID=35918

Free the monster Samir Kuntar
(Haaretz article 09/04/2006)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/758531.html

Plot to free terrorist (Kuntar) may have led to fight
(Washington Times 8/8/2006)
http://www.washtimes.com/world/20060807-111009-8857r.htm

Nasrallah says no deal without Samir
(9/12/2006 BBC article "Nasrallah Demands Militant Free")
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5340364.stm

"Hizballah Wants Israel to Free Child-Killer"
(Cybercast News Service, 7/18/2006)
http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewForeignBureaus.asp?Page=/ForeignBureaus/archive/200607/INT20060718b.html

More than 25 years later, militant still atop Hezbollah's list for swap
(Seattle Times 8/16/2006)
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003168928_lebswap02.html?syndication=rss

Why Hezbollah Attacked Israel
(Mens News Daily 8/09/2006)
http://mensnewsdaily.com/2006/08/09/why-hezbollah-attacked-israel

Samir Kuntar to be released very soon
The Jerusalem Post 1/6/2007
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1167467671390&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

Video of an interview with Smadar Haran on CBC
(RealPlayer required)
http://www.cbc.ca/MRL/clips/rm-lo/milewski-kuntar060914.rm

And people wonder why I don't have comments on my site! Sheesh!

By the way, soldiers get CAPTURED not kidnapped.

The only bonus is that no one with half a brain will have a read a single word of it. Incidentally Cedars1559, we could mention the massacres at Sabra and Shatila, where a lot more than two toddlers were murdered, but that would would be to give the ridiculousness of your point even a tiny amount of credibility.

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