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A Hero's Welcome 07/25/2008

Samir Kuntar

Samir Kuntar: Child murderer
and Middle East hero.


In 1979, Samir Kuntar traveled from Lebanon to Israel and broke into the apartment of Danny and Smadar Haran around midnight. Smadar and her 2-year-old daughter hid in the crawl space above the bedroom, but Danny and their 4-year-old daughter, Einat, were dragged away before police arrived. Kuntar and the others took the Israeli and his little girl down to the beach, where they shot Danny in front of his daughter. Then, according to evidence and eyewitnesses, Kuntar himself repeatedly smashed Einat's head against a rock with his rifle butt, killing her, too.

The grieving wife wrote later, "I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades." Kuntar was caught and sentenced not to death, but to 542 years behind bars -- multiple counts of life in prison.

In 1985, Abu Abbas led a cadre of men to hijack the cruise ship Achille Laura, famous because the terrorists threw the wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer overboard to sharpen their demands. Chief among their goals was the release of Samir Kuntar. (Interestingly, Abbas was later given safe haven in Baghdad by Saddam Hussein.) They did not succeed.

Just this month, however, Kuntar was freed from prison in an exchange of prisoners between Israel and Lebanon. The Israelis, pursuing their policy of leaving no soldiers behind, accepted the remains of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, the two reservists who were snatched by Hezbollah in a cross-border raid in 2006.

Note the difference: Israel's soldiers were dead; many of the Arabs were still alive. But the contrast goes disgustingly further.

In Israel, the young men were somberly buried. But in Lebenon, Kuntar strolled down a red carpet in Beirut as the government closed their offices and declared a national holiday. Tens of thousands of Lebanese cheered, waved flags, threw confetti, and set off fireworks to celebrate their "victory" over Israel. Mahmoud Abbas, the so-called moderate leader, spoke "blessings to Samir Kuntar's family." The Palestinian Authority announced "the return of the heroes of freedom...headed by the great Samir Kuntar."

They declared that the Fatah party "will continue to struggle in the way of the pure martyrs until the state is liberated and the Palestinian state is established with Jerusalem as its capital." In other words, the war to wipe Israel off the map continues. Kuntar himself vowed publicly, "I return from Palestine only to go back to Palestine." Since then, people have been journeying to Kuntar's home in the mountains of Lebanon to honor him. Parents bring their children to get a glimpse of the "hero" in the "struggle to destroy the Zionists."

This is the mindset we are facing in the Middle East. In America, a soldier who uses dogs to interrogate a suspected terrorist is labeled a "torturer," ridiculed in the media and hauled before a court. In Lebanon and other areas of religious and racial hatred, a man who smashes the skull of an innocent child is hailed as a hero. Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based television station that wields powerful media influence throughout the Middle East, actually held a party for Kuntar.

Far from promoting peace, the entire Middle East seems to be celebrating atrocities and vowing unending war. There is no remorse for the death of innocence. There is no value placed on life. Supernatural intervention is necessary to change this pervasive mindset, so Christians must faithfully pray for a spiritual awakening across the Arab nations.

It is difficult for the civilized world to comprehend the mentality of those who welcome a child murderer as a hero. It is understandable to question the wisdom of Israel's actions, but fault them (if you must) for valuing the lives of their people, even in death.

Above all, learn this lesson: Evil exists. There is a culture of death that threatens us all. We must remain vigilant to fight those who seek to kill the innocent. Certainly, we can honor those who have been lost in the conflict, but one of the most important things we can do is to vigilantly protect those of us who still love peace and life.

Join James as he seeks to preserve freedom’s blessings in his latest book The Soul of a Nation.

Author: James Robison

Word Count: 700

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.