Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kuntar Deal As "The Right Move For Israel"

I'm still not sure how seriously to take this op-ed by Uri Misgav. He recognizes the gut reaction against it, but Misgav argues:
Yet the gut is not the right means for analyzing national interests. This job is better left for the mind, coolly and level-headedly. And the clear Israeli interest is, to hell with it, release Samir Kuntar.

After 28 years in prison Kuntar will no longer constitute a terror threat against Israel. Therefore, the only relevant question is the potential benefit or downside inherent in the act of release in and of itself. [emphasis added]
Just how old does Misgav think Kuntar is now after those 28 years in prison? Remember, back in 1979 Kuntar was only 16 years old. He will be just 46 years old. Just how does he not constitute a threat? After the murders he committed, Kuntar wrote a letter to Nasrallah, which included the following:

May peace be unto you, Hajj Imad. My oath and pledge is that my place will be at the battlefront, which is soaked in the sweat of your giving, and the blood of the most beloved among men [Shahids], and that I shall continue down the path, until complete victory.

I give to you, Sir Abu Hadi [name for Hassan Nasrallah] and to all the Jihad Figthers, my congratulations and [my] renewed loyalty."

What indication is there that Kuntar will suddenly break his pledge to Nasrallah and stop murdering Israelis? The Almagor Terrorist Victims Association published a report last year that showed that a majority of released terrorists return to terrorism:
Between 1993 and 1999, 6,912 terrorists were freed. As of August 2003, 854 of them (12.4%) had been re-arrested for murderous activity. Another two-thirds of them returned to terrorist activity, be it in capacities of command, training or actual perpetration of attacks.

Among the attacks perpetrated by freed terrorists were:
* the lynching of two soldiers in Ramallah (Oct. 2000)
* shooting deaths of Binyamin and Talia Kahane (Dec. 2000)
* suicide explosions in Netanya, 8 dead (March and May, 2001)
* Sea Food Market suicide blast, 3 dead (March 2002)
* shooting in Atzmona yeshiva, 5 youths dead (March 2002)
* Park Hotel suicide bomber during Passover Seder, 30 dead (March 2002)
* bus blasts at Megiddo, Karkur, Jerusalem, 55 dead (June 2002 - June 2003)
* double suicide attacks in Be'er Sheva, 16 dead (August 2004)
In addition, Misgav claims that the best part about this deal is that the release of Kuntar along with 4 other Hizbollah terrorists "can certainly prevent future abductions":
For years, the release of prisoners served as a major cause for Hizbullah. At a certain point it became a burden, a debt that had to be repaid vis-à-vis the families and public opinion. As of this week there will be no reason to continue the armed struggle. Therefore, Nasrallah’s euphoria is expected to be short-lived.
Read the whole thing.

No reason to continue the armed struggle? The whole existence of Hizbullah is predicated on their claim to an armed struggle against Israel. Does Misgav really think that their backers in Iran is going to tell them to put their guns and missiles away?

It is a very strange op-ed, and I must admit to having serious misgivings about Misgav.

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