Giving in to terrorism

June 29, 2008 at 3:31 pm 3 comments

Selective sympathy trumps

common sense

By Ralph Dobrin

Author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”

To order the book click:  type: how to avoid Armageddon

I bet that not one in ten thousand people in Israel remembers Eyal Benin, Shani Turgeman or Vasim Nazal. They were also caught in the July 12, 2006 Hizbollah ambush that led to the fatal abduction of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. No one remembers Eyal, Shani or Vasim – except their families, friends and army comrades because, well … they were simply killed in that ambush. Also another five conscripts were killed in the tank that tried to give chase to the kidnapping assassins. Their names are never mentioned either. The families of Gadi Musiev, Alex Kushnirski, Yaniv Bar-On, Nimrod Cohen and Shlomo Yirmiyahu grieve alone. Another 114 Israeli soldiers were killed in the war that followed. The public doesn’t remember them either.

And that’s life. You just can’t keep thinking about so many lives so tragically snuffed out. In the same way the general Israeli public knows very few of the names of the tens of thousands of soldiers who have died in Israel’s many other battles, most of them while actively trying to defend the nation.

Most bereaved families try to get on with their daily routines after their loss. For many the grief lasts for the rest of their lives. They grieve anonymously and that’s probably the way they want it. In some cases, for a day or two television and radio crews interview them and then they are forgotten.

But Israeli combatants captured by terrorist forces elicit far more media coverage. Their plight sounds absolutely nightmarish. Their families spend years of uncertainty, wondering endlessly whether their sons, fathers, brothers are even alive and if so, how badly have they been wounded? How are they being treated? How are they bearing up under the strain of incarceration at the hands of some of the nastiest people on earth? It’s natural for the public to feel enduring sympathy for the families and for the captured soldiers themselves. The media and the politicians nurture that sympathy by giving the subject of one hapless young man in Gazan captivity, Gilad Schalit and two mutilated bodies somewhere in Lebanon, an enormous amount of attention. Thus, for the newspapers and television channels there are more rating points to be gained, while the politicians have yet another subject that helps them obscure the perennial issues of unsolved national importance, which they are supposed to be handling.

So one can understand the media and the politicians for dealing so intensely with the subject. And one can certainly understand the families of these young men. They are simply doing what must be natural in such freak circumstances – they are trying to move heaven and earth to get their sons, husbands and brothers home again – in one piece or in a body bag – and everything else be damned.

However, the situation demands suspension of emotion and a deadly sober assessment on the part of the political and military leaders, and the public should be lending them their support. A major consideration should be the fact that negotiations with terrorists gives them legitimacy in their murderous efforts, and encouragement to keep repeating their evil. By offering them any agreement gives them complete victory and opens the way for the next kidnapping.

Releasing hundreds of prisoners (sometimes even thousands) leads to many of them returning to their careers of terror and the murder of yet more innocent people. This has been the case over and over again. It’s particularly self-defeating when imprisoned terrorists are freed in return for the bodies of two or three soldiers. When it comes to the release of a live captured soldier, former Israel Army Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon, one of the few public figures to speak out against making a deal with the Hizbollah, said: “In some situations, the price to pay as part of the deal is much heavier than the price of losing the captive soldier.”

Soon after the Six Day War Arab terror groups began making attempts at kidnapping and hostage-taking of Israelis. At first, the policy of Israeli governments was total refusal to negotiate with the terrorists. A crack army unit would immediately be despatched to engage the terrorists, who were usually killed, sometimes with collateral death of a number of their hostages.

The first time an Israeli government agreed to negotiate with terrorists was in July 1968 (exactly 40 years ago) following the hijacking of an El Al airliner by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. A plane flying from Italy to Israel was hijacked and forced to land in Algeria. The hijackers demanded the release of 1,200 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons. Under the cirumstances Israel was powerless to do anything but agree to negotiations. The Algerian authorities managed to achieve the release of all the passengers and Israel freed 16 Palestinian prisoners.

This incident was followed by numerous hijackings and kidnappings with the intention of gaining world attention and releasing prisoners from Israeli jails. The most spectacular outrage was during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich when eleven Israeli athletes and trainers and one German police officer were killed, during a botched German attempt to free the hostages.

There were also a number of truly heroic rescue operations by Israeli armed forces, the most incredible was the Entebbe rescue in 1976.

Subsequent Israeli governments swore never to submit to terrorists’ demands, but this resolve crumbled in 1985 when Israel swapped more than 1100 Palestinian terrorists for three of its soldiers, who had been captured by Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In 2004, Israel released over 430 Arab and Palestinian prisoners and terrorists in exchange for the bodies of three of its soldiers and a retired army colonel-turned gambler and drug dealer who had previously been ensnared by the Hizbollah.

Now coincidentally, poignantly close to the 30th anniversary of Israel’s most famous rescue mission – the raid on Entebbe in Uganda – Israel is closing a deal with the Hizbolla on the release of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. In the light of previous prisoner exchanges, negotiations (through a third party) might seem warranted. Hizbolla’s demands seem quite reasonable by Arab terror groups’ standards – in the return for the bodies of Regev and Goldwasser, Israel agrees to release five Lebanese prisoners. The trouble is that one of these people is Samir Kuntar, as ruthless a murderer if there ever was one.

On April 21, 1979, Kuntar and four other terrorists infiltrated Israel from Lebanon. Kuntar entered the Nahariya apartment belonging to Danny and Smadar Haran. In course of a rampage, Kuntar forced Danny and his four-year-old daughter Einat to the beach below. There he shot Danny in the head and then drowned him in the sea. He crushed Einat’s skull on a rock with his rifle butt. He was caught by Israeli security forces and sentenced to multi-life imprisonment. Ever since, his name has frequently come up in talks about swapping terrorist prisoners in Israeli jails for kidnapped Israelis held in Lebanon.

Cutting a deal with the Hizbolla doesn’t just mean awarding them an incredible prize for their kidnapping of Regev and Goldwasser two years ago. It will act as any open invitation to keep kidnapping Israelis and Jews everywhere in the world. Also, why should this ploy be limited to terrorist organizations? Why not the mafia every time one of their bosses or henchmen is arrested and sentenced to prison? And what about flouting the process of justice. Samir Kuntar is a despicable murderer who will go free in return for two body bags. No thought about the feelings of the wife and mother of the people he so brutally murdered! No thought for the families of thousands of Israelis murdered by other terrorists.

Many people point out that a soldier must be reassured that his country will stand behind him completely if he is taken prisoner. That’s how it should be – to a limit. Every soldier should know that in the event of war his country will do everything possible to minimize the chance of his slaying or injury on the battlefield. But it is impossible to guarantee absolute immunity to death or injury. And of course every soldier knows this. Every soldier knows that there is a limit to how much he can be protected against enemy fire and that when he goes into combat he might be killed. He accepts it. It’s the same with the kidnapped prisoner. Everyone must know there is a limit to what a country is willing to bargain in a prisoner deal.

Retaliation to terror should be in the form of dreadful deterrent – similar to the way that Prime Minister Olmert sent Israel’s air force into action immediately following the abduction of Regev and Goldwasser – bombardment of vital installations – preferably connected with terrorist organizations, together with a demand for the immediate release of the hostages. But ridiculously, two years ago, Israel was not prepared to deal with the retaliatory rocket bombardment of Northern Israel. That was utterly unforgiveable because every seventh-grade kid in the country knew that for a number of years prior to the outbreak of the war, the Hizbolla organization had tens of thousands of rockets aimed at northern Israel. They should have been destroyed the moment they were installed, which began almost immediately after Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in the year 2000. Mr. Olmert was not solely responsible for that unforgiveable shortcoming. Lessons should have been drawn from this fact. The inability to cope with massive rocket attacks on Israel’s civilian population, renders her unable to exact appropriate deterrent action against the terror organizations and this situation, it has been said by sources in higher circles, is being remedied. If not the bungling on Israel’s part will continue and the scope of the terror from the north will erupt again in the future and probably be far more worse than ever before.

Meanwhile in the south, Hamas is demanding the release of 1,000 terrorists now in Israeli jails in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilat Schalit. Most of them are convicted murderers including the fiends behind the Seder massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya where 30 people were murdered on March 27, 2002. What kind of bearing will the release of a satanic murderer in return for the bodies of Regev and Goldwasser, have on the outcome of the negotiations regarding Gilat Schalit?

Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post recently wrote: “It is impossible to know precisely how many Israelis will be killed in the future if the deals now on the table are approved. But past experience shows that at a minimum, dozens of Israelis now innocently going about their business will be murdered by the terrorists Israel releases. And at a minimum, (in the future) one or two Israelis will be abducted by Hamas or Hizbullah or one of their sister terror organizations. They will be abducted in Israel or while they are travelling abroad and they will be brought to Lebanon or Gaza and the cycle of blood extortion and psychological warfare will begin anew.”

Actually, the Regev, Goldwasser and Schalit families, in their determined and understandable quest to have their sons returned, have become powerful, compelling voices for Hizbullah and Hamas.

Nathan Sharansky, the former prisoner of Zion, once said: “As a prisoner, it is important to know that your country is doing everything it can to secure your release. But it is also true that you are not willing to be released at any price. There are things that are more important than your personal survival.”

Everything should have been done to have prevented the abduction in the first place – the Hizbolla should not have been allowed to build up their rocket arsenal, thus hamstringing Israel. But once Israel had retaliated, following the abduction of Regev and Goldwasser, she should have perservered until the Hizbolla was vanquished and their rocket arsenal destroyed. Also, in the Israel of former times, it would have been more likely that those northern residents cowering under rocket fire would have been summarily and properly looked after during the fighting.

It all boils down to two things – a leadership capable of making the right decisions and a public that’s actively serious about ensuring the tenure of such a leadership. As personally tragic as the abductions have been, they really represent small potatoes in the the overall picture. Unable to contend with midgets Hamas and Hizbollah, how will Israel contend with a real monster like Iran. With Mr. Olmert running things? With the present ongoing mood of appeasement with fanatical evil? With the inability to see the overall picture because of a locked focus on small details – albeit heart-wrenching? With such an outlook the future portends to be a lot more tragic!

But I am a firm believer in the Law of the Pendulum. Right now, it must be reaching the end of its present Chelmic swing because there just has to be a limit to the amount of time that silliness continues to determine the affairs of any country. Soon that swing will be reversed. We all have to be part of that swing.

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Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, How to avoid Armageddon, In order to survive, Solutions for Palestine, Stormier times ahead, Things not mentioned in the press. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

The new type of Jew in Israel The shame of disloyalty

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Who is Sammy Kuntar  |  June 29, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Freeing Garbage for IDF soldiers
    Amid the backdrop of a terrible human tragedy, the Israeli cabinet approved Sunday the prisoner exchange deal with Hizbullah, which will facilitate the return of IDF captives Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

    Despite all the announcements to the families of Regev and Goldwasser, Israel’s intelligence community changed it’s mind over the past few weeks and their assessment is that the 2 missing IDF soldiers are dead.

    In return for the 2 [dead?] soldiers, among those Israel will be releasing is the notorious Samir Kuntar. In an incredible show of personal dignity, Smadar Haran, the widow of Danny Haran (murdered by Kuntar) wrote to Israel’s Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter stating she had no objections to Kuntar’s release. The letter was read at today’s cabinet meeting.
    “The despicable, vile murderer Samir Kuntar isn’t, nor has he ever been, my private prisoner. Kuntar is a prisoner of the State, which sentenced him to five terms if life imprisonment for his vicious crimes,” she wrote.

    “His fate must be decided now, according to Israel’s best defensive needs and moral interests, which should serve the people of Israel, now and in the future.

    “I ask that my own personal pain not be taken into account when you deliberate, despite its significance and implications. I cannot overlook the pain and suffering of the Goldwasser and Regev families, or the moral debt I have to all those who have worked for my safety.
    To get an idea of what sort of human garbage we are talking about, this is what Smadar Haran wrote in the Washington Post in May 2003. It is must reading to appreciate her current position.
    Abu Abbas, the former head of a Palestinian terrorist group who was captured in Iraq on April 15, is infamous for masterminding the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. But there are probably few who remember why Abbas’s terrorists held the ship and its 400-plus passengers hostage for two days. It was to gain the release of a Lebanese terrorist named Samir Kuntar, who is locked up in an Israeli prison for life. Kuntar’s name is all but unknown to the world. But I know it well. Because almost a quarter of a century ago, Kuntar murdered my family.

    It was a murder of unimaginable cruelty, crueler even than the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, the American tourist who was shot on the Achille Lauro and dumped overboard in his wheelchair. Kuntar’s mission against my family, which never made world headlines, was also masterminded by Abu Abbas. And my wish now is that this terrorist leader should be prosecuted in the United States, so that the world may know of all his terrorist acts, not the least of which is what he did to my family on April 22, 1979.

    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.
    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.

    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.

    And what do I think?

    1. The State of Israel gave up thousands of terrorists over the past 15 years to support the Oslo process which has brought nothing but the deaths of thousands of Israeli civilians and soldiers. Rockets continue to pound Southern Israel from Gaza, and terror continues unabated from the West Bank. And in return for giving away thousands of Palestinian terrorists and criminals, we have received exactly nothing. If we are able to tangibly receive captured IDF soldiers (living or dead) by exchanging them for Palestinian terrorists and criminals, then we have a moral responsibility do so. If we “sacraficed” so much for the failed promises of Oslo, then the least we do is get our soldiers back.

    2. IDF soldiers grow more cynical daily as they see corrupt leaders of the likes of Ehud Olmert zig-zag on every decision possible. Ensuring the return of Goldwasser and Regev will send a signal to IDF soldiers that despire the corrupt leadership, the country is still willing to “pay the price” for their release. We will not leave them behind, as we have done so often for the past 2 decades.

    We owe it to our soldiers — we ask them to fight for us. The least we can do is bring them home.

  • 2. Rebeca Kolner  |  June 30, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    The case of releasing the savage Samir Kuntar tears every which way–he shouldn’t be given the chance of seeing the light of day. If the government knew for sure that the soldiers are dead, that the family could have convincing proof, the deal should never have been accepted.

    I feel that these decisions should fall on the shoulders of one man, and that is the leader of the country–he should have the courage and responsibility to make the call based on what he knows. Too many ministers, too many influences bearing on them. Too many emotions. One man, one decision, one man who should have all the facts and be able to prove them can make the decision with a clear head.

  • 3. Shira  |  June 30, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    My comment is to ask everyone to go to: and listen to Mordechai Eldar’s “battle for the Arab heart,” as he pleads Israel’s case in the face of Islamic fundamentalist rhetoric from an Al Jazeera interviewer.

    Please notice the recommendation at the end:
    “‘This is not pro-Israel public relations,’ Dr. Kedar told Israel National News. ‘This is a battle for the Arab heart, which Israel is apparently losing because Israel gave up on the main tool which should have served it, which is an independent Israeli Zionist satellite channel in Arabic.’ Many Arabs, he said, would consider changing their views if such a channel were available. ‘
    Please consider how we might go about creating such a marvelous channel for hasbara!


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