Addressing the tragic return of kidnapped troops Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev,
President Shimon Peres said
Wednesday afternoon that “today we are all members of the Goldwasser and Regev families."
“We paid a painful price in order to bring Ehud and Eldad back home to rest," he said.
During Peres' speech at a conference for socially involved communities at his Jerusalem residence, the president stressed the difference between Israel and Hizbullah.
“There are victory celebrations in Lebanon.
They are stepping out with drums and dances to greet Kuntar the murderer who crushed the skull of four-year-old Einat with his gun and shot her father cold-bloodedly."
On the other hand, he said, "in Israel,
the nation is in tears. Israel is just, and justice is the true expression of a person’s victory. We will bow our heads in memory of the fallen heroes.We will stand upright, as a nation who holds morals dearest, stands.”
Peres concluded by saying: “Where is the supreme moral victory and where is the human defeat is? In greeting a cowardly murderer unlike any other, or in the remembrance candles commemorating our loved ones?
"The answer is clear. Lebanon will be ashamed, the kind of shame it needs to properly exist.”
A short while after Peres spoke, Samir Kuntar and the four Hizbullah prisoners released by Israel as part of Wednesday's swap were handed over to the Red Cross before crossing into Lebanon. Hizbullah's al-Manar network reported that Kuntar and the four prisoners were received by masses of supporters, cries of joy, and lively music.