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Thursday, July 17, 2008

The immoral 'March 14 coalition'

On Wednesday, Israel returned mass murderer Samir al-Kuntar, four Hezbullah terrorists captured in the 2006 war with Lebanon and some 200 bodies of Arab terrorists, some of whom had high profiles. In return, it received two black boxes with the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev HY"D, both of whom (contrary to what at least one blogger posted) were apparently killed in the attack on their humvee two years ago. Israel also received another black box with body parts from the Second Lebanon War, and information of missing IDF navigator Ron Arad that showed nothing new.

In Lebanon, this 'exchange' touched off an orgy of celebration. Let's go to this CNN videotape, and then I will have a lot more.

Writing at Pajamas Media, Lisa Goldman, who has visited Lebanon and has many Lebanese friends, says that not everyone in Lebanon was happy about yesterday's events.

In fact, there is ample evidence to show that not all Lebanese are cheering the return of Samir Kuntar.

Comments from Lebanese reader in response to the Naharnet report of the national celebrations are contemptuous, with many describing Kuntar as a child killer and a disgrace to Lebanon. Lebanese blogger Abu Kais quotes an editorial published on the Now Lebanon site:

The prisoner swap is not the whole deal, just the final clause. Conveniently forgotten are the reams of gory appendices in a much larger and bloodier contract written out almost exactly two years ago, with all of Lebanon as collateral. Indeed, the full audit is still ongoing.

How much is the Resistance’s pledge worth? Add to the two Israeli bodies the bodies of 1,200 Lebanese civilians, nearly 400 of them children under the age of 13, sacrificed by Hezbollah to secure Kantar’s return. Add to that the 4,400 wounded civilians, of whom almost 700 are permanently disabled. Add to that those killed and wounded, most of them children, by the cluster bombs still littering large swaths of South Lebanon. Add to that the billions of dollars in destroyed homes, infrastructure and livelihoods.

In the final tally, Kantar - whose alleged taste for violence far exceeds the remit of the typical heroic freedom fighter - is a very expensive man. For make no mistake, his release is the sole profit weighed against the thousands of Lebanese dead and wounded. The four other Lebanese prisoners to be released were themselves captured on his account during the July War, and the number and names of the Palestinians to be freed are entirely at Israel’s discretion.

So Kantar will be freed, and Hezbollah’s word is once again proven to be Lebanon’s bond. We hope and pray that any Lebanese prisoners still held in Israeli jails come at a cheaper price in the future. If each is as expensive as Mr. Kantar has been, they may find themselves heroically repatriated to a desolate wasteland.

And rather than comment directly, Lebanese blogger Jeha posts a poem that “welcomes” a “child killer.”

Daled Amos points out another instance of disgust in the Lebanese blogosphere over what happened on Wednesday.
Now Lebanon notes that with all of Nasrallah's bragging about his accomplishment, the fact remains that Nasrallah has failed to address the issue of captured Lebanese:

While Lebanon celebrates becoming “the first Arab country in the Israeli-Arab struggle to close its detainee file,” as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah put it in a July 3 speech, many Lebanese still languish in Syrian prisons.

The exact number of prisoners and detainees is not known, and Syrian authorities have a history of keeping silent on the issue. During the civil war, approximately 17,000 people disappeared. Following the war, the arrest and disappearance of those expressing opposition to Syria’s continued presence was common.

Unfortunately, countries don't do business with bloggers - they do business with other countries. Noah Pollak (who has also been to Lebanon) points out at Contentions that for the Lebanese state, support for Kuntar was across the board. Even Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who has been rumored to have met with Israelis, came out to greet mass murderer Kuntar yesterday.

Today, Lebanon’s March 14th movement cast itself into an abyss of moral depravity that the bloc’s supporters — myself included — never thought possible. The exchange this morning of bodies for terrorists between Israel and Hezbollah presented March 14’s leaders with what should have been an easy choice: applaud the return to Lebanon of a grotesque child-murderer; say nothing; or denounce him and Hezbollah’s freelance deal-making, which made his return possible.

Two of March 14th’s leaders — Fouad Siniora, the Sunni prime minister of Lebanon, and Walid Jumblatt, the leader of Lebanon’s Druze, both of whom are embraced as American allies — have answered that question not just by acquiescing to the return of Samir Kuntar, whose sadistic butchery of an Israeli family in 1979 is infamous, but by celebrating his arrival as a great victory for all of Lebanon.
Beirut Spring tries to explain Jumblatt's support for Kuntar as being a reflection of Lebanese politics:

So why is Mr. Jumblat, the darling of Washington –and the only major Lebanese politician who publicly denounced Hezbollah’s “militia” as terrorists– risking his and Lebanon’s international reputations by so effusively embracing Mr. Kuntar and by instructing his loyalists to celebrate his release?

The answer lies in the Druze community which he leads and to which Mr. Kuntar belongs. (To all those of you who though he was a Shiaa, correct your notes)

Mr. Jumblat realized back when Hezbollah invaded Beirut and attempted to invade the mountains, that the small Druze community could be facing an existential threat from the Shiaas, who in taking their cue from Mr. Nassrallah’s very public and harsh denouncement of Mr. Jumblat, have come to look to the Druze as a Judeo-American fifth column. In Samir Kuntar, Mr. Jumblat saw a powerful symbol to remind everyone of the “Druze’s history in Arab resistance”, as he told the BBC’s Bennett Jones.

By this posturing, Mr. Jumblat can strike two birds in one stone: He can undermines the perception of Shiaa monopoly on resistance and reduce the heat on his community, and he can open the door for a potential electoral alliance with Hezbollah in the upcoming elections (a far fetched wish, but can’t stop a politician from dreaming).

Sorry, but no. If Lebanon wants the support of the 'international community,' it should have nothing to do with the 'resistance,' a euphamism for the struggle against Israel's existence. If Jumblatt is pandering to the 'resistance,' he doesn't deserve American support.

Pollak believes that Siniora's and Jumblatt's depraved behavior ought not to go unnoticed in the United States. He argues that the US ought to re-evaluate its commitment to the 'March 14 coalition.'
All of this is not just disgraceful, but should trigger nothing less than a crisis in U.S.-Lebanon relations. If being a safe haven for child-murderers is something the Lebanese prime minister considers a “national goal,” the United States should reevaluate its support for Lebanon’s government, which both rhetorically and symbolically has made itself an ally of Hezbollah in defining Lebanon as a state which exults in terrorism against Israel. Such a crisis in relations will not happen, of course, and it is perversely ironic that on the same day the Lebanese government was popping corks with Hezbollah, the Bush administration announced an increase of over $32 million in aid to the Lebanese army.
If anyone reading this happens to be a reporter who attends State Department briefings, I'd be real curious to hear what Condi's spokesperson has to say about Siniora and Jumblatt joining in the celebrations. It ought to make the US reconsider its support for March 14 - at least until it has a real change in attitude.

Read the whole thing.


At 11:11 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - C'mon - do you really expect Arab hatred of Jews and Israel to disappear in our lifetime? I take that's a rhetorical question. The gulf between Arab and Jewish values is simply too wide to bridge. I'm not even mentioning the "I believe in nothing" post Zionist outlook of Israel's present ruling elite.

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Not to downplay the significance of these dissenting Lebanese voices, but don't you think that calling less than a dozen sources "ample evidence" is a bit of an exaggeration?

To put what I am trying to get at in perspective:

According to Wikipedia, there has not been an official census in Lebanon since 1932. Still conservative population estimates place the population at 3.8 million.

That means that if only a half-of-one-percent of Lebanon's population was disgusted enough by the "welcome home party" thrown for Kuntar spoke up, we would be talking about 16,000 voices. If only a quarter-of-a-percent (that's .25 of 1-percent) it would be 8,000.....

Ample evidence?! I am just asking for a bit of rational perspective here....

At 3:14 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

And that says what? Most of the Germans backed Hitler and the few who defended the Jews were isolated voices in a world filled with evil. If Jews learn anything from what happened in Lebanon, they do best to have nothing to with Arabs who hate them and only want to see them exterminated. G-d has placed all of Israel on notice and I repeat again: nothing in the world is random. Nothing. Hashem is everywhere.


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