Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Sad Day

How many people in this photo are still alive?

From left to right, the people in this photograph are Einat Haran (approximately age 4 in this picture), Danny Haran (approximately age 31) and Yael Haran (approximately age 2). This picture was probably taken in December 1977, probably on December 13th judging by the Chanukah menorah on the table. So guesses ready?

And what about the people in these photos?

On the right is Sergeant Ehud Goldwasser. On the left is Sergeant Eldad Regev. Both were kidnapped from Israel in a raid by Hezbollah terrorists on July 12, 2006.

No one in the above pictures are still alive. The Harran family memebers all died on the same day, April 22, 1979. Their mother wrote,
It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Nahariya, a city on the northern coast of Israel, about six miles south of the Lebanese border. Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists, sent by Abu Abbas from Lebanon, landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away. Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us as the terrorists burst into our building. They had already killed a police officer. As they charged up to the floor above ours, I opened the door to our apartment. In the moment before the hall light went off, they turned and saw me. As they moved on, our neighbor from the upper floor came running down the stairs. I grabbed her and pushed her inside our apartment and slammed the door.

Outside, we could hear the men storming about. Desperately, we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door to take refuge in an underground shelter when the terrorists came crashing into our flat. They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael, knowing there were more people in the apartment. 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. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. "This is just like what happened to my mother," I thought.

As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt.

By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her.
Who did this? Who caused a mother to have accidentally smother her daughter? Who chose to make a little girl watch her father be shot before having her head caved?

Apparently he is someone who has been hailed as "the hero" by President Abbas of the PA, and a "political prisoner" by others. Funny how that works. An American military service-member who accidentally kills civilians is branded a baby-killer. But kill a Jewish man and his daughter, and apparently they are a "hero" and a "political prisoner". I wonder how Natan Sharansky, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Ghandi, feels about lumped in with the likes of Samir Kuntar (pictured below in 1978 on the far left with mustache).

Samir Kuntar was captured after a shootout with Israeli police that claimed the life of one officer and two of Kuntar's compatriots. He, unfortunately, survived to stand trial in an Israeli court. Because Israeli law allows for the use of the death penalty for only two classes of convicts (those guilty of treason and those who are Nazis convicted of crimes against humanity during the Second World War), the maximum sentence possible was life. He was convicted and sentenced to 532 years.

In a recent letter, Kuntar wrote, "I give you my promise and oath that my only place will be in the fighting front soaked with the sweat of your giving and with the blood of the shahids, the dearest people, and that I will continue your way until we reach a full victory[.]" Sounds like a lack of remorse. The closest he has ever come to showing remorse for what he did was when he attempted to retract his confession that he had shot either Danny Haran or Einat Haran and that they were killed by friendly fire during the shoot-out with Israeli police. (Something contradicted by both the physical and eyewitness evidence.)

For almost 30 years, this murderer sat in an Israeli jail. While his victims lay in the ground, he earned a series of degrees, including a Ph.D.

And then today, in a misguided policy decision, the Israeli government of Ehud Olmert negotiated with terrorists. The result of those negotiations was a promise to return Sergeants Regev and Goldwasser (tho no promise as to their condition). In exchange, the Olmert government would hand over Kuntar, Khader Zidan, Maher Qurani, Mahmad Srour, and Hussein Sleiman (all Hezbollah members captured in action during the 2006 fighting), as well as the bodies of approximately 1,000 terrorists who had died either in Israeli jails or in attacks on Israeli civilians.

In exchange for the live terrorist criminals, Israel received,

Apparently the bodies were in such bad condition, they had to be identified forensically. They will recieve military burials soon. Unfortunately a third Israeli soldier may still be held as a hostage by the terrorists. Gilad Shalit may still be alive. But then again, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups have yet to turn back over a live Israeli soldier after taking them hostage alive.

Kuntar, on the other hand, was feted when he arrived back in Lebanon. According to Al-Jazeera, the murderer stated, "

I would like to thank God the almighty who gave this country this great resistance ... I would like to thank God for reaching this day, this day of victories...I returned today from Palestine but believe me I will not return until I go back to Palestine. ..."I promise my people and dear ones in Palestine that I and my dear comrades in the valiant Islamic resistance are returning.
In the West Bank and Gaza, there were celebrations and candy was given to children.

I think I preferred it when Israel did not negotiate with terrorists.

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