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Samir Kuntar
Samir Kuntar 

Prisoner swap and fatherless children

Moral questions surround prisoner exchange, artificial insemination

Rami Tal
Published: 09.14.06, 16:55 / Israel Opinion

The momentum to release our abducted soldiers has accelerated since the arrival of the German mediator to the area. "Senior political sources" have already announced that Hizbullah's demands to release Samir Kuntar, sentenced to life imprisonment, would not be a prerequisite for any exchange deal.


Kuntar is one of the most evil monsters to have ever served a prison sentence in Israel. He led the cell that murdered police officer Eliyahu Shahar and three members of the Haran family in 1979. He smashed four-year-old Anat Haran's head with his rifle butt. If there is anyone who deserves to rot in prison, it is Samir Kuntar.


IDF troops only for Samir Kuntar  / Reuters
Hizbullah leader tells Al-Jazeera no prisoner swap possible without release of longest held Lebanese prisoner in Israel; adds that UN mediator to visit country next week in bid to secure deal
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Yet when the release of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev is in the balance, it seems there is no choice other than to comply with Hizbullah demands, however abominable they may appear. Elhanan Tennenbaum committed a criminal offense and was abducted purely by his own doing. The State of Israel did not owe him a thing, but nonetheless complied with Hizbullah demands to secure his release.


Contrary to Tennenbaum, Goldwasser and Regev served their country and were abducted while in the line of duty, so we must do everything in our power to get them back.


Kuntar's release will be somewhat unpalatable, but it is difficult to say that it will pose any significant danger to Israel's security. The cabinet was already scathed at the beginning of the war when it announced that one of the operation's objectives was to release the abducted soldiers.


It would have done well to refrain from making statements it could not realize. We would be better off appealing to the German mediator to act as quickly as possible. Each day that goes by places the soldiers in more danger, as demonstrated by the abduction of airman Ron Arad in 1986.


A painful issue

The recent war has once again brought to the surface the issue of artificial insemination through semen taken from fallen soldiers. Modern technology enables this, yet with all the empathy towards bereaved soldiers, wives and partners who wish to perpetuate the memory of their fallen loved ones by having an offspring, lawmakers should intervene and not permit it.


No one will question the right of a person to determine how to bequeath property in a will. But bringing a child to the world, without a father, knowing in advance that it will inevitability harm the child, is another matter.


Such circumstances do not resemble that of a father who is killed while his wife is pregnant or while the child is still a baby. Such instances are terrible tragedies that one has to accept while doing everything possible to protect the child.


However, this should not be carried out by premeditation, while ignoring the needs of the child. Responsibility towards the living is greater than towards the dead.


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