Ironically, the ceremony was stormed by Salafists who were upset over Samir Kuntar’s support for the Assad regime in Syria.
BERLIN – The city of Bizerte in Tunisia last week honored convicted murderer Samir Kuntar, who carried out a brutal 1979 attack in Nahariya that killed Israeli policeman Eliyahu Shahar, and Danny Haran and his four-year-old daughter, Einat Haran.
Kuntar also caused the death of two-year-old Yael Haran, who suffocated because her mother, Smadar, sought to prevent her from making noise as she tried to hide her daughter from Kuntar.
Kuntar, a Lebanese Druse, was released in a 2008 prisoner swap with Hezbollah. At the time, Middle East expert Dr. Daniel Pipes termed Kuntar “a psychopath and the most notorious prisoner in Israel’s jails.”
The Tunisian website Tunisie Numerique reported that a Salafi mob stormed last week’s ceremony, accusing Kuntar of a pro-Shi’ite position favoring the Assad regime and its slaughter of more than 20,000 Syrians. Kuntar, 50, escaped the meeting hall through a back exit and several people were hospitalized.
In an email to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, a political scientist at Bar-Ilan University, wrote, “This is yet another illustration of the false religion in the West that simplistically blames the violence and threats in the Middle East on the myths of Palestinian victimization. Samir Kunter is one of the worst symbols of brutality and terror targeting Israel, but the hatred unleashed by the radical Sunni-Shia conflict is far stronger.”
Steinberg, heads NGO Monitor in Jerusalem, added, “Indeed, as this incident shows, the internal Islamic religious wars merely use the Arab- Israeli conflict as another battleground.”
American Mideast experts and bloggers quickly picked up on the Sunni-Shia violence surrounding Kuntar’s visit to the northern Tunisian city.
In his blog Pressure Points, Elliott Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted, “There is so much dishonor to go around here that there is no point attempting to distribute it fairly; the conduct of every single party is shameful.