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PA leaders: Kuntar a hero

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook  |

According to the Palestinian Authority leadership, Samir Kuntar epitomizes the ideal Palestinian prisoner. Kuntar, who crushed the head of four-year-old Eynat Haran with his rifle, is serving four life sentences for murder in an Israeli prison, but is almost certain to be freed in a prisoner swap with Hizbullah this week.

On one hand, Kuntar embodies what the PA considers the "heroism" of terrorists fighting Israel. On the other hand, he's the ultimate symbol of all terrorist prisoners who have murdered Israelis and will eventually be freed as a result of future kidnappings or through some other means. 

PA TV, controlled by Mahmoud Abbas, broadcast the following picture honoring Kuntar. He is depicted beside a map of Israel completely covered by the Palestinian flag.

[PA TV, 23-25 June 2008]
Following are several recent quotes from PA leaders since April 2008, describing Kuntar:  
"Samir Kuntar, the warrior from Lebanon."
"The brave warrior, Samir Kuntar."
"The Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership are standing behind you (Kuntar)."
"You (Kuntar) are an inseparable part of the action to free our homeland."
"Your (Kuntar) patience and strength are a lesson for us."

Besides bludgeoning Eynat Haran to death with rocks and his rifle, Kuntar killed her father and was responsible for the death of her infant sister. He also killed two policemen in the 1979 attack in Naharia.  The Israeli cabinet today approved a prisoner exchange that would free Kuntar and several other prisoners in exchange for Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who were kidnapped by Hizbullah in 2006. The exchange could happen within the next few days.