In its 66 year history, Israel has not known a single day free from terrorism. This past weekend, a gunman stormed the Jewish Museum of Brussels, killing four people. These acts show that anti-Semitism and terrorism are not confined by national borders. Madame President,
I would like to thank you for presiding over this important session. I would also like to thank Lithuania, the Republic of Korea, and Australia for chairing the committees. Israel believes that the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Committees are essential to global efforts to isolate terrorists. We appreciate their dedicated work along with that of other relevant UN agencies.
For the past month, the world’s attention has been focused on the kidnapping of hundreds of girls from a school in northeastern Nigeria by Boko Haram. When our children are not safe in their schools and our families are not safe in their homes, then we – as an international community – have failed. Israel welcomes the inclusion of Boko Haram to the sanctions list of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, but there is still much more work to be done.
In its 66 year history, Israel has not known a single day free from terrorism. With every siren that wails, every report of a terrorist attack, and even every car backfiring, our hearts miss a beat. There isn’t a family in Israel that doesn’t know the bitter taste of tragedy. This past weekend, a gunman stormed the Jewish Museum of Brussels, killing Dominique Chabrier, a French citizen, Alexandre Strens, a Belgian citizen, and Emanuel and Miriam Riva, two Israeli citizens. These acts show that both anti-Semitism and terrorism are not confined by national borders.
Since the beginning of this year, over 100 rockets have been shot from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into Southern Israel. Hamas now seeks the veneer of international legitimacy by partnering with Fatah. In case you think Hamas has changed its tune, forty-eight hours after forging a unity agreement, Hamas leader Khaled Mashall stated: “Our path is the resistance and jihad is our choice." In case anyone had any doubt, he stated as well: “This is the original Palestinian strategy.” It is clear from this statement that lending support to the Abbas-Hamas partnership is the same as lending legitimacy to terror attacks against Israel.
The reach of terrorist organizations has grown dramatically and dangerously. Israelis have become the targets of an Iranian terror campaign executed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah. These groups are responsible for attacks throughout the world from Burgas to Buenos Aires to Bangkok. Just last month, authorities in Thailand foiled a plan by Hezbollah agents to attack Israeli tourists.
Hezbollah has built its arsenal to unprecedented levels, amassing over 80,000 deadly missiles and rockets which it stores throughout Lebanon in schools, homes and hospitals. In doing so, it is committing a double war crime – the first war crime, using Lebanese civilians as human shields; the second war crime, targeting Israeli civilians.
Both Hamas and Hezbollah receive funding and support from the world’s primary sponsor of terrorism – Iran. In March, the Israeli Defense Force intercepted a cargo ship, the KLOS-C, sent by Iran and carrying advanced weaponry destined for the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip. The KLOS-C was a close call – last month it was a ship carrying rockets bound for Tel Aviv. Next time, it could be carrying a bomb meant for a capital city in Europe or Asia or the Americas.
Iran is not easily discouraged and it continues to fan the flames of conflict across the Middle East. In Syria – where the worst humanitarian crisis of this generation is taking place – Iran has sent terrorist groups from Lebanon and Iraq to fight alongside the brutal Assad regime. Directing this network is Qassem Suleimani, the chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force.
Thousands of foreign fighters from all over Europe and the Middle East have joined Al-Qaeda in Syria and are aggravating sectarian tensions in the region. Syria has become the foremost academy for both Sunni and Shiite terrorists – teaching the philosophy of fundamentalism, the engineering of explosives, and the calculus of chaos.
The international community must stand firm in combating terrorism. Terrorism cannot be justified on any grounds or for any reason, and it must be condemned in all its forms and manifestations.
The UN’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, and the 1540 Committee all remain essential parts of the global effort to isolate terrorists and deny them the means to inflict harm.
Israel attaches great importance to the work of the UN’s counterterrorism agencies and commends CTED for its ongoing contributions in coordinating action against terrorism. CTED has done an excellent job monitoring the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1373, which Israel fully implements and which constitutes the centerpiece of the UN’s efforts to create a robust counter-terrorism system.
We support the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which is currently being negotiated. Israel believes that all four pillars of this strategy must be treated as a whole. Israel also recently submitted its periodic report in accordance with Resolution 1540.
In Israel, the threat of terrorism isn’t theoretical – it is prevalent and it is persistent. Out of necessity, we have become experts in the field of counterterrorism and are sharing our knowledge with governments throughout the world. Israeli experts have contributed their expertise on a range of issues – from terrorist financing to forensic investigation and from aviation security to border protection. These activities reflect our fundamental belief that terrorism can only be effectively confronted through international cooperation.
There is a specific kind of ecosystem that creates terrorism – it is seeded in hate, watered with instability and cultivated by rogue regimes. As an international community, we must attack the roots of terrorist infrastructures and stem the flow of arms and money from its sponsors. Working together, we can abolish the weapons of war before they abolish us.
Thank you, Madame President.