In a world full of conflicts and atrocities, heroes are rare to find, but wherever they are found, they just seem to impose themselves and their values.
One of those heroes is Samir Kintar who returns to Lebanon after spending thirty years in Israeli prisons, thus earning the title of the longest held Lebanese detainee in the Zionist entity. Yet, the thirty years he spent in jail couldn’t change “one iota” of Kintar’s beliefs and values.
The man who turned out to be a symbol for freedom in the world was born in Aabey on July 20, 1962. He studied in the town school and was distinguished by his bravery, his great enthusiasm and patriotism ever since he was a little child. Some of his many friends said that he had even written, once, under his picture “Samir Kintar the MARTYR.”
Kintar participated in the armed resistance against the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon in 1978, as well as in aiding the citizens who were forced to leave their towns and villages under heavy Israeli bombardment. He attempted to carry out a military operation against the Israeli enemy forces in June 1978, through Jordan, but the mission was aborted for military reasons. After one month, Samir went back to Jordan to carry another operation against Israeli forces but he was captured by Jordanian authorities. As a result, he was imprisoned in Jordan for eight months from January 31 until December 25.
Kintar’s eight months of imprisonment in an Arab jail did not kill his wish to combat oppression and occupation.
Months after his release, the brave teenager carried out an operation dubbed “The Nasser Operation” after Egyptian leader Jamal Abdul Nasser. The operation centered on Naharya settlement and was executed on April 22, 1979. Kintar was leading the group which included Abdel Majeed Asslan (born in 1955), Mhanna Salim Al Muayed (born in 1960) and Ahmad Al Abrass (born in 1949).
The group departed from the seashore of Tyre in south Lebanon using a 55 horse-powered rubber boat with an 88 km/hr speed. The goal of the operation was reaching Naharya where a military base is located, 10KM away from the Lebanese borders, in an attempt to capture Israeli soldiers and later exchange them by Arab detainees in Israeli prisons.
For the Israelis, reaching Naharya without carrying out any attack was in itself a dangerous precedent that also gave Kintar and his comrades their medals of honor.
Kintar amazingly maneuvered his motor boat through sixth squadrons of warships then hid the boat right – under the noses of the Israeli seashore guards and radar; and then managed to enter the settlement, after combating an Israeli patrol squad.
Kintar and his colleagues reached the seashore of military settlement of Naharya that in addition to the military base, had a police center, a military academy, the coastal guards and artillery, the naval alarm network and the head quarters for the Israeli warships (Chairborg).
The group stormed into “building 61” in Jabootinsk and split into two units combating a police patrol. Israeli sergeant (Elyaho Shahar) from the Maalot settlement was killed. In addition, Kintar’s group was able to capture Israeli atomic scientist Dan Harn.
At the end of the battle, Kintar and his comrades were down either dead or injured. Abdul Majeed Asslan got martyred and Mhanna Al Muayed was seriously wounded in head and later died. As for Samir, he was hit by five bullets all over his body as he mentioned in one of his letters; he was under fire from all directions “that even the two hostages who were with me were killed in the crossfire.” Having fell to the ground and became unable to move, Kantar and his colleague Ahmad Al Abrass were captured by Israeli forces but later on, in 1985, Ahmed Al-Abras was released in a prisoners exchange deal. However, the result of this operation was the death of six Israelis including Dan Haran, in addition to 12 injuries.
Samir’s sufferings and agony began right after his imprisonment when he was taken to the Israeli Intelligence headquarters where the interrogation started.
In describing the torment, Kintar once wrote that if he was to describe what he was subject to, “it would be beyond people’s apprehension.” He said: ”I was crucified on a wall without clothes, then the soldiers began to punch me. I remained under the sun many days standing, my hands were cuffed and, my head was covered by black bad smelling bags. Samir added: ”But the most severe thing was when they began to excise the bullets without anesthesia, at a time they forced me not get out my pain… They kept me held in a closed dark cell.”
Kintar was transferred to more than one Israeli prison .The first was Atleet in 1980, three years later Samir was moved to Bir Al-Sabaa central prison, a year later, he was transferred again to Kfariouna Komoud prison , afterwards he was held at the Nafha prison in the Nakab (Nagev) Desert. In 1989 Kintar was taken to the Askalan (Ashkelon) and then back to Nafha in in 1987.
In prison or outside, Kintar has acted as the fighter and the revolutionist that he is. To him, the detention camp was just another place for struggle and resistance.
Kintar became a symbol for freedom in the world, and April 22, the day of his detention, has become a day for solidarity among Arab and Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention centers and the people who call for democracy and conscience all over the world.
Today, the Lebanese hero returns to his homeland to mark another victory for the resistance against the Israeli enemy…
Commentary: I take no position on whether Samir Kintar did, or did not, kill a 4 year old Israeli girl. I was not there and I have no reason to trust the official Israeli account. I know that in 1979 there were plenty of horrible murders committed by all sides to the conflict and I know that a gunshot wound to the head does not look like the blunt impact which a rifle butt would leave. However, I also know that if the Israelis screwed up their rescue operation and killed their hostages (as Kintar claims) they would have a huge stake in blaming it all on Kintar. Here is how, according to Wikipedia, the Isareli newspaper Maariv described the murder:
After drowning Danny in the sea in front of Einat (as Ahmed Al-Brass, Mhanna Salim Al-Muayed, and Abdel Majeed Asslan served as look outs and backup cover for Kuntar), Kuntar turned his attention towards the 4 year-old. He took his rifle and then swung it across the toddler’s head, knocking her to the ground. Kuntar then dragged the toddler a couple of feet to the closest rock he could find and laid her head down on a rock, with the intention of crushing it with the butt of his rifle. Einat, instinctively covered her head with her arms, Kuntar struggled with the toddler until he finally managed to clear her arms out of the way. Once her arms were out of the way, Kuntar repeatedly beat her on the head with the butt of his rifle and stomping on her body, until blood rushed out of her ears and mouth. Then, to ensure she was dead, Kuntar continued beating her over the head until her skull was crushed and she was dead.
Keep in mind that all this supposedly happened during a shootout with Israeli policemen and soldiers. Here is, again, Hezbollah’s version of what happened:
As for Samir, he was hit by five bullets all over his body as he mentioned in one of his letters; he was under fire from all directions “that even the two hostages who were with me were killed in the crossfire.”
We will probably never know what really happened that day. But at least we should be able to compare the two versions of the events.