Monday, July 21, 2008

Hezbollah Wins Another One

Posted Monday, July 21, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Mideast: Lebanon honors a thug who likes to smash the skulls of 4-year-old children, Israel appeases the terrorist group it pledged to destroy and the heirs of Masada are now willing to trade live terrorists for dead Israelis.

Napoleon is credited with the line, "If you say you're going to take Vienna, take Vienna." Halfhearted or inept efforts to defeat your enemies will come back to bite you, as will attempts to appease those who would destroy you.

Freed Lebanese prisoner Samir Kantar greets the crowd on his arrival from an Israeli prison last Wednesday as Hezbollah prepared to receive the bodies of 200 soldiers during an exchange of prisoners with Israel in Naqoura, Lebanon.

Israel returned five Lebanese prisoners and the bodies of 200 Lebanese and Palestinian fighters in return for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers.

Last Wednesday, Israel received the corpses of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, two Israeli soldiers whose capture by Hezbollah in 2006 prompted Israel's 34-day war against the terrorist group in which Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged Hezbollah's demise.

Instead of ending the threat on Israel's northern border and aiding Lebanese democracy, the Israeli defeat allowed Hezbollah to reinforce its claim of being the only armed Arab force capable of standing up to Israel.

Since then, Hezbollah has leveraged its success into de facto control of the Lebanese nation, rearming beyond its prewar levels.

Just as U.N. Resolution 1559 failed to disarm Hezbollah's militia, U.N. Resolution 1701 has failed to keep Hezbollah from rearming.

Earlier this month, an Israeli security cabinet meeting heard three hours of briefings from Military Intelligence, Mossad and General Security Services officials that Hezbollah now has 40,000 short- and medium-range missiles stockpiled just north of Lebanon's Litani River.

Olmert said the swap "will bring an end to this painful episode." But it will only lead to more pain as an emboldened Hezbollah plots its next move on behalf of its Iranian masters. Israel's enemies know it need not keep Israeli hostages alive for fear of retribution.

Among the terrorists freed by Israel was Samir Kuntar, who was serving multiple life terms for a 1979 attack in which the then 16-year-old came ashore near Nahariya, a town along Israel's coast, with three other terrorists. Among the victims of the raid was a 4-year-old girl whose skull Kuntar crushed against a rock with his rifle butt.

Equally repulsive was the hero's welcome that Kuntar received in Lebanon. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Fuad Saniora greeted Kuntar at the airport, with Suleiman, the Hezbollah-approved compromise candidate for president, calling him and four other terrorists released by Israel "the freed heroes."

Kuntar did not grow remorseful in Israel's custody. Dressed in military fatigues, one of his first stops was the grave site of another terrorist, the infamous Imad Mughniyeh, killed by a car bomb in neighboring Syria. Kuntar, giving a Nazi salute, pledged:

"We swear to God . . . to continue on your same path and not to retreat until we achieve the same stature that Allah bestowed on you."

Mughniyeh was among those indicted in the U.S. for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed. Robert Stethem was brutally beaten, murdered and dumped on an airport tarmac in Beirut.

Before 9/11, Mughniyeh was responsible for the deaths of more Americans than any living person, starting with the bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut in April 1983, killing 63 people. Six months later, he was the mastermind behind the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans.

This spectacle shows just how far the multicultural democracy that was Lebanon has slid into the abyss since the Cedar Revolution showed such promise in 2005 after the assassination by Syrian operatives of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Millions took to the streets to demand Syrian withdrawal of its occupying army.

Today, child-killers have flowers strewn in their path.

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