Jerusalem, 17 March 2003

Eleventh Anniversary of Terrorist Attack on Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

To mark the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom sent the following message to the Jewish community in Argentina, the Argentinean people and the families of the terrorist victims:

Eleven years have passed since that Tuesday, March 17, 1992 – that harsh and bitter afternoon in which twenty nine Argentinean and Israeli civilians were killed in a terrorist attack, among them many of our fellow colleagues and diplomats.

On this anniversary, the Foreign Ministry family mourns its fellow colleagues and diplomats who lost their lives in this heinous act of terrorism, and warmly embraces the families of the victims. The passage of time has only heightened the pain and accentuated the sense of loss, with the passing of dear friends.

Our feelings of sorrow and pain, and our profound empathy with the families of the terror victims, whose lives and joie de vivre were disrupted so suddenly, will never be diminished. The tragedy that befell them must become an additional incentive for our continued unrelenting action to uproot terrorism and to establish the foundations of peace.

For ten years, the issue of the responsibility for the heinous terrorist attack on our Embassy in Buenos Aires, in which twenty-nine Israelis and Argentineans were killed, remained an unresolved puzzle. Suspicions in Israel and other countries that Iran was behind the terrorist attack and that Hizbullah played a significant role, were only corroborated recently.

Today, we can announce, with considerable satisfaction, that in recent months, Israeli security officials were able to resolve this matter. The mystery has been solved, and it is perfectly clear to Israel that the Hizbullah, through its overseas operations unit headed by Imad Mughniyea, was responsible for carrying out the murderous terrorist attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. Through recognition of the characteristic activities of this terror organization, and by means of additional information in our possession, it is clear to us that Iran – including the highest levels of the Teheran leadership – knew of the intention to carry out the attack, and authorized its execution.

Moreover, recently, it was made clear to Israel that the Hizbullah and Iran are also connected to the terrorist attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Centre, in July 1994. It appears that the pattern of activity in the terrorist attack on the Israeli Embassy was repeated in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Centre: Iran is responsible as the guiding hand of this attack, while the Hizbullah is responsible as the organization carrying out the terrorist operation.

This information that Israel obtained through its own efforts is completely in accord with the conclusions reached by the Argentinean intelligence services (Servicio De Intelegencia Del Estado), following its own independent investigation of the matter, as published in Argentina in recent weeks. Israel views the conclusions reached as professional and courageous, transcending all other considerations.

Israel expects the Argentinean authorities to exhaust the investigation and the legal process taking place in their country, and that it will bring to justice all those who are culpable from Iran, Lebanon and Argentina. Israel is ready to assist the Argentinean authorities to complete this process, to the greatest extent possible, by dint of its moral obligation to the families of the victims in Israel and Argentina.

This matter has particular significance during this period, at a time when the entire world has to mobilize for a joint campaign against the phenomenon of terrorism.

The time that has passed since these two murderous attacks on Argentinean soil has only strengthened the resolute demand of the State of Israel and all those seeking justice, that those who carried out these barbaric actions be brought to justice.

May we be spared further pain and sorrow.