The prisoners’ exchange, arranged between Hezbolla and Israel, has raised a lot of controversy in mainstream media and on the blogsphere as well. Some called the deal as a victory for Hezbollah and Iran, while some saw it as another failure for the US and Israel in the region.
Syrian blogger Mohammad Online (Ar), from Damascus, informs his readers that on July 17, 2008, and during an interview held with Samir Kuntar by MANAR TV, Kuntar said that there is an Egyptian prisoner still held in Israeli jails and that no one tried to free him except for Hezbollah. Commenting on the peace deal which exists between Egypt and Israel, the blogger asks:
فما فائدة هذا السلام إن كان لا يستطيع ذاك السلام العظيم أضعف الإيمان تحرير أسير من دولة هناك سلام معها
What’s peace for if this grand peace cannot liberate a prisoner of the country that signs a peace agreement with Israel?”
Jabhat el Tahsis (Ar) from Egypt, posts more information about the Egyptian prisoner:
أسير المصري اسمه إياد أبو حسن ..موجود في السجون الإسرائيلية منذ عشرين عاما و لا أحد يسأل عليه أو يطالب به .. و حسب سمير القنطار بأن المقاومة بذلت جهدا كبيرا لتحريره في هذه الصفقة لكن لإعتبارات سياسية ( منها الإتفاقية و العلاقات السياسية المصرية الإسرائيلية ) حالت دون الموافقة على ذلك من قبل الإسرائيليين .. في الصفقة الماضية و الحالية هذه الدول العربية طلبت من اسرائيل عدم إدراج أبنائها في صفقات حزب الله كي لا يصبح حسن نصرالله قائدا للعرب جميعا ..كما يقولون ..
The Egyptian prisoner's name is Eyad Abu Hasan.. he has been in Israeli prisons for 20 years and no one is asking for his release. According to Samir Kuntar, the Lebanese resistance has put a lot of effort to free him in the prisoners’ exchange deal but that political considerations, such as the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, prevented the prisoner's release. It is because countries like Jordan and Egypt has called for not including their citizens in such deals with Hezbollah out of fear that Nasrallah would then become a national hero for all Arabs, as they claim.
Back to the Syrian blogsphere and more reactions to the prisoner swap. Blogger Ayman Haykal (Ar), a Syrian blogger in the US, asks his readers if Kuntar truly smashed a four-year-old girl's head:
لا أخفي إعجابي بنجاح حزب الله في استعادة الأسرى ورفات الشهداء من إسرائيل. لكن سؤالاً واحداً يقضّ مضجعي: هل صحيح أن سميراً هشّم رأس طفلة بعقب بندقية؟
I must say that I admire Hezbollah's success in returning the prisoners and the martyr's bodies, but there is one thing that still bothers me: Is it true that Samir smashed the girl's head with a rifle?
Another Syrian blogger in the US, Abu Kareem, reflects on people elevating Samir Kuntar to hero status:
I wanted to stay out of this debate altogether but the way Kuntar is being treated like a celebrity has left me more than a little queasy. I am annoyed with the way many Arabs have reflexively accepted his promotion to icon of the resistance and are willing to gloss over the facts that have brought him to his iconic status.
For Abu Kareem:
The real resistance heroes in my book are the Hizbullah fighters who fiercely and valiantly battled the Israeli army forcing its exit in 2000, or the youngsters of the intifada who battled fire with rocks and slingshots.
Hizbullah did not liberate the South by staging operations against civilian targets in Israel; they did it by making life hell for the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) in the South.
And last but not least, Razan, a Syrian blogger based in Beirut, Lebanon, posts few pictures from the celebration in Southern Beirut at the arrival of the Lebanese prisoners liberated by Hezbollah.