Jerusalem – The Israeli cabinet approved a prisoner exchange that would free Samir Kantar and several other convicts in exchange for the bodies of Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who were kidnapped and later executed by Hezbollah in 2006.
Mr. Kantar, who crushed the head of 4-year-old Eynat Haran with his rifle, is serving four life sentences for murder of the Haran family in 1979. Besides bludgeoning 4-year-old Eynat Haran to death with rocks and his rifle, Mr. Kantar killed her father and was responsible for the death of her 2-year-old sister. He also killed two policemen in that 1979 terror attack in Naharia.
In the village of Abiya in Lebanon, the deal between Israel and Hezbollah was not received with mixed feelings.
The logistical preparations for Mr. Kantar’s return have also begun. Hezbollah wants to turn this difficult day into a festive one: Hundreds of Hezbollah flags will fly in the Dahiya quarter, and huge photos of Mr. Kantar will be hung. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah himself, huge pictures of whom will also be hung, is expected to mark the day of the release with a taped speech in which he will stress: “The deal reconfirms Israel’s defeat in the Second Lebanon War.”
“During the 30 years of his imprisonment, I did not lose hope even once,” said Umm Samir, who was interviewed on Sunday on Hezbollah’s television channel. Mr. Kantar’s brother Bassam, who conducted the media campaign for his release, heaped praises upon Hezbollah Secretary General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, “whose every word is a word, and a promise is a promise.”
Palestine Media Watch, PMW, which provides reports of the official Palestinian Authority media, controlled by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, displayed a banner in honor of Mr. Kantar on official Palestinian Authority TV this week and depicted Mr. Kantar standing beside a map of Israel that is completely covered over by the Palestinian flag.
PMW has quoted PA leaders in the official PA media, since April, lavishing praise on Mr. Kantar with expressions such as:
* “Samir Kantar, the warrior from Lebanon.”
* “The brave warrior, Samir Kantar.”
* “The Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership are standing behind you (Kantar).”
* “You (Kantar) are an inseparable part of the action to free our homeland.”
* “Your (Kantar’s) patience and strength are a lesson for us.”
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008