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Posted on Jul 16, 2008 in International, Israel, Party Politics

One of the few times I’ve disagreed with the Israeli government

Very rarely are there times where you’ll find me holding a position that is opposite to one that is held by the Israeli government, at least to the point where a blog post is in order. I firmly believe that Israel has been, and remains to be a great example of the power of democracy and one of the United States’ best friends. However, today Israel made a move that I have an extremely hard time comprehending.

In a deal that would bring back the bodies of two Israeli soldiers (1st Sgt. Ehud Goldwasser and Sgt. 1st Class Eldad Regev.), the Knesset agreed to release five militants they have been holding in their prisons. However, what was even more unique about this swap, was that one of the prisoners included Samir Kuntar, by far one of the most horrific murders I’ve ever heard of.

While I’m not a fan of gorey details, I do not believe it’s possible to understand my frustration without knowing more background on what landed Kuntar in prison. This is something that has received very little news attention here, but I think it’s an extremely important story.

From CNN.com:

A member of the Palestine Liberation Front, Kuntar led a group of four men who entered Israel from Lebanon by boat in 1979. They killed a police officer who came across them. Then they took a 28-year-old man and his 4-year-old daughter hostage.

Kuntar shot the father dead at close range in front of his daughter and tossed his body in the sea. He then smashed the girl’s head, killing her. In addition, a 2-year-old girl from the same family suffocated as her mother tried to stop her from crying while they hid during the violence.

Kuntar was sentenced to 542 years in prison.

In the United States, not only would this have landed you in an electric chair, but it also would have led to the first pay-per-view execution.

As an American, these actions made absolutely no sense to me. However, since I’m not an Israeli, I went and sought the opinion of someone who is there, knows the culture, and the rationale. The following is a reitiration of an online conversation with Tal Siach, Israeli blogger at Walyou.com.

If you want to know my thoughts, we the Israelis are very moral. To bring back dead bodies is important to us; they (the terorists) don’t care about it too much. They didn’t say if they’re alive or not until the last second and they made their family believe they are alive.

It’s not human whatsoever to me, Kontar killed someone and we let him go for bodies. As you can see its not an eye for an eye, I hate that, but you can do an eye for an eye with animals. I respect the families and happy their soldier will be buried in Israel, but on the same note sad for the mother who lost her son and her murderer is free now.

I don’t like the fact that the terrorists can think now that’s OK to not keep prisoners alive since dead bodies are value to us, and they know it, unlike them.

That is personally what i think.

I believe in peace and want it to happen, but there are ways every human been should act. How come we are bringing the prisoners alive, and not in coffins? Why do we keep them, feed them, and they kill ours.

me:  i read he got a college degree while in prison I’m guessing that was at your expense

For sure, we are very moral. The citizens pay for his stay, while the Hezbollah kills everything they see. Yeah , really they’re not humans, what the press is showing is not the truth; they bomb Israel.

There  are good people who do want peace in the Arab countries, I believe that. I have good friends here online, from Iran, too. But where democracy fails, it’s hard to get peace.”

While it’s extremely easy for me to illustrate my point of view, my frustration is nothing compared to what must be going through the minds of many Israeli’s today.

Even though I have a very limited number of readers in Isreal, to those who do read my blog, I encourage you to share your thoughts on this as well.

Again, a special thanks to Tal Siach for helping me get a better understanding of this. Please visit Tal’s blog here.