- - Sunday, January 3, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

On Dec. 19 an airstrike in Syria (presumably done by Israel) ended the bloody saga of Palestinian Liberation Front terrorist and Hezbollah commander Samir Kuntar. Kuntar didn’t murder thousands, as al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his followers did. Yet Kuntar was arguably even more emblematic of the evil that is Islamist terror.

On April 22, 1979, Kuntar took part in a terrorist raid ostensibly protesting the impending Egypt-Israel peace treaty. He stormed the seaside home of a young Israeli couple, Smadar and Danny Haran, seized Danny and the couple’s 4-year-old daughter Einat, and searched the house for additional victims while a terrified Smadar hid with the couple’s 2-year-old daughter Yael. Kuntar then took Danny and Einat outside. He shot Danny and then drowned him in front of his daughter, then slammed his rifle butt into the little girl’s head, crushing her skull against a rock and killing her. Kuntar also caused Einat’s sister’s death as well; Smadar accidentally suffocated her younger child while desperately trying to muffle the little girl’s cries as they hid. These horrific details made Kuntar a Palestinian hero and inspired more bloodshed.

In 1985 Palestinian terrorists hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro to ransom tourists for Kuntar’s release from prison. During the hijacking, the terrorists murdered Leon Klinghoffer, an elderly American-Jewish man in a wheelchair, and dumped his body into the Mediterranean Sea. In 2006 a cross-border raid by Hezbollah (likewise aimed at obtaining hostages to exchange for Kuntar) killed two Israelis and triggered the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. In 2008 Kuntar was freed in exchange for the Israelis’ bodies. Kuntar returned to Lebanon a hero and resumed terrorism.

Kuntar annihilated a family to protest peace and murdered a child with deliberate, incomprehensible savagery. He was a monster.

STEPHEN A. SILVER

San Francisco

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