Syria is a prime sanctuary for terrorism, hosting the headquarters of numerous terrorist organizations in Damascus, and financing, sponsoring, and training terrorist organizations.

 Israel discusses Syrian support for terrorism at UN Security Council


UN Security Council (UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras)

Statement by Haim Waxman, Israel’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, on Syrian support for terrorism at the UN Security Council

Thank you, Mr. President, for convening this important debate on counter-terrorism.  I would also like to express my appreciation to the chairpersons of the counter-terrorism committees for their professional work and for their informative briefings this morning.

Considering the crucial role that the UN plays in coordinating global counter-terrorism efforts, it is of the utmost importance that there is close cooperation among all three of its subsidiary bodies as well as the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) on this issue. We welcome the periodic informal briefings for Member States held by the counter-terrorism committees, and we encourage them to continue to hold them. 

In September, at the second review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Member States reaffirmed their collective commitment to making progress on these issues and resolved to implement the strategy. This review also reaffirmed the important role of the CTITF in enhancing international cooperation and capacity building in this field.

Mr. President,

Every day at least one Member State suffers from some form of a terrorist attack. No matter whether these attacks are in the form of roadside bombs, letter bombs, suicide bombers, threats to synagogues, or kidnappings, their objectives remain the same: to instill fear in the population and advance terrorists’ goals through abhorrent violent means.

We in Israel know firsthand the devastation caused by terrorism. Hamas and Hizbullah are among the most dangerous terrorist organizations worldwide, threatening not just Israel’s security but also the stability of the entire region. The growing arsenal of missiles and rockets, combined with the continuous transfer and smuggling of weapons and ammunition to these organizations by Iran and Syria, represent an imminent threat.

Mr. President,

It should come as no surprise that the speaker before me lectured us about terrorism, as Syria is a prime sanctuary for terrorism, hosting the headquarters of numerous terrorist organizations in Damascus, and financing, sponsoring, and training terrorist organizations in and on its soil, including the transfer of weapons and ammunition through its borders – in clear violation of Security Council Resolutions 1373, 1624, 1701, as well as numerous other resolutions.

In this regard, an important briefing organized by CTED in October 2010 closely examined the elements of Security Council Resolutions 1373 and 1624 relating to safe haven for terrorists. This issue is of particular concern and interest to my delegation. As in our region, several Member States have granted safe haven to terrorists who seek to attack Israel by any means.

Mr. President,

Regarding the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), I would like to commend Executive Director Mike Smith for his able leadership. We appreciate his ongoing dialogue with Member States, as well as the valuable informal briefings.  My delegation fully supports the renewal of CTED’s mandate, which will be considered next month.

Israel continues to strengthen its professional cooperation with CTED, and to share best practices with other interested parties, including by means of technical cooperation. For example, Israel was among the donor states that contributed to the successful workshop titled "Challenges to Effective Border Control Facing East African Countries," which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in June 2010.

Our contribution to this workshop is part of Israel’s broader bilateral cooperation with and technical assistance to states in the Horn of Africa.

In a similar vein, Israel has taken a keen interest in supporting other initiatives in West Africa, Asia and in South America, on the multilateral, regional and bilateral spheres. Among the particular areas of Israel’s bilateral cooperation are those relating to preventing money laundering and the financing of terrorism, public safety, security aviation, and the protection and security of borders.

In this regard, earlier this month, the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute convened its first Israeli HLS Conference on Security Technological Operations Policies. Among the highlights addressed in the conference were airport security as well as innovative methods and technologies for the protection and safety of cities. Over 500 homeland security experts from around the world participated in this conference and contributed to its success.

In September 2010, the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), held its tenth annual international conference, in Herzliya, Israel. The conference addressed numerous aspects of counter-terrorism, including aviation terrorism and security; processes of de-radicalization; and the challenges of asymmetric warfare.

Both these conferences served as a platform for enhancing international and bilateral cooperation in this field by providing an essential opportunity for high-profile experts from a wide range of disciplines to establish professional relationships.
Furthermore, Israel’s counter-terrorism agencies cooperate with a large number of regional organizations, including NATO, OSCE, CICTE and CICA, including in the context of assisting third countries. Israel also closely cooperates with and contributes to the work of the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch.

Mr. President,

The Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee remains an important part of the efforts to isolate terrorists and their means to inflict harm. Israel welcomes the considerable progress made towards promoting clear and fair procedures concerning the inclusion of individuals and entities in the Consolidated List.  In this regard, we welcome the appointment in June 2010 of Judge Kimberly Prost as ombudsperson to address key aspects of due process and human rights concerns. We also welcome the recent completion of the review of the Consolidated List, following the dedicated work of the Chair of the Committee and its members. We note that of the 488 entries reviewed on the List, 443 were deemed appropriate. This is an important affirmation of the review process and of the continued relevance of the list itself. We follow with close interest the regional developments in this field.

Finally, Mr. President,

We believe that it is critical to continue to develop international standards against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and dual use items. The international community must continue to seek and implement measures that keep the world’s most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the world’s most dangerous individuals, especially in our region.

In this regard, I wish to reiterate Israel’s full support of resolution 1540. Israel believes that, in order to enhance the dialogue among Member States and the 1540 Committee, it would be very helpful to receive periodic briefings by the Expert Coordinator on the work of the Committee.

Mr. President,

The struggle against terrorism requires our joint will, effort, and action. We appreciate this opportunity for dialogue, and will continue to actively engage in and support the important work of the Council’s counter-terrorism committees.

Thank you.