Thursday, January 31, 2008

Upside Down in New Zealand

There have been some comments sent in which read as if the commenter didn't realize we agree with them; that's why the entry is entitled "Upside Down in New Zealand." As we note in our original introduction, the writer of the article is either ignorant or anti-Semitic. We suggest writing to him and asking. One may send an email to him via the form at

The following story was published in The New Zealand Herald. We leave it to the reader to decide whether the writer is motivated by hate or is simply incredibly ignorant. We do include some comments in brackets.

West stands by while a whole population is illegally jailed

By Matt McCarten

After this week, does anyone doubt that Israel is a terrorist state? Our televisions couldn't hide the truth last week that 1 1/2 million civilians are imprisoned behind walls Israel has built around them. The entire Gaza population is cut off from the world, with no one permitted to leave or enter their compound. All goods, including oil, have been cut. The entire population is starving and without electricity.

[Rather than criticize the factual errors and distortions in the above paragraph, we will simply repeat everything in it that is true.

If you didn't see anything repeated, that's because there isn't anything in the paragraph that's true.]

This imprisonment follows a decision by Israel to collectively punish Palestinian civilians. The reason is that members of the Gaza resistance - mainly Hamas militants - have been causing a nuisance by lobbing home-made missiles over the prison wall into Israel. Damage is minimal but the Israeli Government and its military are embarrassed by these acts of public defiance.

[One wonders precisely what the Hamastan terrorists are resisting, given the fact that they are totally free of Israeli control.

Isn't there a bit of inconsistency in simultaneously demanding Israel completely leave Gaza (as it has), bombarding Israeli civilians with thousands of Kassams, demanding that Israel supply food and fuel to the very terrorists launching the Kassams, and supporting the Arab boycott of Israel?]

What Israel doesn't admit is that its military constantly carries out air raids and "surgical strikes" that kill and maim hundreds of Palestinian civilians, with the blessing of the US administration. The world takes the word of the Israeli Government when it claims it is targeting militants. When innocent victims, including children, are killed and maimed that is accepted as collateral damage.

[When terrorists operate from civilian areas, as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the various Fatah-affiliated groups do, they are both in violation of the Geneva conventions and responsible for any resultant civilian casualties.]

Television shots last week showing tens of thousands of Palestinians civilians streaming into Egypt through holes blown through the wall that encircles Gaza shows Israel's huge crime against the Palestinian people.

[Hmm. Streaming into Egypt! Obviously, if they were being prevented from going into Egypt, it must have been Egypt preventing them from going into Egypt. Why isn't McCarten blasting Egypt for locking up the Palestinian Arabs, especially since it's the Israelis, not the Egyptians, that those Palestinian Arabs keep attacking?]

One of the chilling crimes committed by the Nazis when occupying Poland was walling off a large part of the city of Warsaw, forcing all Jews into it.

Inside these walls there was a Jewish resistance that ran attacks against its jailers. The Nazi occupiers took retaliation by carrying out collective punishment against the civilian population, which included shelling, assassinating their leaders and cutting off supplies.

What's the next move for Israeli leaders? They could have to follow the example of the Nazis who in the end massacred everyone inside the compound.

[Aha! The Zionism = Nazism libel! Mazal tov, McCarten!]

Last year former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was appointed by President Bush to bring peace to the Palestinians. There has been a defining silence from Blair and Bush on Israel's atrocities.

[Perhaps if Israel committed any, they would be more vocal. Where, however, is McCarten's voice on the Palestinian Arab atrocities?]

Every time damage is inflicted by Palestinian bombs tossed over the wall, there are stern pronouncements from the rest of the world that the elected Hamas leaders must stop their population carrying out this mischief. However, these same people are silent when the Israeli military bombs and maims Palestinians in retaliation. Then we wonder why the Palestinians hate us for our hypocrisy.

[Yes. Obviously, Israel should do nothing while the Arab terrorists murder Jews for the crime of ... being Jews.]

The only thing we have heard about Blair since his appointment as peace envoy is that he has converted to Catholicism. I wonder if he considers the irony of him joining the Church that led crusader invasions of Palestine, which caused a lot of the antagonism between Muslims and Christians.

His last diplomatic act in the area was supporting Israel's invasion of Lebanon after a soldier was kidnapped. The Hizbollah still has its hostage and peace is even more elusive than it was then. What the captors want is to swap their handful of Israeli prisoners for people who have been illegally kidnapped and wallow in Israeli prisons. Israel holds more than 6000 people who have been kidnapped or detained without being charged, let alone convicted, of any crime. Some of them are publicly elected officials and representatives.

[Israel, as is both its right and its obligation, has defended itself against Arab terrorists. Hizbollah doesn't just want to swap the innocent Israeli it illegally kidnapped and is holding in violation of international law, even preventing neutral groups such as the International Red Cross from confirming whether Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are still alive, for a handful of their terrorists; they want to destroy Israel.]

Israel often sends in assassins to murder its opponents - the world is silent when these executions and murders are carried out. When was the last time Hamas murdered an Israeli politician? Never.

[Under the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority was obligated to turn over terrorists to Israel. Since the PA reneged on that obligation, as they have reneged on all their obligations, Israel doesn't have an alternative to going after the terrorists itself.

Technically, Rehavam Zeevi, the last Israeli Cabinet minister who was assassinated by Arab terrorists, was murdered by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. However, there are so many different Arab terrorists groups and they all cooperate so much with each other that it doesn't make much difference.

If it had been Hamas which had been directly rather than indirectly involved, McCarten probably would have written "When was the last time the PFLP murdered an Israeli politician? Never."]

In the final days of Bush's presidency he is desperate to do something right. During his recent visit to the Middle East he said he was there to help win a peaceful outcome for Israel and Palestine. It's a lie of course. His rhetoric was all about rarking up the leaders of the Western client states to try to get their support for bombing Iran into oblivion.

He released a tape of the Iranian Navy threatening US warships on the eve of his visit, but within days it was proved to be a hoax. That didn't stop Bush claiming Iran was now the real evil that had to be destroyed. It's not lost on anyone that the only threat to Israel for hegemony in the region is Iran.

[McCarten must be privy to information nobody else in the world is privy to.]

While all these games go on a whole people are walled in by a military state. Unless the world tells the truth about the terror against the Palestinian people, peace in the Middle East will never happen.

The truth is Israel is a terrorist state and is able to wage crimes on an innocent people because it is funded and abetted by the world's only superpower. Watching the television images of the Palestinians breaking through to freedom surely must make everyone in the world realise we are being sold a great lie about Israel wanting to negotiate peace.

The last place to have a wall that imprisoned a people was Berlin. The then US President Ronald Reagan created a defining moment in world history when he called for the wall to come down.

What we have now is a US president helping fund the Gaza wall. It's an atrocity.

[The Palestinian Arabs keep complaining they want another state of their own. Implicit in statehood are borders which one my not legally cross without the approval of the governments on either side. The existence of a physical barrier does not change that. Hence, complaining about the existence of the existing physical barrier, which was put in place to save lives, amounts to arguing against the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state.]


Anonymous said...

I tried to follow your link and met a "this story is inactive" message. So, looks like you frightened them off by blinding the writer with the truth!

The hatred of our western culture, in particular of Israel and America, and of politicians such as Tony Blair sickens and disturbs me.

I really DO wonder why the simple-minded constantly fail to see the evil that Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda do. They only see the injury done to the relevant peoples there, and somehow conclude that if the west was not involved, everything would be hunky dory.

CRAZY stuff.

Sadly there are few people in the world today who can ride above this, and help us understand who are the goodies and who are the baddies. This is largely due to western liberal intelligentsia's denial of the facts, imho.

It happens all the time here in the UK, where it takes a brave man to stand up and say - "no, hang on a minute ..."

The last one we had in the UK with that kind of guts was booted out by his own colleagues.

Matt McCarten, LEARN YOUR FACTS BETTER!!! said...

Matt McCarten,
"The Hizbollah still has its hostage and peace is even more elusive than it was then. What the captors want is to swap their handful of Israeli prisoners for people who have been illegally kidnapped and wallow in Israeli prisons."
mmmmmmm??? Well did you know that in 2004 Israel released ALL its Lebanese prisoners EXCEPT for ONE prisoner in specific by the name of Samir Kuntar! Why is Israel SOOOOOOOO stubborn on releasing Kuntar??? REad the article to learn your facts better:

The Murder of Jewish Toddlers!

On July 12, 2006 Lebanese Hezbollah militants crossed the border with Israel in an operation dubbed "Operation Truthful Promise," which was aimed at nabbing Israeli soldiers in exchange for Lebanese prisoners. Hezbollah succeeded in the operation and successfully took hostage two Israeli soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. During the operation, eight Israeli soldiers were killed. This ignited the sequence of events which led to the Israel/Lebanon summer war.

The story goes further back than July of 2006. It really began in April 1979! On Sabbath day, April 22, 1979, Danny and Smadar Haran met up with a monster named Samir Kuntar.

Danny and Smadar were a loving Israeli couple. They had everything they could ever hope for... love, marriage and two precious daughters, Einat, 4 and Yael, 2. That day Smadar was home anticipating Danny's return from work and preparing for the Sabbath. She had just picked up their two toddlers from day care. Danny, on the other hand, was looking forward to nothing more than getting home and spending time with his wife and his two young daughters.
Traditionally, the Sabbath is the most special day of the week, the day the family gets to spend time together and celebrate their bond to Judaism. It was especially important for Danny who, as a young father, had to work extra hard in order to provide for his wife and young children. Little did Smadar know that this would be the last Sabbath she would celebrate with her family because of a man named Samir Kuntar. Around midnight the nightmare began!

(Samir Kuntar; also spelled: Sameer Kuntar, Kantar, Qantar, Kintar, Quntar, Qintar, Cantar)
What's the deal with Samir Kuntar?

Since April 22, 1979 Samir Kuntar has been incarcerated in an Israeli prison. Samir Kuntar, a Druze from the Lebanese mountain village of Aabey , who currently holds the dubious distinction of being the longest held Lebanese prisoner in Israeli jails. Kuntar is currently ONE of THREE Lebanese prisoners still serving time in Israeli jails. Kuntar was convicted and sentenced to a 542 years prison sentence by the state of Israel . Israel even almost tried to pass a bill to have him executed! What did he do? What was his crime? The crime Kuntar committed was one of the most sickest, heinous, barbaric crime ever committed on Israeli soil.

The crime took place on April 22, 1979 when Kuntar led a group of 3 other terrorists, all members of Abu Abbas PLF (Palestinian Liberation Front), infiltrated the Israeli coastal city of Naharya and broke into the Haran family apartment and took Danny Haran and his 4 year old daughter Einat Haran hostage. When Kuntar and his gang broke into the apartment, the wife, Smadar Haran and her 2 year old daughter Yael, were also present in the apartment. Smadar managed to find a crawl space into which she, her younger daughter, 2 year old Yael, and a neighbor all hid. To prevent Yael from crying and giving away their hiding place, Smadar covered the child's mouth with her hand.
Kuntar and his group took Danny and little Einat down to the beach. At the beach Kuntar shot Danny in the back. Danny survived the gun shot but moments later was drowned personally by Kuntar. All this was witnessed by the young daughter. Kuntar forced her to watch her father's murder so that [in Kuntar's words] "his death would be the last sight she would ever see." Kuntar then laid the little toddler down on a rock and smashed her head with the butt of his rifle. She didn’t die right away, so Kuntar beat her with his rifle repeatedly, over and over again (all this done, while she was screaming and crying), to ensure that she was dead.

Meanwhile in the apartment, Smadar's attempt to muffle her daughter's whimpering proved fatal. Yael was accidentally suffocated and died within the hiding space.

And on July 12, 2006, the ONLY reason why Ehud Goldawasser and Eldad Regev were kidnapped by Hezbollah, was to force Israel to release/surrender Samir Kuntar.

Now the dilemma is, should Israel release Samir Kuntar in order to gain the release of Goldwasser and Regev? Unfortunately Kuntar might be freed in the next couple of days in exchange for these two soldiers, or their caskets, since there hasn’t been even one sign of life since their kidnapping on July 12th. For those who didn’t know, Samir Kuntar was the only reason that’s been holding back the release of Goldwasser and Regev, for almost a year and a half.

According to Smadar Haran, her last memories of Danny and Einat, that day, were when they were being led away at gun point by Kuntar. She could hear from her closet space Danny telling Einat, "Don't be scared, my baby, it will be alright" and Einat replied to him in her little voice, "Dad, where is Mommy? I want Mommy." Smadar's last memory of her 2-year-old daughter, Yael, was when her little daughter was taken to the apartment hiding space. Right before Yael had her mouth covered by her mother, she asked her mother "Where is my little pacifier." There was no time to search for the pacifier. Minutes later Smadar covered Yael's mouth to keep her from revealing the hiding space. Smadar soon felt her daughter's tiny tongue licks and lip sucking on the palm of her hand. She didn't know what to make of it at first but hours later was told by doctors and paramedics that the reason Yael was licking her palm while she covered her mouth was because she was gasping for air.

A Sad Gruesome Reality

After drowning Danny in the sea in front of little Einat, Kuntar, the brave Lebanese freedom fighter, then turned his attention towards the frightened little 4-year old. He took his rifle and then swung it across the little toddler's head, knocking her to the ground. As little Einat was knocked to the ground, she was screaming and crying hysterically "mommy daddy help me," while thrashing her little legs around in the sand. But unfortunately Einat was alone, and no one was there to save her. Kuntar then dragged the little toddler a couple of feet to the closest rock he could find, this was while she was begging him not to hurt her. Kuntar, then laid her head down on a rock, with the intention of crushing it with the butt of his rifle. Einat, instinctively covered her head with her little arms, Kuntar struggled with the little toddler until he finally managed to clear her arms out of the way so that he could aim for her head. Once her arms were out of the way, Kuntar proceeded on beating her on the head over and over with the butt of his rifle, and repeatedly stomping on her little body as hard as he could as well, until blood rushed out of her ears and mouth, and her little cries faded away as she was knocked into unconsciousness. Then, to ensure she was dead, Kuntar continued on beating her over the head, as hard as he could, several more times until her skull was crushed and she was dead.

The nerve of Hezbollah to honor a child killer like Kuntar. The nerve of Hezbollah to kidnap two Israeli soldiers in order to force Israel to release a child murderer from jail! This is what Hezbollah is all about.

The July 12, 2006 abduction was originally named "Operation Freedom Samir Kuntar," by Hezbollah. But days before the kidnapping Hezbollah changed the name of the operation to "Operation Truthful Promise," due to the fact that Nasrallah made a true promise to the family of Samir Kuntar to have him freed from jail.

In September 2000, three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbollah, along with an Israeli businessman, Elhanan Tennenbaum. Nasrallah immediately demanded Israel release all its Lebanese prisoners INCLUDING Samir Kuntar. In 2004 Israel was holding a TOTAL of 26 Lebanese prisoners. That same year, 23 out of those 26 prisoners were released, in order to secure the release of those 3 IDF (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers as well and Elhanan Tennenbaum. This prisoner exchange also had a second phase, which involved Hezbollah providing solid evidence on the fate of Ron Arad (the Israeli pilot who went missing in Lebanon in 1986) and in exchange, Israel would release the 24th Lebanese prisoner, Samir Kuntar! Hezbollah failed to deliver the information on Arad, and the deal was off.

In 2006, when Goldwasser and Regev were kidnapped Israel was out of bargain chips, its only choice in order to gain information on the fate of these two soldiers is the release Samir Kuntar. Who even knows if Goldwasser and Regev are alive! Let’s not forget, the four years prior to the "infamous Israel-Hezbollah prisoner exchange of 2004," Israel had no idea on the fate of their soldiers until the day of the exchange. Only on the day of the exchange Israel found out, they would receive 3 caskets instead of 3 soldiers.
It is beyond sickening, a man who beat to death a little toddler is celebrated for his glorious deed. Kuntar has been dubbed by some parts of the Arab world as the "Dean of World Prisoners." Who would imagine? Hezbollah crossing the border into Israel, killing four Israeli soldiers and kidnapping 2 more, going through all this trouble, JUST to free a child killer!

There is another point worth mentioning. Hezbollah has never claimed that Kuntar was innocent or that he may have been framed. They only demand his release as if he were being held unlawfully and that Israel had no right to imprison him.

Kuntar is probably the most hated person by the Israeli public. He is known as the "killer of Nahrya" instead of "terrorist of Nahrya." And to think that this person is being released under the context of threat, extortion, and blackmail! If it wasn’t for kidnapping of soldiers, Kuntar would have continued to serve out his sentence.
Israel has an extensive history of releasing prisoner with blood on their hands, it has been done in the past and most expect that, it would happen again. This time with Kuntar. It is important to keep in mind that prisoners who are in Israeli jails are serving time for something. Israel is not a "gangster" or "lawless" state that imprisons people based solely on a whim. Every prisoner was charged, stood trail, convicted and properly sentenced. They were not kidnapped simply because they were Arabs. Hence, there is no justification in comparing the kidnapped Israeli soldiers to Samir Kuntar.

There is a fine line between a humanitarian release of prisoners or releasing prisoners for the sake of peace AND knuckling under to unadulterated extortion. There is also a huge difference between someone with hatred in his head and he who has blood on his hands! Nobody expects that someone like Kuntar who is released will become Lovers of Israel! But someone and others like Kuntar who have committed murder or collaborated in the planning of that murder should be considered an unacceptable risk. It goes beyond forgiving terrorism. It becomes an abetting in any future terrorism carried out by those released. Israel will viewed as a weak state that can be brought to its knees by extortion.

If Israel was to release Kuntar it would be the biggest thing they ever surrendered! The Sinai Peninsula, Israel gave back under negotiations, the West Bank and Gaza Israel also gave back under negotiations of the Oslo Accords. In 1985 during the famous "Ahmed Jibril Exchange" Israel released 1200 prisoners for the release of 3 IDF soldiers, some of those prisoners who were released had blood on their hands including Kozo Okamoto who killed 22 Israelis. BUT even all those 1200 prisoners put together, cannot compare to the savage murderous act committed by Samir Kuntar. Israel also currently holds 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, some of which have been incarcerated for conspiring, carrying out, and masterminding murderous terrorist attacks (suicide bombings, shootings, etc…), which targeted Jewish civilians in Israel. BUT even all those 10,000 prisoners put together cannot compare to Kuntar.
Kuntar could have shot little Einat or blown her up, but instead he took his loaded gun and just bludgeoned her on the head repeatedly for several minutes until she was dead! Lets not also forget, the fact, that several minutes prior to murdering Einat, Kuntar drowned her father in front of her, and forced her to watch.
Anyone, who reads this article and does not shed a tear, is not a human being.

What kind of country is this to release a child murderer from jail under the context of threat and extortion? If we release Kuntar, we know what message it sends to Hezbollah and other terror groups like Hamas, etc… But what obscene messages does it send to the families of those Israeli murdered, especially Smadar Haran whose daughter was beaten to death by a man who hates Jews. What Kuntar did was not only a terrorist act but should also be considered a criminal act. And what demoralizing message does it send to the Israeli troops and security services who risked their lives in order to capture and arrest the terrorists?

There is no doubt that Goldwasser and Regev need to be unconditionally released from Lebanon, Syria, Iran or from wherever they are now being held. Olmert's "good will gesture" has disaster written all over it. Appeasement didn't work with Hitler and it will not work with Hezbollah. "Negotiations" will not work either for over what exactly is there to negotiate? How far will Israel go to assure its own disappearance?

There will be nothing positive coming out of the release of Kuntar. There is no worst context of releasing prisoners than under the context of threat. But today October 15, 2007 there is chatter within Israel to drop the demand for Ron Arad for the exchange of Kuntar.

The Official Website of Samir Kuntar

Israel moots Kuntar prisoner swap
(AL-JAZEERA 9/17/2006)

Free the monster Samir Kuntar
(Haaretz article 09/04/2006)

Plot to free terrorist (Kuntar) may have led to fight
(Washington Times 8/8/2006)

Nasrallah says no deal without Samir
(9/12/2006 BBC article "Nasrallah Demands Militant Free")

"Hizballah Wants Israel to Free Child-Killer"
(Cybercast News Service, 7/18/2006)

More than 25 years later, militant still atop Hezbollah's list for swap
(Seattle Times 8/16/2006)

Why Hezbollah Attacked Israel
(Mens News Daily 8/09/2006)

Samir Kuntar to be released very soon
The Jerusalem Post 1/6/2007

Video of an interview with Smadar Haran on CBC
(RealPlayer required)

Cedars1559 said...

Dispelling more false myths about Lebanese prisoners:

and make sure you check out this site, and watch the youtube video on it in the middle of the page:

Also check out this video:

Please also read this article, and retract your comments about Hizbollah being justified on kidnapping the 2 Israeli soldiers in order to have Israel release Lebanese prisoners:

Hizballah Wants Israel to Free Child-Killer
By Patrick Goodenough International Editor
July 18, 2006

( - The Arab prisoner that Hizballah wants Israel to release in exchange for two abducted Israeli soldiers, is serving multiple life sentences for killing a four-year-old girl with a rifle butt.

Samir Kuntar is one of only two or three Lebanese prisoners still held by Israel, and Hizballah said its July 12 assault is aimed at winning his freedom.

The terrorists killed eight Israeli soldiers and seized Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, taking them back over the border. Their whereabouts and condition remain unknown.

The Shi'ite group dubbed the raid Operation True Promise (Al-Wa'ad Al-Sadeq), saying it was making good on an earlier pledge to continue to capture Israeli soldiers and use them to obtain the release of the remaining Lebanese in Israeli jails.

Since the raid, the conflict has escalated, with Israel launching an air assault on Lebanese infrastructure and Hizballah targets and Hizballah firing hundreds of missiles into Israel.

The fighting and loss of life have swung some attention away from the hostage issue, and Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in an address late last week that "the battle today is no longer a battle over prisoners or the exchange of prisoners."

Nonetheless, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during a televised address to the nation Monday night that he kept photographs of Goldwasser and Regev - along with one of another soldier, Gilad Shalit, kidnapped by Hamas in a June raid across the Gaza-Israel frontier - on his desk as a daily reminder of his mission.

"We will do everything in our power to ensure their safe release and bring them back home," he said.

In past years, Israel has succeeded in winning freedom for captured soldiers, or the return of missing soldiers' remains, but only by negotiating exchanges involving large numbers of Arab prisoners.

In the most recent of these highly controversial swaps, in January 2004, Israel handed over more than 400 Lebanese and Palestinian detainees in return for one Israeli businessman and the bodies of three soldiers abducted along the Lebanon border in 2000.

That exchange left just two Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails - Kuntar and a man named Nasim Nesser. (Lebanon claims a third man, named as Yehya Sekaf, is also being held, although Israel denies this.)

Lebanese media refer to Kuntar as the "dean" of Lebanese prisoners in Israel. He has been in prison for 28 years, and Hizballah wants him out.

Although Kuntar was jailed for an attack launched by a Lebanon-based Palestinian terrorist group before Hizballah was even established, Hizballah depicts itself as the vanguard of the Islamic campaign against Israel and regards winning freedom for the prisoners a "sacred duty."

A website set up by family members says Kuntar was jailed "for killing several Israelis in a raid on northern Israel."

Israeli media and eyewitness accounts of the incident provide much more detail. Kuntar was one of a four-man group that crossed into Israel by sea, sent on the mission by the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), an affiliate of Yasser Arafat's PLO.

In the coastal town of Nahariya, the terrorists shot dead a policeman and forced their way into an apartment building, where they captured Danny Haran and his daughter, Einat, 4.

While the terrorists rampaged through the apartment, firing weapons and detonating grenades, Haran's wife Smadar hid in a crawlspace above the couple's bedroom together with their other daughter, two-year-old Yael, and a neighbor.

In an effort to prevent Yael from crying out and alerting the terrorists to their whereabouts, Smadar kept her hand over the child's mouth, and accidentally smothered her to death.

Meanwhile Kuntar and his group took Danny and Einat Haran 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," Smadar wrote later.

"Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar."

Strategic mistake

Israeli police shot dead two of the terrorists. Kuntar and the remaining man were tried and imprisoned. The other man was released as part of a May 1985 prisoner exchange - 1,150 Arab terrorists for three Israeli prisoners-of-war held in Lebanon - but Kuntar was not included in the deal.

Several months later, the PLF seized the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship, demanding that Israel release Kuntar, along with other Palestinian prisoners. The hijackers killed a wheelchair-bound American Jewish passenger, Leon Klinghoffer.

Kuntar remains in jail and has been hailed as a hero among Israel's enemies. The Palestinian Authority last March announced it was giving the Lebanese-born prisoner honorary Palestinian citizenship.

Hizballah repeatedly has agitated for the release of Kuntar, and after the January 2004 prisoner exchange, vowed not to rest until it had done so.

Addressing a large Shi'ite gathering last February, Nasrallah declared: "We are working on making this year the year to free our brothers in Israeli detention - Samir Kantar and his friends."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has made it clear that Israel will not back down this time - but so has Nasrallah.

At a press conference in Beirut's southern suburbs last week, reported on Hizballah's website, he said of the Israelis: "What do they want us to do? Hand over the soldiers and apologize? What kind of world are they living in?"

Israelis remember the huge controversy sparked by the 2004 prisoner exchange, brokered by Germany.

An opinion poll by the Ma'ariv daily found the country split down the center - 44 percent of respondents favored the exchange while 43 percent were opposed.

As the debate raged, Ely Karmon of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism wrote that it would be a strategic mistake.

"Hizballah will be strengthened politically, psychologically and, in the final analysis, strategically, too. It will strengthen Hizballah inside Lebanon, in the Palestinian arena, and in the Muslim world, and thereby turn it into a model for admiration and imitation."

Rabbi David Golinkin, president of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, associated with the Jewish Conservative movement, commented on the "lopsided" prisoner exchange from a religious perspective.

After exploring the Jewish concept of "pidyon shvuyim" (the redemption of captives) and arguments by scholars about the value of life and the importance of ransoming those held captive, he concluded that "the public takes precedence over the individual, even if this endangers the individual."

"Exchanging hundreds or thousands of terrorists for one Israeli encourages kidnapping of Israelis, and frees hundreds or thousands of terrorists who will pick up their weapons and attack Israel," Golinkin said.

"In other words, it endangers the public and should not be done."