Terrorists and ‘lesser terrorists’ Part II

Terrorists and ‘lesser terrorists’ Part II

So Samir Kuntar was an Arab hero who had killed an Israeli man and his 4-year-old daughter. But he is not the only hero.

The prisoners released in exchange for Gilad Shalit include those who orchestrated suicide attacks on a Jerusalem pizzeria, killing 15 people; a Passover Seder in Netanya, killing 30; a bus in Jerusalem, killing 11; and a bus in Haifa, killing 17.

But apart from having sunshine at expensive hotels and enjoying the finer things of life, what will the heroes do in the world outside of prison cells? I understand they are planning to improve their careers in a profession in which they are truly exceptionally skilled men and women.

The spokesman for the military wing of Hamas has proudly announced that Sgt. Maj. Shalit “will not be the last soldier kidnapped by Hamas as long as Israel keeps Palestinian prisoners detained.” And the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in Gaza – which had been involved in Mr. Shalit’s abduction in 2006 – stated that “the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers is our strategy.”

Wafa al-Bass, a “freedom fighter” (not to be confused with “terrorist”) imprisoned in 2005 when she was caught smuggling a suicide bomb while pretending to seek medical help, said after her release that “Palestinians should take another Shalit each year.” Ms. al-Bass also said she hopes she will see some of her comrades become shahid (martyr in jihad). “Today I wish to become a suicide bomber three times more than before,” she said. “I am proud of jihad!”

And there is Amana Muna who arrived in Turkey last week as part of the prisoner swap. When a few weak voices in the Turkish media mentioned that Ms. Muna had actually got life imprisonment after using an Internet chat to tempt a 16-year-old Israeli to come from Ashkalon to Ramallah where he was ambushed and killed, a statement from the Palestinian Embassy in Ankara made things clear about whether the lady had a criminal past. Without denying the incident for which Ms. Muna had been imprisoned, the embassy statement (as quoted by Hürriyet) said: “Amana Muna is a Palestinian struggler who fought for a righteous cause.”

I am curious to know whether Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu would think the assortment of bombings and killings would qualify these “strugglers” as terrorists. Or perhaps there is not a good reason to be curious about this since earlier this year Mr. Erdoğan said that “calling Hamas [members] terrorists would be disrespectful to the will of the Palestinians.” I shall all the same keep on reminding the prime minister and the foreign minister that if Kuntar or al-Bass or Muna are not terrorists, no PKK member could or should be considered a terrorist.

As to the Palestinian Embassy statement: Dear Palestinian brothers, you may be right about some of your political arguments. But you should be able to understand that a passionate devotion to kill, reinforced by a pathetic interpretation of a holy book, is no good recipe for peace, which most of you claim is Islam’s primary teaching.

Perhaps Mr. Erdoğan missed his chance to honor Mr. Kuntar the freedom fighter, since Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a couple of years quicker and gave a medal. But the good news is that there are new arrivals among the freedom fighters/strugglers pool, and Mr. Erdoğan can always think up a medal for Ms. al-Bass or Ms. Muna