New York, NY, September 3, 2008 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had "handed a propaganda victory to Hezbollah" and sent a wrong message to Israelis and Palestinians by meeting with newly freed terrorist Samir Kuntar, the man responsible for one of the most infamous and cold-blooded attacks in Israel's history.
Mr. Abbas reportedly held a face-to-face meeting with Kuntar during a visit to Lebanon last week.
"In meeting with Samir Kuntar in Lebanon, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas handed a propaganda victory to Hezbollah," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "This sends a terrible message to Israelis and Palestinians anxious to move forward with peace."
In a letter to President Abbas, Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair, and Mr. Foxman expressed concern that Mr. Abbas' actions would undo his past statements condemning Palestinian terrorism. "Regretfully, your meeting with Samir Kuntar sends a very contrary message to the Israeli public and could be construed by the Palestinian people as an expression of your approval of Kuntar's murderous acts of terrorism," the ADL leaders wrote.
Kuntar was released from an Israeli prison in July with four other terrorists handed over by Israel as part of a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah. A member of the Palestinian Liberation Front, he led a terrorist attack in Nahariya in 1979 that resulted in the deaths of five Israelis, including three members of the Haran family. Kuntar was convicted of shooting Danny Haran at close range and slaughtering his daughter, Einat, by bashing her skull against a rock with the butt of his rifle.
In July following Kuntar's release, ADL publicly criticized Mr. Abbas for issuing a statement of congratulations to Kuntar's family on the prisoner exchange.