Joined: 09 Sep 2006
|Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:09 am Post subject: Statement by Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, Permanent Represent
|The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
Statement by Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, Permanent Representative
14 October 2009
Thank you, Mr. President, Members of the Council,
Let me thank Under-Secretary-General Mr. Lynn Pascoe for his informative,
important briefing which highlighted the very complex, broader aspects of
the situation in the Middle East.
May I also, Mr. President, with your permission, take this opportunity to
bid farewell to a friend, a diplomat, the Permanent Representative of the UK
for his great work for peace and security in this Council, and wish you, Sir
John Sawers, a lot of success in your next mission.
The Security Council convenes today for this monthly debate on the
"Situation in the Middle East and the Question of Palestine."
Since the last meeting on this matter, an important trilateral meeting took
place amongst United States, Palestinian, and Israeli leaders. Since the
last meeting, Special Envoy Senator Mitchell and his team relentlessly
engaged in an effort to put the peace process back on track.
And less than a week ago, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the President
of the United States. Allow me to congratulate President Obama and the
people of the United States for this honorable recognition.
The Nobel Prize was granted to President Obama for his "extraordinary
efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people
and pursuit of peace." The Middle East is indeed one of the areas yearning
for peace; a peace based on the vision laid down by the United Nations
itself in 1947: two states for two peoples.
Israel seeks peace. We want a genuine peace, a defensible peace, a permanent
peace. A peace in which two states, one Jewish, one Palestinian, will live
side by side, in peace and security. Recognizing such a vision will move the
peace process forward. Terrorism, bloodshed, and incitement will not.
Let me briefly describe the reality on the ground. As I have lately
communicated to you, the month of September witnessed an alarming rise in
In the south, thirteen rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from the
Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Fifteen other attacks were launched with light
weapons and anti-tank missiles. There were multiple attempts by terrorists
to infiltrate Israel and to plant explosives along the fence between the
Gaza Strip and Israel.
To our north, three rockets were launched on Israeli territory from southern
The Hizbullah terrorist organization continues to receive deadly weapons
from its sponsors, members of this organization. At the same time, Hizbullah
builds a military infrastructure in the midst of the civilian population
south of the Litani River. Its operatives and affiliated civilians openly
threaten UNIFIL, obstructing it from discharging its mandate.
The explosions on July 16th of an actively maintained weapons depot in
Khirbat Silim proved beyond any doubt that Hizbullah's violations are the
greatest obstacle to the implementation of resolution 1701.
In addition, just two days before this meeting, another explosion of arms
occurred in a civilian home in the village of Tayr Filsi.
This grave incident highlights, once again, a reality we have been facing
for years in southern Lebanon, as well as in Gaza: a terrorist organization,
rearming and deploying within civilian areas, endangering not only peace and
security, but cynically the very civilians themselves.
The evidence of this phenomenon is clear, as was displayed yesterday in
southern Lebanon as seen on TV or on our computer screens. We expect UNIFIL
and the relevant UN authorities to promptly conduct a thorough investigation
into this incident, and to share its findings with the governments of
Lebanon, Israel, and the members of the Security Council.
Southern Lebanon, Mr. President, is occupied by terrorism. Hizbullah's
We trust that the upcoming Secretary-General's report on resolution 1701
will offer practical and tangible steps towards further implementation of
this important resolution.
This, Mr. President, is the situation in the Middle East.
Behind Hizbullah's defiance and build-up stands Iran. Iran's sponsorship and
support of terrorism pushes the region towards instability and conflict.
As Iran hurtles towards nuclear weapons capabilities coupled with long-range
missiles, its leaders refuse to truthfully answer the inquiries and demands
of the international community. The recent Iranian admission of a uranium
enrichment plant outside Qom leaves no doubt: the Iranian nuclear program is
an international crisis.
This country -- Iran -- is driven by religious extremism, officially
sponsors Holocaust denial, and violently suppresses the democratic
aspirations of its citizens, while continuing to promote international
terrorism. The world's most dangerous weapons are quickly falling into the
hands of the most dangerous regime in the world.
This is the real threat to peace and security in our region and in the
Five years ago, in the pursuit of peace, Israel dismantled 21 settlements
and uprooted over 8,000 Israelis from the Gaza Strip.
Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan called Israel's actions a "courageous
decision." This very Council "commend[ed] the ongoing implementation of [the
disengagement process]." Member States assured us that if Israel needed to
defend itself, international legitimacy would be on our side.
Yet Israel's hope turned into a nightmare. Instead of promoting a
functioning Palestinian society, Hamas built an infrastructure of terror.
Instead of promoting peace, Hamas murdered and silenced opposition, while
inciting an entire generation to kill and hate.
Gaza is occupied by terrorism. Hamas terrorism.
Hamas openly rejects Israel's right to exist. Hamas openly rejects a
two-state solution. Their charter calls for Jews to be killed and quotes
notorious anti-Semitic citations. Yet the world does nothing.
As Hamas smuggled a constant supply of deadly Iranian arms into Gaza, the
world did nothing. As Hamas placed weapons and launched attacks from within
schools, mosques and hospitals, the world did nothing. As Hamas fired 12,000
rockets against one million innocent Israeli men, women and children, the
world did nothing. This, Mr. President, is the situation in the Middle East.
Mr. President, Distinguished Members of this Council,
This monthly debate, this monthly meeting was supposed to take place next
week, but was rescheduled due to what was described as the urgency of the
An officious bystander would think that the issue of such an urgent meeting
would be the continuous shelling of Israeli territory by terrorists from
Gaza and Lebanon, or the continuous threats from Iran's nuclear development.
However, the "urgency" of the matter is a pretext to hijack the Council's
agenda by raising here an issue that belongs elsewhere.
The Member State responsible for this dereliction of procedure is, as we all
know, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
This is the Member State, a true champion of human rights, who recently
offered an official triumphant hero's welcome to an arch-terrorist. This
arch-terrorist is responsible for the cold-blooded murder of hundreds of
innocent men, women and children over the skies of Lockerbie.
This is the same Member State, whose leader in his memorable soliloquy
before the General Assembly three weeks ago, named this Security Council a
Today we heard references to the Goldstone Report. Although the debate on
this report belongs elsewhere, let me state Israel's position briefly.
I regret to say that the Goldstone report is one-sided, biased and therefore
wrong - just as the forum and the mandate that established its mission. The
report favors and legitimizes terrorism. It is a prize for terrorist
It denies Israel's right to defend its citizens. It falls directly into the
pitfall strategically laid down by terrorist organizations around the world.
It prevents, and will prevent democratic Member States from defending
themselves against terrorism. It permits terrorists to victimize civilians,
target the innocent, and use as human shields those it claims to defend.
By trying to bring this report before a so-called urgent debate in this
Council, this Council's attention was diverted from the reality in our
Rather than dealing with the situation in the Middle East and instead of
encouraging the parties to move towards peace and resume negotiations, the
debate in this Council has been shifted to discussing a narrative that is
destructive to the peace process.
For those of us who seek to resume the peace process in the Middle East,
debating the Goldstone Report in the Security Council is but a tale full of
sound and fury, signifying nothing.
If Israel is asked to take further risks for peace, the international
community must recognize our right to self-defense.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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