An Arab Israeli political party has published a Facebook post lamenting the killing of terrorist Samir Kuntar, which also compares Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Islamic State.
The post by Hadash, one of the parties that comprises the Joint (Arab) List faction, also criticizes Israel for its “bullying” in Syria. Israel has not confirmed that it carried out the airstrike on an apartment block in Damascus overnight Saturday that killed Kuntar, seven years after he was freed from an Israeli jail as part of a prisoner swap with Hezbollah.
The party “condemns the assassination carried out by Israel early on Sunday, December 20, 2015 in Syria,” the post said, calling it an act that reflects Israel’s “thuggish” behavior.
The assassination “reaffirms Israel’s deep involvement in what is happening in Syria and may lead to serious consequences,” the post said.
The party accused Israel — along with the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — of supplying intelligence and military assistance to “forces of terrorism” in Syria.
The post said that the party “affirms the right of the Syrian and Lebanese people to resist the occupation of their territories,” and “calls again for Israel to withdraw fully from the occupied Syrian Arab Golan Heights and Lebanese Shabaa Farms, as a prerequisite for peace in the region.”
The picture accompanying the post shows an Islamic State fighter in a balaclava removing a rubber mask of Netanyahu. To illustrate the point further, his hand bears a tattoo of the letters CIA while his forearm is tattooed with a Star of David.
Hadash is a secular and communist party, headed by Joint List faction leader MK Ayman Odeh.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog of Zionist Union blasted the post on Tuesday.
“It looks like there are those for whom Samir Kuntar was not a despicable murderer and his death is an ‘Israeli crime,’” Herzog wrote on Facebook, noting that the post was accompanied by “rude, inciting and violent” graphics.
Samir Kuntar was “a murderer and a despicable terrorist who continued to preach the murder of Israelis and refused to express regret for killing, with intolerable cruelty, the Haran family and their father,” Herzog said.
“After being released from prison he did not stop planning and carrying out the murder of innocent Israeli and from being part of the dark forces supporting the bloodthirsty Assad regime, a regime that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrian civilians. If someone in Hadash thinks differently they are committing a hard, bitter mistake.”
Herzog continued: “There is no room for extremism on any side.”
Directing his remarks to Odeh, whom he tagged in the post, Herzog wrote that, “this is unlike you, this is collaborating with extreme craziness, instruct [the party] to delete this ugly post, even if it is only written in Arabic.”
“As a public leader who strives for peace and quotes the writings of Martin Luther King you must be the one standing against the inciters from within and to clarify forcefully: You have crossed the line.”
The Hadash party’s response was quick to come: “Herzog has chosen to toe the line of the government and to incite against Hadash and the Arab public, instead of warning that Netanyahu’s decision to bomb in Syria is a provocation. Herzog has no political spine, his position is irresponsible. We have been against and will continue to be against harm to civilians wherever they may be.”
Israel never officially claimed responsibility for the assassination of Quntar, but the precision strike that took him out indicates the assassination was carried out by a force with superior intelligence capabilities and an ability to launch pinpoint strikes, both hallmarks of the IDF and the Israeli Air Force.