Samir Kuntar, Lebanese Arab former prisoner in Israeli jails, was assassinated late night Saturday, 19 December, in Syria by an Israeli military airstrike. Kuntar spent nearly thirty years in Israeli occupation prisons; he was the longest-serving Arab prisoner in Zionist jails. He was freed in 2008 as part of a prisoner exchange with the Lebanese resistance.
Kuntar was arrested in 1979 at the age of 16. A Lebanese youth of 16, he had joined the Palestinian resistance organization, the Palestine Liberation Front. He carried out a resistance operation, entering occupied Palestine via boat from Lebanon, in which two Israeli occupation police, another Israeli man and his daughter were killed, while two of Kuntar’s comrades were killed; Samir and Ahmad al-Abras were taken prisoner by Israeli forces.
The goal of the operation had been to capture Israelis to return to Lebanon in order to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Kuntar and Al-Abras were accused by the Israeli military court of deliberately killing the Israeli man, Danny Haran and his child Einat. Kuntar maintained consistently over decades to all questioners that the two were shot by Israeli forces as they attacked the Palestinian and Arab commando group and the Israeli occupation soldiers and that the Israeli occupation forces had fabricated the story of Kuntar killing the child in order to demonize him and misrepresent the Palestinian and Arab resistance.
He was one of the most prominent Arab prisoners held in Zionist prisons; upon his release in 2008, he was greeted at Beirut Airport by Lebanese president Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, Parliament speaker Nabih Berri and political leaders. He was then received by a massive rally south of Beirut organized by Hezbollah, where thousands welcomed Kuntar to Lebanon.
He remained openly and vocally committed to resistance against Zionism and the Israeli state, expressing repeatedly his adherence to resistance and confrontation.
After Kuntar’s release, Israeli officials continued to threaten him, saying he was “a target for killing.” Kuntar was living in Jaramana, Syria in the Damascus area and was targeted on Saturday night, 19 December with four missiles fired from Israeli occupation warplanes, directed at his home in the middle of a residential area. The missiles were fired from Israeli warplanes over Lake Tiberias in Palestine, killing Kuntar along with eight Syrians, as confirmed by Hezbollah. Previous Israeli attempts to assassinate Kuntar had failed.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network strongly condemns the assassination of former prisoner and resistance struggler Samir Kuntar by Israeli occupation forces. The killing of Samir Kuntar is not an individual case; rather it is part of the repeated targeting of freed prisoners for assassination, killing, and re-arrest by Israeli occupation forces. Palestinian and Arab prisoners who have won their freedom from Israeli jails have been repeatedly murdered in targeted assassinations, killed in “arrest raids” in massive gunfire from occupation forces, and rounded up and repeatedly re-imprisoned.
Samir Kuntar was firmly committed to the liberation of Palestinian and Arab land from Zionism and colonialism, and his life was taken by Israeli jets bombing and attacking Syria, targeting a struggler who was imprisoned for 30 years because he continued to struggle for Palestine and against Israeli terror.