Samir Kantar: Hero, Misunderstood Victim, or Something Else?Samir Kantar is free. Israel agreed to release him in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, captured by Hezbollah, who just happened to die after that.
You may not recognize the name Samir Kantar, but he's one of the great heroes of the Palestinian response to Israeli occupation.
The Battle of NahariyaIt was April 22, 1979. A crack team of Palestinian fighters made an amphibious landing on the northern shore of Israel, at Nahariya. Facing intense starlight and two Israeli policemen, they penetrated the defenses of a tactical apartment building, and secured prisoners.
Samir Kantar, single-handed, shot the father of a four-year-old girl while she watched. Then, showing bravery above and beyond the call of duty, he "smashed her skull against a rock with his rifle butt, killing her, too."
It's surprising that the Battle of Nahariya isn't more widely recognized and celebrated, but perhaps that's because the Jews control the news. Or, maybe traditional information gatekeepers don't quite know what to do about 'victims of oppression' who act the way Samir Kantar did.
Excuses and Common SenseYes, I know:
- Samir Kantar was 16 at the time
- Most Palestinians don't enjoy a prosperous lifestyle
- After Samir got caught (and not killed), allegedly he says he didn't do it.
- Witnesses say otherwise
- But they're probably Jews
- Witnesses say otherwise
I also know that the Israeli military has killed people who shouldn't have been killed. I'm not making excuses, but I think it's worth remembering that Israel isn't the group that's been blowing up
- Tactical markets and bus stops
- Strategic schools
- A command-and-control ice cream parlor
The sophisticated thing to do, these days, would be to write as if Hezbollah were pretty much the same as Israel, and that what Hezbollah does is pretty much like what Israel does. The term for that sort of thinking is moral equivalence, "defining distinct and conflicting moral behaviors in similar terms."
I must not be very sophisticated. I think that there is a difference between bulldozing buildings that are used as launching platforms for rockets, and blowing up markets with rockets launched from those buildings.
Terrorists Know: Persistence PaysI'll give Islamic terrorists credit: they haven't given up on trying to free Samir Kantar. One of the reasons that Abū ‘Abbās,AKA Muhammad Zaidan, AKA Muhammad ‘Abbās, arranged for the taking of the Achille Lauro, back in 1985, was to free Kantar.
Hijacking the Achille Lauro didn't get Kantar out, but at least the Islamic heroes rousing welcome when they took their prize into port.
At least they were able to machine-gun an old Jewish cripple, in a wheelchair. Later, Mr. ‘Abbās explained that the that the military action against Leon Klinghoffer was perfectly reasonable. He "created troubles. He was handicapped but he was inciting and provoking the other passengers. So the decision was made to kill him."
About Palestinians: I do have sympathy for these people, who keep picking such outstanding leaders.
I'd have more sympathy for Palestinians as a whole, if their best and bravest warriors weren't quite so proud of glorious victories over groceries, schools, and the occasional four-year-old girl.
Samir Kantar's release in the news:
- "Israeli Cabinet approves Hezbollah prisoner swap"
Chicago Tribune online edition (June 30, 2008)
- "Israel OKs Hezbollah prisoner deal"
CNN (June 29, 2008)
- "Lebanese to be freed in swap was sentenced in brutal 1979 attack in Israel's north"
International Herald Tribune (June 29, 2008)
- "Israeli prisoner swap 'shows Hezbollah's power' "
gulfnews.com (June 29, 2008)
- Moral equivalence
"Moral Equivalence, Prisoners, and Al Qaeda"
(July 21, 2007)
- Traditional information gatekeepers
"DC Gun Ban, Online Censorship, Individual Rights, and Power to the People"
(June 27, 2008)