Would You Free Him?

Thursday, July 27, 2006
From today's OpinionJournal.com:

When Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers two weeks ago, provoking the current conflagration, the Shiite terrorist outfit apparently intended to use them as bargaining chips to demand the release of prisoners. Press reports often discuss this as if there were an equivalence between the Israeli soldiers, who committed no crimes but were simply defending their own country within its borders, and Arab terrorists. So it's worth pointing out just who the "prisoners" in Israeli hands are.

According to the BBC "the prisoner Hezbollah wants most" is Samir Qantar. On April 22, 1979, Qantar murdered 28-year-old Danny Haran and his 4-year-old daughter and caused the death of another Haran daughter, age 2. Haran's widow, Smadar Haran Kaiser, describes the crime (she transliterates the murderer's name as "Kuntar"):

It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Nahariya, a city on the northern coast of Israel, about six miles south of the Lebanese border.

Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists, sent by Abu Abbas from Lebanon, landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away. Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us as the terrorists burst into our building. They had already killed a police officer.

As they charged up to the floor above ours, I opened the door to our apartment. In the moment before the hall light went off, they turned and saw me. As they moved on, our neighbor from the upper floor came running down the stairs. I grabbed her and pushed her inside our apartment and slammed the door.

Outside, we could hear the men storming about. Desperately, we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door to take refuge in an underground shelter when the terrorists came crashing into our flat.

They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael, knowing there were more people in the apartment. I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. "This is just like what happened to my mother," I thought.

As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.

By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her."

The BBC gives a rather more sanitized account of the crime: "Qantar . . . attacked a block of flats in Nahariha in 1979, killing a father and his daughter."


Rick Ballard said...

"Would you free him?"

If we're talking "from all earthly care", sure. Cheerfully.

Wretchard's second post raises the issue of having to dispense with Westphalian rules in dealing with savages. This is a type of corollary to that discussion. Israel has chosen to to imprison rather than execute people who should be executed promptly and we will face the same conundrum sooner or later with our captives in Guantanmo. In one sense the Israeli soldiers now being held by Hezbollah are in their predicament because Israel thinks capital punishment to be uncivilized.

A rather odd sense of civility, in the end. I hope Israeli soldiers are bearing the fact that collecting prisoners increases the chance of becoming a hostage in mind as they pursue their duties. A bit of foresight will avoid the potential for regrettable error.

Peter UK said...

Mr Ballard,May I point you to the invention of one James Puckle Esq

Luther McLeod said...

Well said Rick. Is is horribly ironic how our civilizational tendencies undercut the measures needed to overcome this insanity.

Interesting PeterUK, that is a device of which I was unaware. This has been a long war.

Luther McLeod said...

Brylun, my cratered mind forgot to add: good that you posted that.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

We can always count on the BBC.

brylun said...

Rick, Excellent comment!

terrye said...

They could always have the "exchange" and then as soon as the Israelis get the soldiers back send in a drone to kill the bastard.

Would that be capitol punishment?

Peter UK said...

Take him up in a plane and throw him out over the Lebanon,hey, he's free!