Sunday, December 20, 2015

3 Tweets: Samir Kuntar

or Samir Kantar or Samir Qantar
BBC - Lebanon militant Samir Qantar killed in rocket strike in Syria …

Samir Kuntar was 1 of the 3 (or 1 and a half) prisoners Hezbollah went to war with Israel over in 2006.
Yossi Alpher in …

Jeff Weintraub:
When it gets specific, Hezbollah tends to mention three names (yes, that's 3), but there is no evidence that one of these has ever been an Israeli prisoner. So that leaves two.

One of these is a convicted murder, Samir Kuntar, who led a 1979 terrorist attack against Israeli civilians in the northern town of Nahariya that killed two children, their father, and two policeman. Kuntar personally shot the father in front of one daughter and then bludgeoned the 4-year-old girl to death by crushing her skull. The mother managed to hide in the attic with her other daughter, a 2-year-old, but in trying to keep the girl quiet she accidentally suffocated her.
Yossi Alpher:
In fact, there are not even three Lebanese in Israeli jails--only one and a half. One of the three names cited by Hizballah is a missing person but was never jailed by Israel. A second, a Lebanese born to a Jewish mother, immigrated to Israel in the 1990s in accordance with the law of return and was subsequently arrested and tried as an Israeli on charges of spying. The third is Samir Kuntar, a Druze who as a teenager participated in a murderous terrorist attack in Nahariya in 1979.
The 'prisoners' issue was one of two main pretexts Hezbollah used (the other was the 'sliver of land' known as Shebaa Farms).

Update 21 Dec 2015
Kuntar's killing took place in Damascus. Hezbollah has said that the fight to support the regime in Syria and the Alawites (as a Shi'a offshoot)  takes precedence over the fight against Israel. (Kuntar took part in the 1979 attack as member of a Palestinian group but later became an important figure in the Hezbollah hierarchy). But Israel, reportedly, prefers to have ISIL as a neighbour (in Syria) rather than Hezbollah.

Israel welcomed his death, but declined to confirm that it was responsible for the missile strike. The woman who survived the 1979 attack, Smadar Haran, thought it might have been carried out by any of the actors in the Syrian Civil War, but it seems to me likely that it was Israel.

The arguments convinced me, ultimately, that Hezbollah bore most of the blame for the 2006 war in Lebanon. But key aspects are omitted in many accounts in the British media, and  as I said at the time, Israeli propaganda was unspeakably bad - their spokesmen failed to highlight these aspects. This is what was said in the Channel 4 News report: "By 2006, as Hezbollah  and  Israel went to war over the capture of 2 Israeli soldiers, Kantar had become a legend to some in Lebanon, a propaganda poster boy. And in 2008, Israel traded its prisoner and 4 others, all of them alive, for the dead bodies of its captured soldiers. Kantar came home to a hero's welcome."

Smadar Haran  reminds us that it was in support of Kuntar (amongst others)  that the 1985 attack on the Achille Lauro  and murder of  Leon Klinghoffer was carried out (interview on BBC WS, Newshour, 21:06).

Kuntar was 16 years old at the time of the 1979 attack. In India, a 17-year-old was released after taking part in that horrendous rape 3years ago (admittedly provoking huge protests).

- Fire traded over Israel-Lebanon border after militant's death -