When Hezbollah guerrillas sneaked into Israel last month, killing and capturing Israeli soldiers and setting off the current crisis, their goal was to trade them for a Lebanese man held by Israel.Israeli officials have said that the strike on Qana was in error — that another site was the intended target. This explanation is a small consolation to those who lost loved ones in Qana, but this explanation is at least plausible — if for no other reason than Israel's desire to avoid the fallout in world opinion that comes from causing civilian casualties.
The prisoner, Samir Kuntar, was part of a cell that in 1979 raided an apartment building in the northern Israeli town of Nahariya, terrorizing the Haran family. Mr. Kuntar shot Danny Haran in the head, killing him, while his daughter, Einat, 4, watched, then smashed the girl’s head in with his rifle butt, killing her as well.
But it's hard to see how Hezbollah could possibly say that the '79 murders of a father and daughter that Samir Kuntar committed were mistakes.